Forgiveness: An Interview with Cloris Leachman

I was honored this month to be able to interview the award-winning actress, Cloris Leachman about her latest Hallmark Internet series, The Eleventh. This is a series for everyone, especially for daughters, moms, and grandmothers. The focus is on forgiveness – a subject I continue to be challenged with myself.  I’m  always questioning God about how I can forgive others for what they’ve done, myself for injuries I’ve done, and how can He continually forgive us?

To forgive is to love and I Corinthians 13:4-6 reminds us that, “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth”.

Kathleen Cooke: You’ve had a long and wonderful theatrical career winning Emmy’s and Golden Globes for iconic TV shows like Mary Tyler Moore, The Facts of Life, and The Beverly Hillbillies to memorable films including Mel Brooke’s Young Frankenstein – one of my favorites, and winning a best supporting Oscar for your role in The Last Picture Show. You’ve done lots of comedies in your career but this new film series, The Eleventh deals with real life issues and lots of hurt and pain. Why were you drawn to the role?

Cloris Leachman: I was interested in doing “The Eleventh” because I loved the story. Family can often be messy, but I was intrigued by the path for forgiveness. Plus, when you add on this amazing cast, how could I say no?

Kathleen: Grandmothers can be such an influence in the lives of their grandchildren. Today with our many dysfunctional families that are a mix of relationships, how can a grandmother positively influence her grandchildren?

Cloris: By being interested, really interested so that you become part of what they’re interested in, really in it.

Kathleen: I understand your grandmother was a Bohemian (Czech), and that you’re a grandmother to five grandchildren and a great-grandmother to one. What’s the one legacy you’d love to leave for your grandchildren?

Cloris: I’ve been doing what I love for a long time. I want them to live the life they want and to have fun doing it. I just hope that they find what they love and do it for as long as they can.

Kathleen: In the film series, Janey had been given hidden and deceptive family information. Most young girls today might have accepted it and never explored the other side of the story. What would you say to women who have been caught in this kind of situation on how to forgive?

Cloris: It’s really hard to forgive and every situation is different, but in my opinion life is too short and it takes too much energy to hold a grudge.

Kathleen: What’s the one thing you’d like audiences to walk away with after viewing the series?

Cloris: To forgive. The Eleventh is a about a young girl’s journey to fulfill her mother’s last wish – to get to know and reconcile with her estranged grandmother. We watch as a family tries to bring closure to the past through truth, forgiveness, and ultimately, love. Many people don’t get the chance to resolve old wounds. I think many people can relate to this story in one way or another.

My final thought for you…

We are in bondage so often because of our inability to forgive. It’s where the Evil One would like us to remain – tied up and unable to move forward.  It’s pure fear encased in a lie. Let God’s pure love and grace heal, redeem, and bring new life. Peace and freedom happens when we learn to forgive. Check out this new series online at Feeln