I was just gathering tweets and info for an upcoming blog about what's been going down on Wall Street (seriously) and saw the sad news that legendary Oscar, Emmy and Golden Globe winning actress Cloris Leachman passed away at the age of 94 via this Comedy Central tweet.
I had to pay my respects. (I still feel kinda guilty for not blogging Hank Aaron's or Larry King's death last week).
In a career that spans back to the 1940's, Cloris was best known for her roles in The Last Picture Show, The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Young Frankenstein (only thing in this list I've actually seen), High Anxiety and hundreds of other credits.
But for me, as a 29 year old dude, the first thing I think of when I hear the name Cloris Leachman is Beerfest and her role as Great Gam Gam.
I know she had a career that spanned NINE decade after getting her start in Miss America 1946, but I was born in decade six of said career and a freshman in high school when Beerfest came out in 2006; it holds a special place in my heart.
Beerfest was a seminal movie of my high school experience and comedic upbringing in the same class (IMO) as movies like Borat, Grandma's Boy, Superbad, Knocked Up, Pineapple Express and The Hangover. My friends and I still quote it to this day. Yeah that's true, I have big plans for 2007! I can actually remember going to blockbuster (I swear this isn't the stock blog yet) my freshman year to rent Grandma's Boy and Beerfest for a sleepover where I definitely didn't smoke a bunch of weed at 15 years old. No way. No beers either.
To me, that role as Gam Gam shows how fucking funny and awesome this woman was. I can't speak to her time on Mary Tyler Moore or Steagle (random selection off her wiki), but anytime someone who's like 80 years old is willing to fake jerk off sausages to warm them up and advocate the drinking of ram's piss....they're hilarious in my book. This woman won an Oscar, but wasn't too full of herself to appear in a Broken Lizard movie. Bravo.
Then a few years later at the Roast of Bob Saget she sucked face John Stamos. What an icon. It's an over used term, but legend is the perfect one to describe Cloris Leachman. She was an absolute comedy legend. R.I.P.