4th Annual California Hall of Fame
December 1, 2009
CAROL BURNETT read by Stuart Milk
They were called variety shows, but they only came in one flavor.
At the dawn of the television age, variety shows were vaudeville, spruced up and acceptably sanitized for censors, advertisers and everyone’s living room.
And they were king. Literally.
All the stars were men. Milton Berle. Sid Caesar. Red Skelton. Ernie Kovacs. Ed Sullivan. Steve Allen. Garry Moore. They were comics and singers, actors and newspaper columnists; week in a week out they dominated the ratings. But – even though a couple of them played one on TV – none of them was a woman.
Until Carol Burnett.
Born in San Antonio, Texas, Burnett was raised in Hollywood, primarily by her maternal grandmother. She majored in English and theater at UCLA, discovered she had a gift for making people laugh, and went to New York to prove it. She worked the nightclub circuit, landed guest spots with Allen, Sullivan and Jack Paar, and, after a bravura performance in the 1959 off-Broadway musical “Once Upon a Mattress,” Carol was hired as a regular on “The Garry Moore Show.” After three seasons and a couple of Emmys, CBS signed Carol to a long term contract. Five years later, the network found the audacity to turn the contract into a television show.
Variety finally had a queen.
She ruled from 1967 until 1978, presiding over a gifted court of comedic actors, like Harvey Korman, Tim Conway, Lyle Waggoner and Vicki Lawrence. “The Carol Burnett Show” set standards for excellence, won 23 Emmys and ruled the ratings. It also paved the way for Cher and Ellen DeGeneres, for Bonnie Hunt and Joy Behar, and, arguably, even Oprah.
Before Carol Burnett – a vast wasteland. Apres Carol Burnett – le deluge.
It all was made possible by a kid from Hollywood, who got fired from her first job in the business – as an usher at the old Hollywood Pacific Theater. Today you can find her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame right outside the front doors to that theater, at 6439 Hollywood Boulevard.
The State of California honors Carol Burnett, who couldn’t make it as an usher, but found a way to make audiences keep quiet and pay attention after all.
ANDREW GROVE read by George Lucas
Andrew Grove didn’t set out to change the world one microprocessor at a time. It just turned out that way.
He was born Andras Grof in Budapest, Hungary, in 1936. He survived the Nazis and he escaped the Communists when the Soviet tanks rolled in to suppress the Hungarian revolution in 1956.
He made his way through Austria to the United States and became a brilliant student named Andrew Steven Grove. He did his undergraduate work in chemical engineering at CCNY, and earned his Ph. D at Berkeley.
Having escaped a violent revolution in Eastern Europe, upon graduation Andrew Grove enlisted as a foot soldier in a different and peaceful kind of revolution in the western United States when he hired on with Fairchild Semiconductor. At Fairchild, he went to work with the scientists who created the first marketable, silicon-based integrated circuit.
In 1968, Grove joined with some other, more senior, refugees from Fairchild, such as Gordon Moore and Bob Noyce, and helped create Intel. Freed from corporate restraints, able to work as they pleased, Grove, Moore and their colleagues figured out how to mass produce the general purpose microprocessor. Then every day after that they devoted themselves to making it faster, better, smaller and cheaper. They devised the defining law of the digital age: Microchips would double in power and halve in price every 18 months. They set the bar high and they cleared it decade after decade.
And as they did, they created something else: The information revolution.
Andy Grove didn’t invent the desk top, the lap top, the PDA or the cell phone. He didn’t suggest the iPod or the iPhone, the GPS device or the flat screen TV.
But he made them all possible. His chips are the heart, soul and guts of all those devices. Every time you listen to music or watch TV or get directions or write an email home, there is a little bit of Andy Grove in the lyric, the story or the message.
LOL, BTW, TTYL. They’re all Andy Grove’s fault.
Nonetheless, the State of California honors Andrew Steven Grove for thinking big, creating small, and bringing people closer together.
California was an idea imagined by some and built by others, but it was Hiram Johnson who aspired to perfect and protect it.
His legacy is California’s political system.
From the turn of the century to the end of World War II, Johnson defined politics in the state.
He was a crusading prosecutor in San Francisco, a progressive governor in Sacramento and an independent Senator in Washington, DC.
Johnson was born into a political family in Sacramento in 1866. Twenty-two years later, he graduated from Berkeley and was admitted to the bar. Two decades after that, he successfully prosecuted the San Francisco’s corrupt political bosses for graft and corruption.
And two years later, he was elected California’s 23rd governor as the populist candidate of the Lincoln-Roosevelt League.
Johnson immediately embarked on the program of reform that defines California politics to this day. He added initiative, referendum and recall to state government, giving California a degree of direct democracy that is still unmatched by any other state.
Despite a losing campaign for vice president as Teddy Roosevelt’s Bull Moose Party running mate in 1912, Johnson was reelected governor in 1914. He continued to fight for reforms such as women’s suffrage, child labor laws, workers’ compensation protection, public utility regulation, conservation laws, and direct primary elections, which transferred power from smoke filled rooms to the people.
In 1916, Johnson returned to his father’s Republican party and won election to the U.S. Senate, where he served until his death in 1945.
In Washington, he was a Republican who supported Franklin Roosevelt and the New Deal, and he was an isolationist who voted for American involvement in both World Wars but was the only Senator who opposed joining both the League of Nations and the United Nations.
The State of California honors Hiram Johnson, the original post-partisan politician.
And Governor Johnson has no direct living blood relatives, so here tonight to represent the State of California in honoring our past leader is a man who knows more about California and our rich history than anyone – Dr. Kevin Starr.
RAFER JOHNSON read by Dr. Kevin Starr
He didn’t shout. He didn’t scream. He didn’t preen. He never pounded his chest. He never popped his jersey. He never demanded attention or respect.
He just did whatever was necessary.
And that, quite possibly, was enough to make Rafer Johnson the greatest athlete ever to come out of California.
It has been nearly a half century since Rafer Johnson set his last world record, but his star still hasn’t dimmed a bit.
Never demanded, attention and respect are still inevitably accorded.
Johnson came out of Kingsburg in the San Joaquin Valley to attend UCLA. There, he competed in track and field and played basketball for John Wooden.
While he was an undergraduate, he won the gold medal in the decathlon in the 1955 Pan American Games, and the silver medal in the decathlon in the 1956 Olympic Games.
In Rome, in 1960, he was selected captain of the US team, carried the American flag into opening ceremonies, won the gold medal in the decathlon, breaking the world record for the third time in his career, and was universally proclaimed the greatest athlete in the world. Any discussion back then of the greatest American Olympians in history generally started with Jim Thorpe, ended with Rafer Johnson and also included Jesse Owens. But for the addition of, perhaps, Carl Lewis and Michael Phelps, those discussions have not changed in the last five decades.
Rafer Johnson retired from competition after the Rome Olympics, but when the games returned to Los Angeles in 1984, he was the only individual considered for the honor of lighting the torch at Opening Ceremonies.
In the decades since he stopped competing, Johnson has, without fanfare or notice, devoted himself to humanitarian causes such as the Special Olympics and his work at the Rafer Johnson Children’s Center, a school for children with disabilities.
The State of California honors Rafer Johnson for his life of service, quiet dignity and record breaking accomplishment.
HENRY J. KAISER read by Danielle Steel
In 1913, when he was 31, Henry J. Kaiser used his life savings to buy a small, failing, construction company.
Starting with paving, within a decade he was one of the leading road builders in a rapidly modernizing world.
He moved on to apply the innovations he developed for road building to other public works projects. He was chairman of the consortium that built the wondrous Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. His company also participated in the construction of the Bonneville, Grand Coulee and Shasta dams and the San Francisco-Oakland Bay Bridge.
Before he was 50, Henry Kaiser’s companies had built roads and provided the power that made possible the growth of the western United States in the 20th century.
Then he finally went and made a name for himself.
During World War II, Kaiser applied his companies’ construction
skills to shipbuilding. Kaiser Shipyards produced cargo hauling
Liberty ships crucial for the war effort, completing a total of
1,490 vessels – one which was even produced in four days!
A war won, Henry Kaiser decided to improve the world he helped save. He predicted the need for housing, medical care, and transportation. He expanded his cement and steel operations, began manufacturing aluminum, gypsum, appliances, and other household products. He built 10,000 homes, conceived the dream community, Hawai’i Kai outside Honolulu, and started a car company that became Jeep. And the pre-paid health plan he created for his workers was the pioneering ideal and model for the modern HMO.
Henry Kaiser’s quest for innovation, his determination to create a better world, lives on today, more than four decades after his death, in the work of the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation, which focuses on major health care issues facing the nation.
The State of California honors Henry J. Kaiser for putting on the work clothes and turning problems into opportunities. Carlyn Kaiser Stark is accepting the medal on behalf of her grandfather.
GEORGE LUCAS read by Rafer Johnson
The modern movie blockbuster, like most successes, has many fathers. But any case study of the phenomenon is sure to find the DNA of one man – George Lucas.
First George Lucas took us on a trip to a place he had been. He distilled his youth in Modesto to one rambunctious night of cars, girls and Wolfman Jack in “American Graffiti.”
Then we were sent on an epic voyage to a future he imagined. “Star Wars” is a place George Lucas created through enthralling storytelling and technological wizardry in six episodes presented over almost three decades, from 1977 through 2005.
And then he introduced us to Indiana Jones, the brainy, brawny, ironic, and reluctant movie hero all of us yearn to be when we sit in the dark or gaze in the mirror.
For more than three decades, these movies have been an integral part of our popular culture; so pervasive they seem almost inevitable. But none of them was born easily. Producers didn’t want to fund them. Studios didn’t want to release them. The technology didn’t exist to make them.
Eventually, the funds were found and the studios relented. But the movie magic was something different altogether.
George Lucas was on his own when it came to that. So the kid from USC film school went beyond script and structure, performance and action.
Working out of his ranch in Marin County, he helped to revolutionize the very foundations of the storytelling process – including technological innovations from previsualization to digital editing.
He created Industrial Light & Magic, which pioneered advances in visual special effects.
He founded Skywalker Sound, the industry leader in audio post-production, and developed the innovative THX system, which surrounds audiences with sound and brings them into the world of film.
He spun a little animation company out of the graphics group of his Lucasfilm, and today Pixar is the preeminent producer of animated films in the world.
The State of California honors George Lucas for creating worlds the rest of us couldn’t even imagine and inventing the means to share them with all of us.
JOHN MADDEN read by Carlyn Kaiser Stark
As a player, he wasn’t the biggest, fastest or best.
As a coach, he was a Super Bowl champion, but not the kind they name trophies after.
As an announcer he wasn’t the first, the prettiest or the most mellifluous.
But as a package, as a full and complete human being immersed in the world of football, celebrating the culture of a nation, John Madden has, for generations, been the heart, the soul, the voice and the face of the American game.
As a boy in Daly City, John Madden fell in love with the game and found his identity in football. It earned him a scholarship to Cal Poly-San Luis Obispo. And, after a knee injury suffered during his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles ended his playing career, it got him honest work.
In just two years, John Madden worked his way up from assistant coach to head coach at Hancock Junior College in Santa Maria. He moved south to San Diego State, where he was defensive coordinator. Then he moved north to coach linebackers for the Oakland Raiders. In 1969, when he was 32 years old, he was promoted to head coach. Over the next decade, his teams went 103-32-7, and beat the Minnesota Vikings in Super Bowl XI. His .763 winning percentage is still the highest of any coach in NFL history with more than 100 decisions.
In 1979, John Madden left the sideline and took a job as an analyst with CBS Sports. Within two years – BOOM! JUST LIKE THAT! – he was the network’s No. 1 analyst and the game’s No. 1 voice. Working for CBS, Fox, ABC and NBC, crisscrossing the country in his bus, the Madden Cruiser, week after week, season after season, year after year, he won 14 Emmys and stayed at the top for three decades before – DOINK! – retiring to his home in Northern California last April.
But he remains the game’s great ambassador, its happiest warrior. His video game continues to be the No. 1 best selling sports video game more than 15 years after its introduction. His books are still required reading for anyone interested in the game. He is a special consultant to the NFL Commissioner. And no member of the Pro Football Hall of Fame is more popular.
The State of California honors John Madden for his unfettered celebration of the American game.
HARVEY MILK read by Andy Grove
Harvey Milk was a high school football player and later a high school math teacher. He was a Navy man, an investment banker, an off-Broadway theater producer, a merchant, a neighborhood organizer and a politician.
Harvey Milk was gay.
He moved to San Francisco in 1972. Finished with corporate life, and motivated by his anger over the Vietnam War, Watergate, and a variety of local issues, he ran for a seat on San Francisco’s Board of Supervisors. He lost the election, but gained a political base. On his third try, Milk was elected to the Board of Supervisors, becoming the first openly gay elected official in the city’s history.
Harvey Milk was a natural politician, and his impact on city politics was immediate and lasting. He championed programs that are still in existence and he gained national attention for his role in defeating a proposal that would have prohibited gays and lesbians from teaching in public schools in California.
After just a few months in office it was clear that he was profound and meaningful and destined for higher office.
All that ended on November 27, 1978, when Milk and Mayor George Moscone were assassinated. But the assassin’s bullets did not defeat Harvey Milk’s dream.
The State of California honors Harvey Milk, a civil rights pioneer and a fierce fighter for tolerance for those who are different. Stuart Milk is accepting on behalf of his late Uncle.
FRITZ SCHOLDER read by Linda Ardell Wendfeldt
His place in the world was never settled.
Fritz Scholder moved from Minnesota to South Dakota. He stopped in Kansas, studied in Wisconsin, moved on to Sacramento. Years were spent in California, Arizona and New Mexico.
His identity was never well defined.
Fritz Scholder was one-half Luseino Indian, a California Mission tribe. He was raised white, and had no particular sense of his Native American heritage.
But Fritz Scholder’s destiny was never in question. He was to be an artist. And his work would establish his place and empower his people.
Scholder discovered his gift in high school in Pierre, South Dakota, where he was taught by the noted Sioux artist, Oscar Howe.
He refined that gift and started to master his craft when he studied under pop artist Wayne Thiebaud at Sacramento City College in the late 1950s. His studies continued at Sacramento State University and he graduated in 1961. He had his first solo exhibitions and sold his first major painting in Sacramento, but he couldn’t support himself and his family. He continued his studies at the University of Arizona, and continued his search.
In 1967, he found what he had been looking for.
Scholder had always resisted painting Indian subjects, but in 1967 he blew the lid off traditional Indian art with a series of paintings depicting what he called “the real Indian.” He sought to fight stereotypes with bright, assertive, abstract paintings that included unflinching depictions of Indians in real situations, even if that reality might include a beer can or an American flag or an ice cream cone. The paintings were controversial, shocking and an inspiration for a new generation of Native American artists. Scholder became the de facto leader of what was called the New American Indian Art movement.
Solo exhibitions across the United States and Europe followed, accompanied by books, television and film documentaries, and awards and honors. He expanded his repertoire to include printmaking and sculpture. And he continued to work until his death in 2005.
The State of California honors Fritz Scholder for his groundbreaking, original work. Accepting on his behalf is his sister, Sondra Clark.
DANIELLE STEEL read by Sondra Clark
There is the Bible.
There is the Koran.
There is Shakespeare.
And – for better or for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or for poorer – there is Danielle Steel, the American monarch of the romance novel.
Danielle Fernande Dominique Schuelein-Steel – native of New York, resident of San Francisco, citizen of the world – has lived a life as rich and textured as even her most complex character.
Her father was descended from the founders of Lowenbrau beer, her mother was the daughter of a Portuguese diplomat. She has married and divorced five times, providing a vast wealth of personal experience — trials and tribulations that someone like Danielle Steel could make up. But she didn’t. She was too busy raising nine children and creating hundreds of other memorable characters to do that.
She published her first novel, “Going Home,” in 1973. Since then, she has written another 107 books on her 1946 Olympia manual typewriter. Seventy-six have been best sellers. There are 580 million copies of her books in print. They are sold in 47 countries and have been published in 28 languages. More than 20 have been made into television movies or miniseries. And in 1989, she was listed in the Guinness Book of World Records for having at least one of her books on the New York Times best seller list for 381 consecutive weeks. For those of you keeping score at home, that’s more than seven consecutive years.
And she has refused to be creatively imprisoned by her success. In addition to the romance novels, Danielle Steel has written two series of books for young readers; a non-fiction account of the life and death of her son, Nicholas Traina, who committed suicide in 1997, and a volume of poetry entitled “Love: Poems by Danielle Steel.” Her productivity and creativity acknowledge no boundaries.
The State of California honors Danielle Steel for her prolific, profound and entertaining storytelling.
JOE WEIDER read by Governor Schwarznegger
A life well lived is one that makes one’s little corner of the world a better place. Joe Weider has made the entire world a better, healthier place by improving the lives and bodies of millions of people across the globe.
Joe revolutionized the sport of bodybuilding, fulfilling his vision of taking it to new heights by developing it at both the amateur and professional levels.
He and his brother, Ben, became a publishing powerhouse with numerous magazines that include Men’s Fitness, Flex, Muscle & Fitness Hers, and Shape.
In 1972, Joe established his publishing business in California, creating hundreds of jobs for the people of the Golden State.
He also revolutionized supplements and fitness equipment. And he changed the way people think about their bodies and their lifestyles.
But he didn’t stop there. He has continued to reach out through charitable donations to children, students, seniors, law enforcement, neighborhoods and cities.
Joe’s achievements are inspired by his passion for health and his commitment to the values of hard work and sacrifice.
The state of California honors Joe Weider for his contributions to our health, fitness and well-being.
GEN. CHUCK YEAGER read by John Madden
American heroes come in many shapes and sizes. They are firemen and nurses, schoolteachers and research scientists, cops and paramedics and mothers finding a way to make a better life for their children.
And sometimes they fight wars, reach for the stars, test limits, and attain the rank of general.
Chuck Yeager is that kind of American hero.
Fresh out of a West Virginia high school, 18 year old Chuck Yeager enlisted in the Army Air Corps in 1941. By 1943, he was flying missions over France and Germany. On his first eight missions, he shot down two German fighters. On his ninth mission, he was shot down over German occupied France. He was rescued by the French resistance, and made his way back to his base in England, and, after a personal appeal to General Eisenhower, returned to combat. He flew 63 more missions, shooting down 13 enemy planes, including an amazing five in one day.
After the war, Yeager trained as a test pilot, was assigned to what is now Edwards Air Force Base in California’s high desert, and was chosen to work in the top secret XS-1 project.
His job was to climb into bullet-shaped rocket powered aircraft that no one had ever flown and get them to go as fast as possible. On October 14, 1947, he climbed in Glamorous Glennis, the X-1 rocket plane named for his wife, popped a stick of Beekman’s gum into his mouth, and became the first pilot to break the sound barrier. He set off a sonic boom over the California desert that would echo around the world. After Yeager, perhaps because of Yeager, jet travel became commonplace, rocket ships were launched towards the heavens, and man walked on the moon. Without Yeager and fearless men like him, none of that would have been possible.
He wasn’t done, of course. He experimented with in-flight refueling; led the first flawless trans-Atlantic deployment of a jet fighter squadron, and trained many astronauts for space flight. During the Vietnam War he commanded the 405th Fighter Wing, and in 1968 was promoted to brigadier general, making him one of the few in Air Force history to rise from enlisted man to general. He retired from the Air Force in 1975, but didn’t make his last flight until October 14, 1997, when he celebrated the 50th anniversary of breaking the sound barrier in the X-1 by flying faster than the speed of sound one more time – in an F-15 fighter jet.
The State of California honors General Chuck Yeager, an American original.