Emmy winner becomes first documentary filmmaker to serve as Grand Marshal of the famed parade
Documentary legend Ken Burns has won more than a dozen Emmys, a couple of Grammys and earned a pair of Oscar nominations. But the honor he received today is one for the record books.
The filmmaker behind The Civil War, Baseball, The Roosevelts: An Intimate History, and Mark Twain, among many other docs, served as Grand Marshal of the 127th Rose Parade in Pasadena, California.
It's the first time a documentarian has been accorded such recognition. [David L. Wolper served as co-Grand Marshal in 1999 and although he produced a number of documentaries during his career, he was mainly known for his work in the narrative realm].
The selection of Burns as Grand Marshal fit the theme of this year's parade: "Find Your Adventure," described as a "unique partnership" between the Pasadena Tournament of Roses and the U.S. National Park Service. This year marks the 100th anniversary of the park system; Burns celebrated the beauty and history of the parks in his 2009 documentary series The National Parks: America's Best Idea.
Burns appeared in a short video after his selection as Grand Marshal was announced.
Burn’s next film, on baseball legend Jackie Robinson, will air on PBS in April.
Matthew Carey is a documentary filmmaker and journalist. His work has appeared on Deadline.com, CNN, CNN.com, TheWrap.com, NBCNews.com and in Documentary magazine.