"My children and five grandchildren -- I have six grandchildren -- are thrilled that I'm going to be grand marshal of a parade that is older than I am," Leachman said at the Tournament House in Pasadena, where the announcement was made. "And I just learned that I am only the 10th woman who has held this title. Pretty good ... for a Miss America contestant who was Miss Chicago."
The theme of the 120th Rose Parade, which will be Jan. 1, is "Hats off to Entertainment."
"One hundred and 20 years. Can you imagine that? Are you imagining that?" Leachman said. "I wonder what my career will be like in the next 60? .... Well, this is certainly a good start.
"I graciously accept your invitation to be grand marshal of the 2009 Rose Parade and toss the coin at the 95th Rose Bowl game," she said. "I thank you for this honor and look forward to seeing you all on Colorado Boulevard on January 1st."
The 82-year-old Leachman, who began appearing on television in the late 1940s, won an Academy Award for best supporting actress for the 1971 film "The Last Picture Show." She has won eight Emmys for shows ranging from "A Brand New Life" to "Malcolm in the Middle."
"My heart is so full today," she said. "I'm so thrilled. Thank you so much."