Leading Lady : Humorist Erma Bombeck to Be Marshal of Rose Parade

Erma Bombeck--columnist and author of “The Grass Is Always Greener Over the Septic Tank” and “If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries--What Am I Doing in the Pits?"--will be the grand marshal of the 1986 Rose Parade, the 97th of the Pasadena pageants.

Tournament of Roses Assn. President Frederick D. Johnson Jr., who made the announcement Wednesday, described the 58-year-old Bombeck (“I look 67") as the epitome of the 1986 Rose Parade theme: “A Celebration of Laughter.”

Bombeck, the first journalist to be named to lead the famed New Year’s Day parade, joins a list that includes three former U.S. Presidents.


Asked if that meant the standards were going up or down, she laughed, “Are you crazy? This is breaking ground here. They may not be able to equal this ever again.”

Bombeck, a resident of the Phoenix area, said she is “shocked, amazed, awed and excited” by the prospects--in that order. And she said the theme of the parade was perfect.

“I think laughter is just about the most important thing in the world,” she said. “And besides, parades, along with dust collecting, have always been a favorite hobby of mine.”

She really had hoped to be named Rose Queen, Bombeck said, but then she decided, “I just couldn’t hold my breath to hold in my stomach for two hours.”