Cloris Leachman was born in Des Moines, Iowa, to Buck and Cloris Leachman. She majored in drama at Northwestern University, and competed in Miss America as Miss Chicago 1946. There she won a scholarship that let her go on studying acting in New York with Elia Kazan. Over the years Cloris has been nominated for a daytime Emmy more than 20 times for her work in television. She also won an Oscar for The Last Picture Show 1971. Even in 2006 she was nominated for an Emmy for her participation in Mrs. Harris, with Ben Kingsley and Annette Bening.