Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown ushered in a golden age, making California famous for having the biggest water system, the best higher education, the longest highways, and an economy exceeding that of nations.
Born in Kapuskasing, Ontario, Canada, James Cameron grew up in the historic village of Chippawa, near Niagara Falls. In 1971, he moved to Brea, California where he studied physics at Fullerton Junior College while working as a machinist and, later, a truck driver. Cameron quit his trucking job in 1978 and raised money from local dentists to produce a 35mm short film.
The visual effects in this film led to work on Roger Corman’s Battle Beyond the Stars (1980).
One of Silicon Valley’s most successful venture capitalists, John Doerr’s keen eye for technological innovation has helped write the success stories of companies like Amazon, Google, Compaq, Intuit and Symantec.
Amadeo Peter Giannini is recognized today as the father of modern consumer banking. His persistence in innovation and respect for the common man gave the world its finest example of banking with a conscience.
Born in California’s Santa Clara Valley of Italian immigrant parents, Giannini left school at age thirteen to work with his stepfather in the produce business.
“Legend” is the word usually used to describe Merle Haggard. It’s an acknowledgement of his artistry and his standing as “the poet of the common man;” a tribute to his commercial success and to the lasting mark he has made, not just on country music, but on American music as a whole. It’s apt in every way but one: it suggests loftiness at odds with the grit and heart of Haggard’s songs.
Born near Bakersfield, California, Haggard was the son of Oklahoma Dust Bowl-era migrants.
With self-deprecating humor, ruthless honesty, and unflagging compassion, author Anne Lamott has inspired her readers by sharing her own often difficult life experiences, earning the moniker “the people’s author.”
A native San Franciscan, Lamott wrote her first novel for her father when he was diagnosed with brain cancer as “a present to someone I loved who was going to die.” Since then she has published six additional novels and five nonfiction books.
Although he has often worked outside the spotlight, George Pratt Shultz has wielded profound influence on American public policy. He is one of a handful of people who have held four different federal cabinet posts; he has taught at three top universities; and he was president of a major engineering and construction company.
Shultz has an impressive record in academia. After graduating from Princeton, he served in the Marine Corps during World War II. He then resumed his studies at MIT, where he earned a Ph.D.
For almost forty years, while the rest of us lived the California Dream, Dr. Kevin Starr pondered, dissected and wrote about it. His books provide insight into why so many people are drawn to California from all over the world, and why California has always been a place where dreams have been both realized and shattered.
His writing revealed that California is not merely a place, but an idea, and it is the idea of California that keeps the dream alive.
Levi Strauss brought the world a simple but revolutionary product that today is hard to imagine doing without: blue jeans.
Strauss came to the United States from his native Bavaria in 1847, joining his brothers in their wholesale dry goods business in New York City. In 1853 he moved to San Francisco to open a West Coast branch of the family business, which he named for himself: Levi Strauss & Co.
Barbra Streisand is legendary around the world as an actress, singer, director, writer, composer, producer, designer, activist, and philanthropist. She is the only artist ever to receive the Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Directors Guild of America, Golden Globe, National Endowment for the Arts and Peabody Award, and is the only female director to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.
While a teenager, Streisand plunged into show business by winning a singing contest at a small Manhattan club. In everything she tried, she was a brilliant success from the start.
Best known for his joyful depictions of pies and cakes rendered in paint thick as frosting, Wayne Thiebaud is one of those rare artists whose work is both celebrated by critics and loved by those outside the art world.
Born in Arizona, he moved with his family to Long Beach, California, when he was a child. His art career got an early start – he was just sixteen when he got a job in the animation department of Walt Disney Studios.
Currently ranked the number one female tennis player in the world, Serena Williams has transcended sports to become a pop culture icon who devotes her considerable energy to improving children’s lives.
Mark Zuckerberg, CEO of Facebook, took a small campus-only project and turned it into one of the world’s most popular Internet services. Today, Facebook helps over 400 million people worldwide communicate more efficiently with their friends, family and coworkers.