Nov 8, 2008

Personality - Cloris Leachmen

Ramin Setoodeh

Cloris Leachman— At 82, the oldest (and spunkiest) contestant ever on "Dancing With the Stars"—was voted off the show last week. She spoke to Ramin Setoodeh.

Are you demanding a recount?
I should have. I don't know what possessed me not to. I'm sure it would all be different.

I bet you took Florida, with the senior vote.
Hahaha. Oh, I don't know if seniors like me at all. I think they're a little sick of me. I think they say, "Get off! We just want to rest." I thought I was wonderful. Then I saw a replay. I couldn't believe I was just one, two, three, turn. I didn't have the spunk I thought I had.

You have as much spunk as Mary Tyler Moore.
But Lou Grant never liked spunk. "I hate spunk"—remember?

Was it your decision to show all that cleavage?
No. I don't know what happens. Everything gets pushed up a bit.

Did you wear a special dancing bra?
Just a bra sewn in the costume.

Still, your cleavage must have helped you stay on the show.
No doubt. All those seniors are turned on.

I hear you're doing a movie with Brad Pitt next.
Yes. "Inglourious Basterds."

Should Angelina Jolie be nervous?
No. I don't think I have a thing with Brad—yet.

Something could develop.
Once I get to Berlin, you never know what's going to happen. No, I'll just take care of the kids.

There are a lot of them.
I can handle all of it.

Were you really a voice in the "My Little Pony" movie?
Was I? I never saw it.

Don't you see all your movies?
No. I didn't see the one with Diane Keaton, "Hanging Up." I played Meg Ryan's mother. But I didn't like the way Diane Keaton directed me, so I didn't see the movie.

She was having Meg say odd things to me, to get a reaction. It turned me off on the movie.

What about "Scary Movie 4"?
I was in it. I saw some of it.

Is it true Mel Brooks wants you to reprise your part in "Young Frankenstein" on Broadway?
Yeah. We're negotiating.

He once said you were so old, he worried you'd die onstage.
He's not worried anymore. Corky [Ballas, her dance partner on the show] threw me around today on "The View," and I thought I was dead when I stood up. I can't tell you—I really thought I died! I thought I was in heaven.

Did you need to see a doctor before you went on "Stars"?
Six different doctors. One doctor said he wouldn't let me do it because of my bad knee. I have no cartilage in the back.

Are you going to retire from dancing now?
Where would I dance? That's the big question. And with whom? I asked Fred Astaire to dance once, and he said, "No!" I don't know who I would ask anymore.

Where did you meet Astaire?
I was at Gene Kelly's house one afternoon, and Fred Astaire was there.

How did you end up at Gene Kelly's house?
We were friends—he, my husband and I. A lot of volleyball games went on over there.

Why did Astaire turn you down?
I don't know. I think all the women wanted to dance with him, and he couldn't do it.

But you're Cloris Leachman.
But I wasn't Cloris Leachman then

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