Cloris Leachman: America’s Dirtiest Dancer?

Maybe it's my age, but I best remember Cloris Leachman as the charming-but-daffy older woman who came to replace Mrs. Garrett on the Facts of Life in the next-to-last season of that classic comedy. And she brought with her my first ever crush, Andy, played by the aw-shucks handsome Mackenzie Austin. His only other claim to fame was the Garbage Pail Kids movie. Whatever became of Mackenzie?

Cloris_imageAnyways. Turns out funnywoman Leachman is an Oscar and Emmy winner — she holds the record for the most TV trophies ever, with nine and counting! — and has had a long and storied Hollywood career that lasted twice my years. And the rowdy, potty-mouthed actress is still fiesty at 82. Her career was revitalized last year with a surprisingly strong turn on Dancing With the Stars, but Leachman's got an even busier year ahead. She made out with much-younger man Jack Black on the Office in February, she's featured in Quentin Tarantino's war shocker Inglorious Basterds this summer, and she's hitting the road on a one-woman show that's earning her standing ovations.

With such a busy sked and no intentions of slowing down, it's surprising Cloris managed to pull this stream-of-consciousness autobiography together at all. But she managed. Still, it was hard to keep the multi-tasking octogenarian on-task for a quick chat for my first Daily Beast story. Whoohoo. Check it out, because Cloris spills on hooking up with Gene Hackman, kissing Jack Black and why she's thrilled to not have to fit into those super-skimpy Dancing With the Stars costumes any more.

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