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Tournament Marshals Say the Darndest Things

Pasadena: Fred Rogers, Art Linkletter, Bill Cosby will lead the parade.

September 24, 2002|JOE MATHEWS | TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Tournament of Roses on Monday named three beloved senior citizens--entertainers Bill Cosby, Art Linkletter and Fred Rogers--as grand marshals for its child-themed 2003 parade and bowl game.

Tournament President Gary Thomas, who per Rose Parade tradition chooses the marshals and keeps their identity secret for weeks, introduced Cosby and Linkletter during a ceremony at Tournament headquarters in Pasadena. The marshals, he said, "will remind us of all the beautiful moments we had in childhood."

Mister Rogers, the children's TV host who turns 74 this year, was on vacation. To represent him, Cosby carried a shopping bag, out of which he pulled trademarks of Rogers' wardrobe--a crimson sweater and blue tennis shoes.

"He is in Scotland," said Cosby, 65, "and wearing nothing at all."

Linkletter, 90, said he devotes much of his time to the lecture circuit, where he talks about aging. After Thomas mentioned that Jan. 1, will bring the 114th Rose Parade and 89th Rose Bowl game, Cosby quipped: "Art is older than both of those."

The naming of multiple marshals is not unprecedented. The Tournament had seven (winners of the Medal of Honor) in 1952, four in 1999 (including Jackie Robinson posthumously), and three (astronauts) in 1970.

To fit the parade theme, "Childrens' Dreams, Wishes and Imagination," Thomas said he wanted a marshal who had dedicated a lifetime to entertaining children. "To have three is just incredible," he said.

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