Through his sister Patsy, the late Cloris Leachman was introduced to her one and only spouse, George Englund. Leachman liked her future sister-in-law because she was honest and didn’t let people in positions of power intimidate her.
Actress Cloris Leachman, who has been married just once, met George Englund in 1950. Patricia, also known as Patsy, Englund’s sister, made the introduction to the pair.
She played Celia in the Broadway production of “As You Like It,” which Leachman and Patsy co-starred in. The dressing room was shared by the two women.
The recipient of eight Emmy Awards explained in her book, “Cloris Leachman with George Englund,” why she adored his sister so much. When they went out to lunch one afternoon and returned to the theater a short while later, Leachman remarked that the female actor had won her respect:
“Our very military stage manager, Karl Nielsen, instantly admonished us and gave us a little speech about the importance of being on time. Unfazed, Patsy stepped up and said, “Karl, you’re 100% correct.” It won’t happen ever again.”
That was all it took, according to Leachman, who said that the “Last Wish” star was admirable in many respects. She even questioned whether Patsy had a sibling.
Thank goodness, she did. On one particular evening, her brother George, their stepfather Ken Englund, and Herb Sargent, one of their friends, all approached Patsy and her.
On another occasion, Leachman recalled, “George came backstage, and the automobile I was driving suddenly changed lanes,” adding that they quickly got married.
The comedian claimed she and George, a director of movies, initially met after she arrived to New York City in the 1950s in a 2017 interview with FilmFestival.com:
“I spent a year performing on Broadway in the play “As You Like It” alongside Katharine Hepburn. I met George Englund, whose sister was in the play, there.”
After four years of living together, the couple decided to take their relationship public by getting married in April 1953. The newlyweds welcomed Adam, their first child, in the same year. Leachman and George also had four other children: Bryan, their late son; George Jr.; Dinah; and Morgan.
Harold Austin Ripley and actress Mabel Albertson welcomed George into the world in June 1926. At birth, he was given the name George Howe Ripley, but after his parents’ divorce, that name was changed. He and his sister Patsy were adopted by Ken, a screenwriter who his mother remarried and then wed.
The Washington, DC native attended Black-Foxe Military Institute and graduated with degrees in philosophy and English, according to the LA Times. George was the captain of the basketball and tennis teams, among other sports.
The film editor was a Hollywood star, just like his wife. But he had only made a few film and television appearances as an actor. Screenwriting, producing, and directing were three of George’s primary interests.
He has credits in films like “The Ugly American,” “See How She Runs,” “Dark of the Sun,” and “The Streets of LA,” in addition to helping to create “The Eddie Fisher Show.”
George was a family man who was rarely at home due to work. He occasionally spent weeks away, leaving his wife to care for their children and the housekeeper. That caused him and Leachman to disagree with one another.
The native of Iowa said her husband would be startled by why things they had agreed on had been undone when he got home. I was curious as to why the children appeared messy and, in some respects, uncared for. Leachman continued:
“If there was one major cause of contention between us, it was—and undoubtedly always will be—the best way to raise the kids. George believes that the fact that we couldn’t agree on it kept us apart for a lot of the time.”
They saw George’s mother every day because they shared a door with her and lived on Beverly Glen Boulevard. She noted that her son was too impatient when Mabel and her son discussed finding him a secure employment.
The actress advised him to start out as a stage manager for television and advance from there. George confided in her that he didn’t want to manage shows:
“Muth, I already did it. In New York, I served my apprenticeship. Stage management is not what I want to do. My career goals are to create and direct.”
On-screen and off, his wife expressed her joy at being a mother, claiming that nothing could compare to it. However, the couple’s problems persisted. Leachman said, “George and I had a disagreement over the same old issue, how the kids need to be raised.
She played the lead role in the 1954 drama series “Lassie,” which ran for 19 seasons. Actress Joan Collins, who played George’s co-star, apparently kept an eye on him the entire time.
Leachman visited her sister Mary in Darien, Connecticut with her children after leaving the show while still being in the dark about her husband’s relationships with Collins. I was worried about the boys, who were now one and a half, three, and four and a half years old, she said.
Leachman and her kids had a happy life in Darien. Mary Castle, a vice president of the advertising firm J. Walter Thompson Company, and her husband Bob Castle greeted them with open arms and a warm welcome. She remarked: “My boys were welcomed, and Bob was a devoted stepfather. It was a wonderful life. For $15,000, I purchased a small house nearby, and the boys and I moved there.”
Her husband lived in New York full-time and would occasionally visit, but she had established a new life with her kids. He visited one evening, and Leachman became pregnant. She soon received a call inviting her to travel to Los Angeles to film a television show.
George offered to pick up Leachman’s sons and bring them back to LA when Leachman had to depart right away. The “Raising Hope” star had to continually run, leap, and move around while filming for the TV show.
Leachman was under a lot of stress throughout the rehearsal and was in a bad situation because of her pregnancy.
She then started to stain and eventually started bleeding every few minutes. “I expelled what felt like a huge liver. George drove me to the medical center. Sadly, I miscarried, “Leachman gave details.
She was deeply touched emotionally by the humbling event and devastated by it. She was fragile and torn when Leachman got home.
George called her while he was in New York on business. Leachman revealed that “”Babe,” he added, “you have to come back,” with a sense of urgency. You are required by the kids.”
She spent the following weekend with Mary and her husband before returning to Darien for a visit. When the Hollywood starlet returned to New York, she was exhausted, and after a few weeks, her health did not get any better. Leachman admitted, “I felt anemic, depressed, and lifeless.”
She called George one evening to express her yearning to see her kids and how much she missed everyone. He assured him that he would send the kids or bring them himself to see her because he understood the circumstances.
Despite how much she missed her children, Leachman was not prepared to see them and was grateful for his unwavering support. George agreed that she should take it day by day until she felt better.
Two nights later, as Leachman prepared to take the stage from the wings, he noticed Helen Hayes reading a headline from a newspaper that read, “Joan Collins Should Get An Oscar For The Love Scene She Played With George Englund Last Night.”
She glanced at it and went completely blank from reading, yet she still completed her act. At 4:00 in the morning, three nights later, Leachman got a call from Collins.
“This is Joan, Cloris. George just walked away. Every day, we interact. He is the love of my life. What are your plans to address that?” It was her.
Leachman acknowledged that she was exhausted and confused by what she had just heard, and she replied: “I’m not sure. What options are available? I’m not sure. Do you think the two of you can succeed?”
Collins affirmed the question and declared her love for George. She mentioned that he also adored Leachman. Leachman could hear Collins vomit in the background as she dropped the phone under the weight of her emotions without hanging up.
George was indignant when he discovered what his mistress had done. He didn’t confront Leachman about his affair, but his major concern was for his wife’s and the family’s stability.
Leachman acknowledged in her memoirs that she had her own liaisons while she was married to the novelist. She had covert relationships with actors like Gene Hackman and Andy Williams.
Surprisingly, the “Phyllis” actress said that she thought George had been unfaithful to her and described the situation as “fairly open marriage.”
Nevertheless, Leachman returned to LA in a depleted state after her work on the play “A Touch of the Poet” was finally completed. She felt bad for spending so much time away from her kids because she had no idea what would happen to her relationship with George.
Leachman said, “Physically, I was still anemic.” She found George and the kids waiting for her when she got to the airport, and she noticed that they were a confused and unhappy group:
“Adam was standing fifteen feet apart from the others, all by himself. His eyes were covered and he was looking down. George was holding baby George in his arms while Bryan stood next to him.”
George Jr. kept asking where his mother was, right in front of him, according to Leachman. He failed to identify her. Leachman and her family had relocated from the small home on Beverly Glen adjacent to her mother-in-law to Comstock Avenue in West Los Angeles before she went for New York.
However, the six-person family only stayed there for a year before she and George got divorced. He then relocated to a cottage in England located above Sunset Strip.
Leachman had to accompany George when he traveled to Thailand to film “The Ugly American” in 1963 because George wanted the children to accompany him. It was significant to him that their children encounter many nations and their cultures.
“We spoke about it, and in the end, we had to face the truth. It was best that I go. We agreed that we would never engage in combat while on this journey.”
Leachman said that they both recognized the duties he had as the film’s producer and as a novice filmmaker, acknowledging that it would be a good opportunity for his career.
On the business trip, the family had an adventure of a lifetime. They explored all of Bangkok’s amazing locations. They left the hotel each morning in a samlor, a three-wheeled pedicab driven by a young Thai man, and set out to explore the city.
Leachman ensured the well-being of her estranged spouse in addition to caring for the children. When he was shooting outside, she brought him juice, and he thought she did a great job:
“A lovely companion during the entire voyage and an exceptional wife.”
It made all the difference because the couple had committed to maintaining their amicable relationship. They never argued while traveling to a distant country. Collins, on the other hand, moved on with actor Warren Beatty after George ended his relationship with Collins.
When Leachman and George returned home after deciding to fight for their marriage, they bought a home in Brentwood Park and moved in together.
They welcomed Morgan, their fourth son, during that time. Dinah, their lone child, was born in January 1966. Leachman and George, who had been married for 26 years and had five children together, separated in December 1978.