Bill Lomas, Longtime Producer of the Hollywood Christmas Parade, Dies at 88

Bill Lomas, who produced the Hollywood Christmas Parade for 42 years, died Friday of cancer at his home in Lakewood, California, publicist Steve Moyer announced. He was 88.

Nicknamed “The Parade King,” Lomas headed Pageantry Productions and produced thousands of parades locally and throughout the state of California beginning in 1966. He also organized Irish fairs and Celtic music festivals around the Southland as well as events in Hawaii and Arizona.

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Lomas guided the Hollywood Christmas Parade through 2023; he was ill but determined to work last year’s event, Moyer said. The parade, first held in 1928, runs on the Sunday after Thanksgiving over a three-mile route and is televised.

He and his late second wife, Ronnie, “live and breathe parades,” director Larry Harman told the Los Angeles Times in 1991. “They are a unique couple. Whatever you want, they’ll get it, whether it is a camel, an elephant, anything. They’re your one-stop shopping for parades.”

William Frederick Lomas was born in Toronto on May 25, 1935. Shortly after high school, he worked as an auto mechanic and as a service manager at a Pontiac dealership, then moved in 1960 to Lynwood, California, where he landed at the Goodyear Tire Co. and Canada Dry.

With the soft drink company, Lomas created local promotions. One campaign had him escorting Los Angeles Dodgers players Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Maury Wills and Duke Snyder around the city for in-store visits.

After Lomas and business partner Mort Pollock created Golden State Trophies in Woodland Hills in 1965, they contacted chamber of commerce offices in California looking to sell trophies to them. That got them offers to produce local parades.

Lomas parted ways with Pollack and launched Pageantry Productions in 1969 in Lynwood in a building that once served as a presidential campaign office for Robert F. Kennedy. Ronnie, who died in 2009, created the company’s slogan, “I Love a Parade.”

In the 1980s, Lomas was brought in on an emergency basis to produce the Kentucky Derby parade and produced Beverly Hills’ first St. Patrick’s Day parade, which had Ed McMahon as grand marshal. During the height of his career, he produced 65 parades and 34 festivals annually for about 10 years.

Lomas was a close friend and colleague of Johnny Grant, the late honorary mayor of Hollywood. They often vacationed together.

Survivors include his companion, Nancy, whom he first met in 2010; his children, Steven and Penny; and his stepchildren, Linell Pe’a, Richard and Kathy. A celebration of life is set for 1 p.m. on April 6 at Desert Reign Church in Downey, California.

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