PASADENA, Calif. - The Force will be with the Rose Parade next year. Perhaps that will keep the rain away this time. "Star Wars" creator George Lucas was named Tuesday as grand marshal of the 118th annual Tournament of Roses.
To the soaring strains of the "Star Wars" theme, Lucas arrived at the Tournament of Roses headquarters to accept the honor. On hand to greet him were "Star Wars" characters such as a roaring Chewbacca and a diminutive Ewok.
"It's always had a very special place in my heart and now it's an amazing thought that I'm going to be riding that funny old car at the very end of the parade," the 62-year-old director said.
The theme for the parade is "Our Good Nature."
"George Lucas has brought excitement and entertainment to the world for 34 years. His creativity and talent has opened up new worlds for all of us to imagine, and has shown us how good nature can prevail," said Tournament of Roses President Paul L. Holman.
Former Supreme Court Justice Sandra Day O'Connor was grand marshal of the 2006 parade. That event was pounded by heavy rain for the first time in more than a half-century.
Also Tuesday, the University of Southern California announced that Lucas' foundation, the Lucasfilm Foundation, was making a $175 million donation. The contribution is the largest in the school's history.
The foundation is giving $75 million for the construction of a new 137,000-square foot home for the university's cinema school. The remaining $100 million is to be used to endow the school.
"I discovered my passion for film and making movies when I was a student at USC in the 1960s, and my experiences there shaped the rest of my career," Lucas said in a statement.
On the Net:
Tournament of Roses: http://www.tournamentofroses.com.