“Life is no brief candle to me. It is a sort of splendid torch which I have got a hold of for the moment, and I want to make it burn as brightly as possible before handing it onto future generations.”----George Bernard Shaw
|Roz Wyman and best friend Jean Firstenberg|
One morning when I was in grammar school, my mother was sitting at the breakfast table awaiting me, holding up the front page of the LA Times and sporting a big grin. "Look at this headline," she said proudly. The words "It's a Girl" in big type were on page 1. Next to it I saw a picture of a young girl named Roz Wyman. She was 22-years-old and the first woman EVER elected to the LA City Council. The year was 1953. In the council chambers they didn't even have bathrooms for women at that time. She couldn't enter through the front door if there were meetings at the Jonathan Club. (She made them change the location.) But Roz fixed all of that. As my mother showed me that headline she said, "You see Susie, you can be anything you want to be." It was profound for me, and every time I see Roz or even just hear about her I am so grateful for what she did for all little girls like me.
In 1953 she married the brilliant attorney and Democratic Party operative named Eugene Wyman. Gene and Roz were one of the most powerful Democratic couples in the country. It was Roz Wyman who Bobby Kennedy called in 1960 to ask how to get Hollywood to notice and support his brother's candidacy for president. "I'll throw a fundraiser," said Roz, thereby being the certified inventor of the Hollywood Celebrity Fundraiser. She called Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh; the Kennedys showed up in Los Angeles; the rest is history.
Roz' proudest achievement in her civic career was being the person who brought the Dodgers to Los Angeles. It's a long story--just know that she REALLY was the one who did it. Ask an O'Malley, Tommy Lasorda or Vin Scully. They'll tell you.
She was chair of the Democratic Convention for all the U.S. in 1984. She has advised almost every democrat politician you've ever known, and continues to do so. Senators Feinstein and Boxer, as well as former Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi have her on speed dial. It was Roz that Bobby Kennedy spoke with election night as things looked like Nixon might win by a small margin. You name it, and she's been there behind the scenes.
|Nancy Malone and Anne Taylor Fleming|
Her accomplishments are many (feel free to Google her), but baseball and recreational parks are her heart. There is already the Wyman Diamond at Cheviot Hills Park on Motor. On May 25th the Palms Recreation Center will be named the Rosalind Wyman Recreation Center, and a new field will be opened that day. She's throwing out the first ball at the Dodger Game this coming Tuesday night.
This past week she was given the Rose Award by the Los Angeles Parks Foundation for being "a pioneer for civic leadership in Los Angeles." As Vin said in her introduction, "There would be no Dodgers if it weren't for Roz Wyman."
Vin and Roz
"I did feel the responsibility of being a pioneer," said Roz in her acceptance speech. "I DID have to broker a bathroom for myself. It got so crazy that at one point the LA Times ran a cartoon of City Hall with an outhouse next to it that had Roz Wyman on it."
|Dodger Legend Sweet Lou Johnson|