Cloris Leachman Talks Dancing with the Stars 2012 Redux - Arsenio Hall, Comeback Story of The Year?
In case you haven't heard, Season 15 of "Dancing With the Stars" will be the show's first season of returning celebrity contestants.
Well, get ready, because force of nature Cloris Leachman tells us, "Oh, I insist on coming back!"
There is a catch, though.
The 86-year-old performer, already the eldest among the "DWTS" stars when she competed four years ago, reminds us that, "When I did it, I had a bad knee, and they would give me a shot in my knee. I had about three, and it's not good to have too many of those shots. So I had a knee replacement after the show was over for me." Now, says Cloris, who made it through six out of ten weeks before being eliminated from the show, "My knee is still sensitive, and it doesn't bend all the way as my right knee does. So I'm sorry about that, but I want to go back and finish the last four!"
She laughs her wild laugh, then archly declares, "I must be there; that's all there is to it."
In fact, Cloris -- who notes that ABC has a viewer poll concerning which stars should come back -- says she is spending part of her time between filming seasons of Fox's "Raising Hope" working on getting back into her best physical shape. That way, "I can be ready for anything."
Does she have a particular regimen?
"I don't like the word 'regimen,' so no," Cloris replies. "I like to find out the latest thing in any department, and then I like to try it, no matter what it is."
She also has parts in two movies coming up to shoot this summer ("The Home" horror flick and a drama that may get a title change) and another couple of films awaiting release ("Gambit," "Adult World").
And then there's the talk of chances that her performance as the outrageous, only occasionally lucid Maw Maw character on "Raising Hope" might get her more Emmy attention. Cloris already has nine Emmys, the most of any actor, out of more than 20 nominations -- but says her excitement about the awards hasn't diminished at all. In fact, she feels it "more than ever."
She also says, "If I have nine, why not ten and make it an even number? It would be easier for everyone to remember." But seriously, "I'd be thrilled out of my mind."
It looks like Arsenio Hall just might have the career comeback story of the year, what with news of his deal to jump back into the late-night talk show fray this fall in syndication -- on the heels of his smart win on "Celebrity Apprentice." Considering the time out he took from professional pursuits in order to be a full-time single dad to son Arsenio, Jr., now 12, it's a comeback story worth an extra smile. In fact, up until 2007, he told us, deadpan, "My kid thought I was a Jewish doctor. He didn't even know I was in show business."
He recalled, "I was on the road when my son was born. It's weird. I love doing standup and I love going on tour but when you're doing 'Yuk, yuk' in Tibet and you hear your kid over the phone...it's like they can't pay me enough...I did the rest of the dates I was legally obligated to do and I brought my a-- home."
After that, his choices in work were based on what he thought was best for him and Arsenio, Jr.. (He shares custody with his ex and former manager, Cheryl Bonacci). He felt, "I've had an incredible life and if I have a legacy, it's that 'there was a brother who did some things that succeeded and some things that didn't always succeed.' But what better mission to be on than being a great black father?"
Still, he had it in the back of his mind that at some point when the time was right, he might find some way, some day, to get back into the middle of the action in show business. That day has arrived.
DUFFY DOES DALLAS:
The "Dallas" team was comparatively low profile when shooting the first set of episodes for the newly launched series. But it won't be the same when the troupe heads back to that city to make Season 2, now that "Dallas" is a hit again. Patrick Duffy, who's lived in Oregon for most of the past 12 years, feels, "We'll be very good for Dallas, bringing the city back into focus. There's not a lot of it that's as it used to be, but the people are the same -- the warmest, most accommodating people."
© COPYRIGHT 2012 MARILYN BECK AND STACY JENEL SMITH
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