She had a chance to top herself at last week's Creative Arts Emmy ceremony, set to air this Saturday on ReelzChannel, for her guest-starring role on "Raising Hope." Leachman plays the only occasionally lucid Maw Maw on the Fox sitcom, which also earned star Martha Plimpton a nomination for outstanding lead actress in a comedy series.
The 85-year-old Leachman has won one Daytime and eight Primetime Emmy awards, but - spoiler alert - she lost out on her 10th trophy to "Glee" guest actress Gwyneth Paltrow.
Still, Leachman's Emmy record remains intact.
"Well, I used to be tied with Sir Lawrence Olivier," she said. "But he was kind enough to die, and then I was able to continue. So I thought that was very, very big of him -- especially since he's English."
Leachman, whose first credits date back to the late 1940s, is perhaps best known for her work on the `70s sitcom classic "The Mary Tyler Moore Show." She said the Emmys have been cause for a friendly competition between her and her "MTM" costars, fellow multiple winners Moore and Ed Asner.
"I remember Mary saying, `You have nine? I thought you had eight.' `No, I have nine,"' Leachman noted, adding, "That was kind of a nice moment for me."
For her first three decades in show business, Leachman was a go-to dramatic character actress, and won an Oscar for her performance in the 1971 classic "The Last Picture Show." But "Mary Tyler Moore," as well as appearances in a series of Mel Brooks films, put her on the comedy track, at least in terms of Hollywood casting directors.
"In fact, I do so much comedy, that I wonder what happened to all the other serious roles," she said. "I'd really like to do a serious role again. I'd also like a bigger role, I mean something that demands more of me. There are lots of things that I haven't done. And I'd like to be, not tested, but enlightened, you know to see what else I could do."
As for the secret to her longevity and Emmy success?
"I think acting is partly being a detective, so it's fun to sort it out and figure it out and see who all the people are and figure out what to do," she said. "Great fun. I am very, very privileged."