Leachman ‘livens’ up ‘Dancing with the Stars’?

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Seems La Leachman has fans….

By TERRY MORROW

All hail Cloris Leachman.

As the oldest contestant to compete on ABC’s ”Dancing with the Stars,” the 82-year-old actress is single-handedly bringing a spark to the mega-hit that it’s never had.

Technically, she’s one of the worst dancers in the show’s history – if you believe the judges’ scores. But despite that, the audiences have embraced her every week.

She’s still in the competition because the at-home audience vote for her and loves to see what she’ll do or say next. That’s the beauty of live TV.

The dynamic Leachman will get another chance to perform (7 p.m. Monday, ABC) before the next cast-off vote (8 p.m. Tuesday, ABC). As a dancer, she isn’t long for this competition, but let’s enjoy her while she’s around.

Leachman is whacky, totally inappropriate and occasionally crude. She’s one of the few stars the show must bleep because of her colorful language. She has perched her leg high up on a table (while wearing a dress) to get the judges’ attention. She’s thrown her breasts in their faces and offered them monetary bribes to get better scores.

The audience loves her zany comedic ways in a contest that, sometimes, takes itself too seriously.

”Dancing” is a live show that doesn’t act like one. It could stand to loosen up. ”Dancing” is too smoothly produced and executed for its own good sometimes. Leachman changes that. She is unpredictable and off the grid. I only hope the audience keeps her around.

”Dancing” needs her in more ways than one.

She’s a real spitfire. But, then, her antics are really not anything new to those who follow her career. Leachman was the pointy-breasted nurse of Mel Brooks’ ”High Anxiety” and the crone of the same producer’s ”Young Frankenstein.” On ”The Mary Tyler Moore Show” and its spin-off ”Phyllis,” Leachman was able to make the stuck-up Phyllis Lindstrom a woman to love and despise at the same time. Leachman is a showstopper, always has been and always will be. She hasn’t mellowed with age.

As long as she keeps on ”Dancing,” she gives audiences every reason to keep on jumping for joy. Scripps Howard News Service

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