Yahoo! TV

Cloris Leachman Wants in on the 'Downton Abbey' Action

Yahoo TV

View photo

.

Photo by Jason Merritt/Getty Images for GLAAD

She's won more primetime Emmy Awards than any other performer — eight, including two in one year in 1975 — plus a Daytime Emmy and an Oscar. And while she hopes to add another Emmy nomination to her already stellar resumé this year for her role on "Raising Hope," Cloris Leachman has another item on her TV bucket list: She wants to hang out with the Crawleys on "Downton Abbey."

[Related: Paul Giamatti Joins 'Downton Abbey' Cast As Lady Cora's Brother]

"I want to do everything!" Leachman tells Yahoo! TV. "I really want to do that English [series] that everybody loves, 'Downton Abbey.' I just did an English accent. I played Higgins's mother, Mrs. Higgins, in 'My Fair Lady' — 'Colonel Pickering! I don't understand! Do you mean that my son is coming to Ascot today? What a disagreeable surprise!' That was thrilling."

The actress is referring to her recent performance in the Kennedy Center's Spring Gala production of "My Fair Lady in Concert," which followed her third season on the Fox comedy "Raising Hope," which was renewed for another season this fall.

[Photos: What Does the 'Downton Abbey' Cast Really Look Like?]

Leachman, best known for her role as Mary's neighbor and friend Phyllis Lindstrom on "The Mary Tyler Moore Show" and its spinoff, "Phyllis," plays the Chance family's grandmother Maw Maw on "Raising Hope." Maw Maw is an 84-year-old woman who's given to various stages of streaking, saying exactly what's on her mind, and spending lots of time in the bathroom. "It takes as long as it takes," she tells her impatient family members/housemates.

In the Season 3 finale, "Mother's Day," Leachman did double duty as Maw Maw and Maw Maw's mom, the 104-year-old Norma June, who was estranged from her daughter for years.

See Leachman in both "Raising Hope" roles: 

"It was my idea," Leachman says. "I kept saying, 'Listen, everybody has a mother but me! I need a mother! I think Carol Channing should play my mother. I need a mother!' Then after about five or six weeks, I said again to ["Raising Hope" creator Greg Garcia], 'Greg, I need a mother! I do ... and Carol Channing should be my mother!' Finally, he said, 'Well, I agree you should have a mother, Cloris. But I think you should play your own mother!' That was the end of it. I didn't hear another word until we started working on [the episode].

"It just makes you laugh. Wasn't it funny when [Norma June] said she had to go the bathroom, and [tooted] the whole way? Then Maw Maw comes out of the bathroom and says, 'It smells like somebody died in there!'"

We'll skip the specifics of why that last line was so funny in deference to those who haven't seen the episode yet, but suffice it to say that Leachman's performance should earn her another Emmy nomination. Though, with so many already on her mantel, do Hollywood accolades still matter to the 87-year-old?

 [Related: What Does Betty White Eat for Lunch Every Day?]

"Oh, yes, of course! It would be an even number. Wouldn't that be nice? Instead of nine, it would be 10. When you get this old, it's just nice that it's not all over," she says, laughing.

"It's fun, and it's wonderful. It's important, too, because ... it does advertise the industry and the show, and that's a nice thing."

As for Leachman's other upcoming projects, she joined her "Mary Tyler Moore" co-stars Moore, Georgia Engel, and Valerie Harper in a reunion for a September episode of "Hot in Cleveland," which stars another "MTM" Emmy winner, Betty White.

[Related: 'Mary Tyler Moore Show' Ladies on 'Cleveland' Stint: 'We Don't Have to Fake It']

The "MTM" actresses play bowling teammates who are reunited by White's character, Elka, for the episode. It was an especially emotional experience for the women after Harper announced earlier this year that she has terminal brain cancer.

"It was ... sometimes in your life, you have experiences that you just set aside, you know?" Leachman says. "It's a special time in your life. You'll all remember it. It was wonderful. Wonderful, wonderful."

The star says it's also on her wish list to play Peter Pan, and after all the fun she had as the oldest contestant to compete on "Dancing With the Stars," she wouldn't rule out doing another reality show, either.

But unlike her friend Betty White, who celebrated her 90th birthday with a star-studded party special on NBC, Leachman has cozier ideas for celebrating her big 9-0.

[Related: What Does Betty White Eat for Lunch Every Day?

"Oh, God. Of course, I want to be with my family, and I'd like to be in bed!" she says. "I love my bed! It's beyond words ... a down comforter and down pillows, and we have a TV and a phone and lots of books and lamps and comfort. It's perfect."

View Comments

Recommended for You

  • Jon Stewart Skewers Sean Hannity: "You're the Arby's of News"

    Jon Stewart's love of Sean Hannity is well documented. The two have a long, storied past together, but sometimes Hannity simply goes too far. "There is not much that I truly love in this world: my family, my country, my priceless collection of antique ceramic cats ... but above, all my heart…

    The Atlantic Wire
  • Watch Stephen Colbert bid farewell to The Daily Show, as only Colbert can

    This is what we are learning about Stephen Colbert's departure from The Colbert Report, the show he has hosted for nine years: It will be a long farewell, and the character Stephen Colbert is already being written out of the script for the real Colbert's next act, hosting CBS Late Night.

    The Week (RSS)
  • Credit Cards Now Offering 0% APR for 18 Months.

    Consumers can now get rid of high interest rates and get 0% APR for 18 months. They can also fly the sky with double miles, bonus cash and more!

    AdChoices CompareCards.comSponsored
  • Inside Oprah’s Bizarre Love Triangle

    Winfrey’s stepmom gives an unfiltered Daily Mail interview about the former queen of daytime’s unusual relationship with her boyfriend—and even stranger one with her best friend.

    The Daily Beast (RSS)
  • Time Warner Cable Tops on Q1 Earnings, Lags Revs

    Time Warner Cable Inc. reported mixed financial results for the first quarter of 2014 where its bottom line surpassed the Zacks Consensus Estimate but the top missed the same.

    Zacks
  • Ask Ausiello: Spoilers on 24, Revenge, Grey's, Dixie, Once, NCIS, Arrow, Sleepy and More!

    Got a scoop request? An anonymous tip you’re dying to share? Send any/all of the above to askausiello@tvline.com Question: Any update on whether Elisha Cuthbert will be back as Kim in 24: Live Another Day? —Jennifer Ausiello: My sources insist the 12-episode revival will […]

    TVLine.com
  • View

    '24: Live Another Day' (44 photos)

    Four years ago, Jack Bauer was a fugitive from justice. Now an exile, he nevertheless is willing to risk his life and freedom to avert yet another global disaster. The harrowing day will have Jack attempting to thwart an unthinkable terrorist attack that could change the world forever. "24: Live…

    Yahoo TV
  • Report: Patriots pick up option on Solder

    The Patriots will be keeping Nate Solder around through the 2015 season. The Patriots had to pick up an option on Solder by May 3 in order to retain the former first-round pick for a fifth season.

    Comcast SportsNet New England
  • In Upfronts, Big TV Nets’ Pricing Strength Is Threatened Yet Again

    In the next few weeks, Fox is expected to spotlight a series that plays off of the popular Batman character, CBS to talk up its new slate of Thursday-night football and NBC to promote its ongoing resurgence in reaching advertisers’ favorite viewers. The chatter may help the TV giants snare the…

    Variety
  • 74-Yr-Old Outsmarts Doctors. Reduces Her Wrinkles.

    The ultimate skin tightening regimen that is helping every day women achieve younger looking skin without breaking the bank.

    AdChoices LifeCellSkinSponsored
  • Sam Register Upped To President Of Warner Bros. Animation, Will Head New Digital Unit

    Warner Bros Animation’s EVP Creative Affairs Sam Register has been promoted to President, Warner Bros Animation and Warner Digital Series. The second part of the title refers to Register’s role as head of a newly formed live-action digital content production unit where he will oversee the…

    Deadline.com
  • A's lineup: Gentry in center, Norris catching

    Programming note: Rangers-As coverage starts today at 12 p.m. with As Pregame Live on Comcast SportsNet California (Channel locations) And join Insider Joe Stiglich to chat during innings 2-4 of the game.

    Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
  • [video] Aereo v. the Networks: The Supreme Court Battle

    Aereo, the online-video startup, and television broadcasters have squared off at the U.S. Supreme Court. It's a battle over copyright law that could shake up the industry. Why do the networks want to kill ...

    MarketWatch
  • ITV Studios UK Hires Discovery Intl Exec Julian Bellamy As Managing Director

    ITV Studios UK has moved quickly to fill the Managing Director post that will be vacated by Denise O’Donoghue at the end of 2014. Julian Bellamy, who is currently Discovery Networks International Creative Director and Head of Commissioning, will take over from O’Donoghue later this year, ITV said…

    Deadline.com
  • LIVE: Rangers vs. A's

    Tommy Milone and the A's look to take Game 2 of the three-game set. Watch on Comcast SportsNet Plus and follow along with In-Game Live..

    Comcast SportsNet Bay Area
  • Piquet Jr. to run Global Rallycross with SH Racing

    Nelson Piquet Jr. will compete in the upcoming Global Rallycross season with new entrant SH Racing. Piquet spent almost two full seasons in Formula One before moving to NASCAR in 2010. The Brazilian ran two full seasons in the Truck Series, where he won two races in 2012, and ran the full…

    The Associated Press
  • Sleep-Aid Takes America by Storm

    Discover a safe, natural sleep-aid that is helping people of all ages get the best sleep of their life.

    AdChoices Peak LifeSponsored
  • Brean Capital Sees Wisdom in Time Warner Cable Deal

    In a report published Wednesday, Brean Capital analyst Todd Mitchell reiterated a Buy rating and $165.00 price target on Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC ). In the report, Brean Capital noted, “Comcast 1Q14 ...

    Benzinga
  • Amazon to get exclusive right to some HBO series

    Amazon.com and HBO have signed a multiyear deal to give Amazon Prime the exclusive rights to air some HBO series.

    CNBC
  • Why Women Love 'Deadliest Catch'

    Captain Keith Colburn explains the show's female following and reveals the scariest moment he's ever had at sea

    Daily Shot
  • Play

    How Cameron Diaz Pranked Fallon’s Baby

    Wednesday on "The Tonight Show," Jimmy Fallon called out Cameron Diaz for pranking his infant daughter. Diaz was hanging out with the Fallon’s and their then 6-week-old named Winnie Rose. Once Winnie had fallen asleep, Diaz placed the child’s hand in a glass of warm water! According to Diaz, since…

    Nighttime in No Time Videos
  • Comcast close to subscriber deal with Charter

    Comcast plans to sell nearly four million extra subscribers in a two-staged deal with Charter Communications, in what would represent a consolation prize for Charter’s eight-month pursuit of Time Warner ...

    MarketWatch
  • Autoblog Podcast #377

    Episode #377 of the Autoblog podcast is here, and this week, Dan Roth and Steven Ewing talk about the New York Auto Show, the Beijing Motor Show (and a tangent or two). We start with what's in the garage and finish up with some of your questions, and for those of you who hung with us live on our…

    Autoblog
  • $5645 Grant to Return to School if You Qualify

    If you make less than $80,000 a year, you may qualify for a grant or financial aid that can help qualified students return to school. See degrees now.

    AdChoices ClassesUSASponsored