Other than a mention in Wikipedia that read “Multiple grand marshals are planned for the 2014 parade…”—an unsourced comment which has since been removed—the Tournament of Roses has maintained its usual button-lipped silence. But that doesn’t put a stop to the guessing!
I posted my suggestions with “Rose Parade 2014: Who will be the Grand Marshal? Guess!” a couple weeks ago. Now’s the time for me to share those I’ve gathered from others.
- The 2012 Olympic gymnasts. Not sure if that’s the whole team or just the Women’s Artistic Team.
- Disney Princesses, because “a dream is a wish your heart makes.”
- Jimmy Carter, for his work with Habitat for Humanity, making people’s dream of a home come true.
- Betty White. ‘Nuff said, she would be perfect.
- In honor of the 100th anniversary of the Rose Bowl Game, a former Rose Bowl participant who has become famous.
That suggestion brings to mind the grand nature of this particular Tournament. It’s the 125th Rose Parade, the 100th Rose Bowl Game, the 100th anniversary of the Wrigley Mansion, which serves as the headquarters for the Tournament of Roses. Perhaps it will be several people who embody the spirit of the Tournament: a famous Rose Bowl athlete or the son of the man who built the Rose Bowl, Lay Leishman; a descendant of Ada Wrigley, who donated the house to the Tournament; and embodying the Rose Parade, Shirley Temple Black, the only person since the earliest years of the parade to serve three times.
The list attached to this article spotlights a few of the people who were suggested.
But far and away, the most popular suggestion among the folks I talked to is the Mars Science Laboratory Curiosity team. The scientists and engineers at Pasadena’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory landed the first laboratory on the surface of another planet, a pretty exciting dream to come true. One person recalled the “guy with the Mohawk” while I remembered the scientist with the Elvis do and the long-haired bearded man bursting into tears. Plus, the cost of transporting them to the parade would be negligible.
So why not Curiosity’s creators and handlers? Maybe they would even bring along the model of Curiosity they keep in the hills above JPL and use to troubleshoot problems on the planet. What a great ride that would be!
The theme of the 125th Rose Parade and 100th Rose Bowl Game on Jan. 1, 2014 is “Dreams Come True” The Tournament of Roses is a celebration that lasts several weeks in the fall and winter. Like All Things Rose Parade on Facebook or subscribe to Tournament of Roses Examiner by clicking the “Subscribe” link for the latest news and for upcoming announcements. If you have a question or would like a reply to your comment, please post on Facebook or email me at email@example.com
Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” Team
Mars Science Laboratory “Curiosity” Team is the hands-down favorite of folks we talked to. As if landing the first science lab on another planet wasn’t enough, the team brought new faces to science and engineering: men and women with Mohawks, Elvis dos, beards, and ponytails. It was moving and exciting to see a bunch of Jet Propulsion Lab geeks jumping up and down, screaming, crying, and high-fiving when Curiosity sent back the first pictures from the red planet just a little more than a year ago.
Michael J. Fox
Michael J. Fox, who came into prominence for playing teenager Alex P. Keaton on Family Ties in the 1980s, demonstrates courage and perseverance in the face of early-onset Parkinson’s disease. Diagnosed at the age of 30, Fox continued acting for another nine years, and now works as a voice artist. He created The Michael J. Fox Foundation for research into emerging treatments for the disease, particularly stem cell research. In 2007, Time Magazine named him one of the 100 people “whose power, talent or moral example is transforming the world.”
Betty White is…well, Betty White. She holds the record for the longest career in American television at 65 years. According to Hollywood Reporter, White was one of the first women in television to have creative control in front of and behind the camera, While she’s best known for The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Golden Girls and Hot in Cleveland, to Angelenos she’s beloved as an animal advocate and strong supporter of the Los Angeles Zoo.
James Earl “Jimmy” Carter is sometimes called the most successful ex-president in history. His work for Habitat for Humanity has enabled thousands of families to own their own homes through “sweat equity.” The Carter Center to advance human rights and alleviate human suffering has nearly wiped out Guinea worm disease. He and Carter Center experts have been called to duty for diplomatic missions.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson, Jr. is a hero to Southern Californians for more than his performance on the basketball court. He is part of an ownership team that has turned the Dodger franchise around and he has invested heavily to bring business to minority communities. His decision to publicly announce that he is HIV positive in 1991, a time when AIDS was viewed with fear and prejudice, opened the way for more open discussion and education about the disease. He created the Magic Johnson Foundation to combat HIV and assist other charitable activities.