Note: This is an encore post from 2005 and originally appeared on the 1947project.
What has become of the Rose Queens of yesteryear?
What has happened to the girls who in the past have ruled over the glamour, excitement and pageantry of the Pasadena Tournament of Roses?
Did that cherished title start them on the road to fame and fortune or did it leave them just happy memories, a scrapbook and a pressed red rose?
In 1979, The Times surveyed former Rose Queens, finding that many of them lived in Orange County. One of the women interviewed by Lael Morgan was Patricia Auman, the Rose Queen for 1946, who selected an education at Stanford over pursuing a film career.
Auman, who dropped out of Stanford after a year and a half to marry a fellow student, said: “I was in high school, I was 17 years old and I was thrilled to participate. And it was a wonderful event at the time. The tournament people are good people, the former queens well-meaning women. But what it really is, is publicity for Pasadena…”
The Times said: “What bothers her primarily is the commercialism of the event, ‘so many millions spent when there are so many other problems to deal with in our society.’ ”
“While the tournament has always stressed it wasn’t a beauty contest I don’t like the emphasis on looks. I wish they would do away with it entirely or combine it with achievement; what a person is, now how they look,” she said.
Quote of the day: “When you’re growing up in Pasadena and you’re a girl you have this useless dream about being Rose Bowl queen. My orthodontist tried to tell me that if I took care of my teeth I’d be queen and he was right. Though later I found he told that to all the girls.’’
Nancy True Thorne, 1954 Rose Queen