Media News

Cloris Leachman, 82, joins "Dancing with Stars"

LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Octogenarian actress Cloris Leachman has joined the cast of celebrities who will grace the ballroom floor on the next edition of ABC television hit “Dancing With the Stars,” the network said on Monday.

Actress Cloris Leachman arrives at the 13th Annual Screen Actors Guild Awards in Los Angeles January 28, 2007. REUTERS/Lucy Nicholson

Leachman, 82, an Oscar winner for her 1971 supporting role in “The Last Picture Show” and a record Primetime Emmy champion for her TV work, will become the oldest contestant to compete on America’s second-most watched series.

The previous ranking senior on “Dancing with the Stars” was veteran actor George Hamilton, who strutted his stuff at age 66 in season two in early 2006, the Walt Disney Co-owned network said.

Leachman, currently touring in her one-woman show, “Cloris!”, recently completed work in three new films. In 2006, she collected the eighth Primetime Emmy of her career, the most by a single actress, to surpass the seven earned by Mary Tyler Moore, on whose show Leachman became a household name in the 1970s for her signature role as the self-absorbed Phyllis.

She also is remembered for her memorably zany turn as the heavy-accented Frau Blucher in Mel Brooks’ classic horror spoof “Young Frankenstein.”

Joining Leachman this fall on “Dancing” is one of the biggest Emmy bridesmaids of all time, Susan Lucci, who stars as the vixen entrepreneur and self-styled media mogul Erica Kane on the daytime soap opera “All My Children.”

Lucci, who will celebrate her 10,000th episode on “All My Children” in November, finally took home a Daytime Emmy as best actress in 1999, after being nominated for a record 18 straight years without winning.

The upcoming seventh installment of “Dancing,” featuring 13 celebrities paired with professional dancers in a contest of elimination, premieres on September 22.

Other members of the latest season include former member of the pop vocal group ‘N Sync Lance Bass, Grammy-winning R&B star Tony Braxton and two Olympic gold medalists -- beach volleyball champion Misty May-Treanor from the Beijing Games, and track star Maurice Green, who competed at Sydney and Athens.

Another new cast member, actress-model Kim Kardashian, will go on with the show despite having to seek emergency treatment on Sunday night for a cut toe. Her spokeswoman said she would make some adjustments to her dancing shoes and continue with rehearsals.

While Leachman becomes the oldest dancer on the ABC hit, 18-year-old actor Cody Linley from the Disney Channel hit “Hannah Montana” joins the cast as the youngest star to compete, ABC said.

“Dancing with the Stars” averaged 21.7 million viewers for its Monday night performance telecasts last year, ranking as the most watched U.S. show of the fall and No. 2 for the season overall behind only “American Idol.”