Mel Brooks was singing the verses of her song as Frau Blucher in his upcoming B’way musical of their 1974 classic “Young Frankenstein.”
“And all the lines of the movie came back to me in the middle of the night,” Cloris Leachman laughed.
She was being toasted Thursday night at the Fogo de Chao by 350 friends, past coworkers and family (children, grandchildren) to celebrate her 60th year in showbiz. (She was born April 30 1926)
“We already started rehearsing,” Cloris laughed after Brooks previewed the show’s song. She heads to N.Y. Nov.1 for a “table read” of the musical which Brooks told me will bow on B’way in May, 2007.
The star list at the party for Cloris included host committee member Mary Tyler Moore who, with husband Dr. Robert Levine, had flown out from N.Y. and joined with Cloris’ fellow “Mary Tyler Moore Show” costars Ed Asner, Gavin MacLeod and Valerie Harper.
Senior guest, Charlotte Rae told me she’d gone to Northwestern U. with Cloris and roomed with her in N.Y. “Only a brief time,” she laughed indicating it was a “very interesting experience.” Cloris had originally sought the theater in college, went on to be “Miss Chicago” and a “Miss America” contestant-“in the days when you did your own makeup and dress!”
Others on hand :James L. Brooks, one of the host committee as well as Dick Van Dyke — who recalled working with Cloris in a play in Canada, Also toasting Cloris: Jon Voight, Mickey Rooney, Doris Roberts, Deidrich Bader, Elliott Gould, Eva LaRue, Jay Sandrich, Dick Van Patten, Illeana Douglas, Christian Clemenson, Judge Reinhold, Eric Roberts, Nancy McKeon, Stefanie Powers, Jasmine, Guy, Grant Show, William Atherton, Erik Per Sullivan, Justin Berfield, Billy Dee Williams, Leslie David Baker, Shawn Pyfrom, Maria Gibbs, Alexis Cruz, Jayne Meadows, Dominique Swain, Kathy Joosten, MacKenzie Astin, Marisa Ramirez and Reno Wilson.
The Fogo de Chao was filled with love — and with food as the armada of waiters kept their signature personalized menu choices moving non-stop — along with Cloris who stopped to shmooz with all her friends, old and new — never sitting down to eat until after 10. Lexus picked up the party tab and Disney, Fox and WB, the memory-book. The Cover: “Six Decades — An Artist — An Illusionist — A Ham”. The back cover: “You Ain’t Seen Nothin Yet.” B’way, here she comes — again.