Pasadena, CA. – The Tournament of Roses revealed that renowned television and cinema actress, Cloris Leachman, will serve as the Grand Marshal for the 2009 Tournament of Roses festivities. Themed Hats Off to Entertainment, the 2009 Rose Parade will pay tribute to the many genres of entertainment that thrill audiences young and old.
As Grand Marshal, Cloris Leachman will ride in the 120th Rose Parade in front of a worldwide television audience, and toss the coin before the 95th Rose Bowl Game on January 1, 2009.
“Cloris Leachman is perfect for our theme, Hats Off to Entertainment. As an actress of stage, screen and television, a comedian and now even a dancer, she is more than representative of the vast world of entertainment,” said Corky Conzonire, president of the Tournament of Roses. “I can’t think of an individual who better personifies the spirit of our theme and can hardly wait to see the energy, wit and smiles she’ll bring to our favorite New Year’s Day celebration.”
“It is truly an honor to be a part of one of our country’s most beloved New Year’s Day traditions,” said Grand Marshal Cloris Leachman. “My grandkids are thrilled that I’m going to be part of a Parade that is actually older than I am!! I can’t wait to see all of the smiling faces along the Parade route in the morning and then toss the coin for those handsome young football players at the Rose Bowl Game!”
Cloris Leachman is an Emmy and Oscar-winning actress best known for her roles as the self-involved neighbor, Phyllis, on the Mary Tyler Moore Show, and as Frau Blücher in Mel Brooks’ Young Frankenstein. She is currently paired with professional dancer Corky Ballas, as a contestant on season seven of Dancing With the Stars. Her list of awards is record-setting, with eight Primetime Emmy Awards-more than any other female performer- and one Daytime Emmy Award; she has been nominated more than 20 times. She also won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in the 1971 film The Last Picture Show.
Leachman began her career in television and films shortly after competing in the Miss America Pageant as Miss Chicago in 1946. Prior to that, she was very active in theatre starring in many productions at the Des Moines play house. She made her feature film debut in Robert Aldrich’s film Kiss Me Deadly, and one year later appeared opposite Paul Newman and Lee Marvin in The Rack.
She continued her career, mainly working in television on shows such as The Twilight Zone, Rawhide, Alfred Hitchcock Presents and Lassie in which she played Ruth Martin, Timmy’s adoptive mom in the last half of season 4. Throughout the seventies, Leachman played her most notable character, the nosy neighbor/landlady Phyllis Lindstrom on The Mary Tyler Moore Show. The character was a fixture on the program for five years and later featured in a spinoff series, Phyllis, for which Leachman won a Golden Globe award.
Some of her more recent work includes the role of Grandma Ida on Malcolm in the Middle, and wine-soaked, former jazz singer and grandmother, Evelyn, in the feature film Spanglish opposite Adam Sandler and Tea Leoni. She earned an Emmy nomination and SAG Award nomination for her performance in the HBO special Mrs. Harris. Her most recent film, The Women, starring Eva Mendez, Meg Ryan, Debra Messing, and Annette Bening is still in theatres. She has also staked her claim in the world of comedy with her many television roles and appearances. She recently “stole the show” at the Comedy Central “Roast of Bob Saget” with her sassy comebacks and unbeatable wit and outshined the other comedians.
The 120th Rose Parade themed Hats Off To Entertainment will take place Thursday, Jan. 1, 2009 at 8 a.m. (PST) featuring majestic floral floats, high-stepping equestrian units and spirited marching bands showcasing the best in entertainment. Following the Rose Parade, at 2 p.m. (PST), the 95th Rose Bowl Game will feature an exciting match-up between two championship teams, once again showcasing the best of collegiate football.