5th Annual California Hall of Fame
December 14, 2010
JAMES CAMERON read by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
James Cameron became the writer and director of history’s highest grossing motion pictures the old fashioned way:
By packing his dreams in a suitcase, moving from Canada with his family at 17, and finding work as a machinist in Brea, California.
Next thing you know we’re going to have a governor born in Austria who finances his dream of becoming a world champion body builder by working construction in Santa Monica.
…Might not make a bad little movie, Jim…
Anyway, before long, Jim had scraped together enough money to quit his day job – he’d graduated to driving a truck – and make a short science fiction film, “Xenogenesis.”
It was just ten minutes, but that was long enough for anyone to see that Cameron had an uncommon and intuitive understanding of how movies can integrate science and art.
You know, it seems hard to believe now – it was hard for me to believe even then – but not everyone believed in Jim Cameron and Arnold Schwarzenegger in 1984. Studios were skeptical. Producers were wary.
“The Terminator” was recorded in mono and made for $6.5 million. Science fiction films don’t get much smaller than that.
But “The Terminator” changed our lives. We both knew for sure then that big dreams were real and attainable – that the most important belief comes from within.
For Jim, that meant taking movies to magical places they had not been before.
In time, that meant the wondrous, romantic past of “Titanic,” and the remarkable, futuristic dimensions of “Avatar.”
For all time, it means capturing the imaginations of people everywhere.
Now we have word that Jim is making two sequels to “Avatar.”
Just when I’m about to start looking for a job….How do you think I’ll look with blue skin?
It is my great pleasure to announce that tonight the state of California honors James Cameron, the audacious avatar of transcendent and eternal movie worlds.
MARK ZUCKERBERG read by James Cameron
The idea was Facebook. The genius was a shy Harvard sophomore from Dobbs Ferry, New York, named Mark Zuckerberg.
It started in February 2004 as a way for Harvard students to connect with each other. A place to share their interests, contact information, relationship status, classes, and more.
Within a month, half of the student body had signed up. The website was introduced to other schools – Stanford, Dartmouth, Yale, Cornell, Columbia, Brown, NYU.
By June, Zuckerberg and his pals moved to Palo Alto, rented a house, and set up shop. They found investors and they pursued a goal – to make it easy for people to connect and share with the people they care about. Zuckerberg intended to work on it all summer and return to school in the fall.
That never happened. Palo Alto is still home. But just six years after Facebook was nothing more than an idea, it had a half billion – with a B – users around the globe.
It’s a place that fosters connection. Where personal stories are told through photos, videos and even random thoughts. Where people foster new friendships and rekindle old ones. Where geographic boundaries don’t matter.
Little more than a generation ago, the global village was a controversial academic concept that seemed too far away to imagine. Now it is open and free and available to almost anyone who has fingertips.
The state of California honors Mark Zuckerberg for imagining and creating a community that values free expression and eliminates the barriers to global communication.
JOHN DOERR read by Mark Zuckerberg
Google John Doerr and you get about 270,000 results in .11 seconds.
Google garage door and you get 3,620,000 results in .13 seconds.
Google front door and it’s 180,000,000 results in .16 seconds.
A few key strokes and all the information in the world is resting on your lap, sitting on your desk, blinking rhythmically on your hand held.
And John Doerr saw it coming.
While you were sharpening your pencil and using the abacus to balance your checkbook, John Doerr saw his way clear to turn Google from an obscure word used by mathematicians into a goofy brand name and, eventually, a commonplace verb. Ten years ago, google meant nothing more than a hundred zeroes. Today it is a portal to everything, and the zeroes are used to describe astronomical net worth.
John Doerr – born in St. Louis, educated at Rice and Harvard, rooted in California’s Silicon Valley since 1974 – is quite clearly the man who sees the future.
After serving a six-year apprenticeship at Intel, Doerr moved to the young, cutting edge venture capital firm, Kleiner, Perkins, Caufield & Byers.
Once there, he set up a salon for dreamers and their impossible ideas. He nurtured and nudged and came to finance the great notions that defined California’s future and changed the world.
Google, Amazon, Intuit, Sun Microsystems, Compaq, Cypress, Macromedia, Symantec. They all were ideas incubated by John Doerr at Kleiner, Perkins. His office is a modern day Sutter’s Mill, attracting to California the best and the brightest entrepreneurs. And now they are looking past the computer screen to brilliant educational initiatives, clean energy, solar and fuel cell technologies and stem cell research.
The state of California honors John Doerr for everything he has done to help create a better, smarter, cleaner and brighter future for all of us.
A. P. GIANNINI read by John Doerr
A hundred years ago, the California Dream was under construction.
It was built one nail, one brick, one slab at a time, by people with broad backs, dirty fingernails, unbridled ambition and indefatigable spirit.
They came here from everywhere. From Mexico and China. From Italy and Ireland, Poland and Portugal. Some traced their roots to Russia, others to Africa.
They all came here wanting the same thing. Opportunity. Freedom. A chance at a better life for themselves and their children.
And thanks to a man just like them, Amadeo Peter Giannini, they found that opportunity and exercised that freedom.
A.P. Giannini was born in 1870 in San Jose, the son of Italian immigrants. As a young man he succeeded in the wholesale produce business. By the time he was 31, he sold his business to his employees and retired. He joined the board of a San Francisco bank, which, he discovered, was a lot more interested in customers with white shoes than dirty fingernails.
When Giannini couldn’t convince his fellow directors to offer loans and services to ordinary working men and women, men and women like his parents, he did the next best thing. He quit the board and opened his own bank in a former saloon across the street.
He called it the Bank of Italy and said it was in business for the “little fellows.” When the great earthquake destroyed San Francisco two years later, Giannini’s bank was the only one to survive with assets intact. The Bank of Italy was the first to reopen, and played a central role in reviving the city by making loans on a handshake and a signature to anyone willing to rebuild. Years later, Giannini would recount with pride that every one of those loans was repaid in full.
Giannini then expanded the Bank of Italy by opening branches in rural areas, as well as cities, throughout California, becoming the first statewide branch banking system in the United States. Twenty years after it opened with $8,780 in deposits, the Bank of Italy was the third largest in the United States.
In 1930, it was renamed the Bank of America. It survived the Great Depression, and provided the financial horsepower that built modern California, from two family homes in Noe Valley to the great span of the Golden Gate Bridge, from the hills of Hollywood to the wine country of Napa, from the fields of the San Joaquin Valley to the shipyards of San Diego. By the time he died in 1949, the Bank of America had 500 branches and more than $6 billion in deposits.
The state of California honors A. P. Giannini, the people’s banker, for believing in the dream, living the dream, and making it possible for millions of Californians to share in it with him. Accepting on his behalf is his granddaughter, Virginia Hammerness.
ANNE LAMOTT read by Virginia Hammerness
They call Anne Lamott “The People’s Author.” But she is also the writers’ writer.
If they gave out Mirror Ball Trophies to writers, Anne Lamott’s mantle would be a gloriously psychedelic repository of fractured reflections.
Words are Anne Lamott’s dance steps, and at the keyboard she has all the moves. She can samba and tango, waltz and jive, and throw a little cha‐cha at you every now and then. She writes fiction and non‐fiction. She writes long, she writes short. You can find what she has to say between hard covers that will be preserved for generations. You can read what she thinks on a blinking computer screen that will forget what was there as soon as you hit “history delete.”
For more than two decades now, in her novels and her non‐fiction, she has told us the stories of our lives. She takes us to familiar places and gets us to think of them in new ways.
Her muses are evanescent and eternal, personal and universal. Her muses are alcoholism, drug abuse, motherhood, death, faith – and, every now and then, the misguided politician who’s just asking to be nuked.
Anne Lamott wrote her first novel, Hard Laughter, for her father, the San Francisco writer Kenneth Lamott, when he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
Her first best seller was 1993’s Operating Instructions, the now classic meditations of a single mother on the first year of raising her son.
Death and birth. A writer’s themes don’t get larger, more powerful, or more daunting.
Anne Lamott has written seven novels and five works of non‐fiction, all of them the timeless ruminations of a thoroughly modern woman.
The state of California honors its native daughter, Anne Lamott, for personal writing that is a rich, real, and true evocation of all of our lives.
KEVIN STARR read by Anne Lamott
Dr. Johnson had his Boswell.
California has Kevin Starr.
California’s growth, the march of its seasons, its never‐ending kaleidoscopic transformation, its genius, its crises, its ambition and its failures, they have all been Kevin Starr’s muse.
For four decades, while the rest of us have been craving, building or pursuing the California dream, Dr. Kevin Starr has been pondering it, considering it, analyzing it and chronicling it. He has been its biographer and its shrink, its critic and its champion.
For all of his life, Kevin Starr has also been living the California dream. He was born and raised in San Francisco. He graduated from the University of San Francisco. Two years in the Army and graduate studies at Harvard took Starr away from California until he earned his PhD. He returned home to earn another graduate degree at Berkeley.
Since then he has served as the City Librarian of San Francisco, State Librarian of California, a lecturer at Berkeley, UC Davis, UC Riverside, Santa Clara, USF and Stanford. For more than 20 years he has been a professor at the University of Southern California.
But his life’s work has been telling our story, California’s story.
His multi‐volume series, Americans and the California Dream, is the comprehensive study of an evolving idea called California, of our place and its people.
From the first European myth to the last rocket ship fired into space from the High Desert, Dr. Starr provides insight into why so many millions have been drawn to California, why California has always been a place where dreams have been realized or shattered.
The State of California honors Dr. Kevin Starr for revealing its soul, reveling in its ambition, celebrating its boundless spirit, and serving its people with devotion and dedication as its greatest historian.
GEORGE SHULTZ read by Kevin Starr
After he graduated from Princeton in 1942 with degrees in economics and international affairs, young George Shultz joined the Marines.
After the war ended, he earned his graduate degrees in economics from MIT, and joined the faculty. A few years later, he went to work for President Eisenhower’s Council of Economic advisors. Then it was on to the University of Chicago school of business, where, eventually, he became dean.
In time, he was named Secretary of Labor, Director of the Office of Management and Budget, and Secretary of the Treasury.
When administrations changed, George Shultz returned to private life and moved to San Francisco where he served as president and director of Bechtel Group.
But before long, he returned to Washington to serve more than six years as
President Reagan’s Secretary of State and implement the policies that led to the end of the cold war.
And while it isn’t easy to keep track of all entries on George Shultz’s resume, one thing is – to quote his old boss – “perfectly clear”: It is a very good thing for the
United States of Americathat George Shultz couldn’t hold onto a job.
George Shultz is the embodiment of the citizen‐statesman. He is the apotheosis of the American ideal, the notion that we have a government of, for and by the people.
In his own way, in the second half of the 20th century, he lived the life of Jefferson and Adams, a life of privilege and service. When he could have done anything, when he could have used his education, experience and standing to do whatever he wanted, he chose to serve.
He is one of a handful of Americans who have held four different cabinet posts. He has taught at our greatest universities, run one of our greatest companies, published ten books. He has won awards named for Truman, Reagan, Bunche, Eisenhower, Jefferson, and Washington. And more than two decades ago he was awarded our nation’s highest civilian honor, the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
Tonight, one day after his 90th birthday, the state of California honors George Shultz for his resolute and boundless service to the American ideal.
BARBRA STREISAND read by George Shultz
If there were only her voice, Barbra Streisand would deserve her own wing in this Hall of Fame.
Her singing voice is among the world’s natural wonders. But we are here tonight discussing Barbra Streisand because there is so much more than the voice.
The distance from the streets of Brooklyn to the golden shores of Malibu was spanned by a great deal more than a few perfect octaves and a bridge made of iron will.
Barbra Streisand is the only artist ever to receive the Oscar, Tony, Emmy, Grammy, Golden Globe, Directors Guild of America Award, National Endowment for the Arts Award and Peabody Award. She was the first woman ever nominated for an Oscar as best director. In baseball terms, this is like winning Rookie of the Year, Most Valuable Player and the Cy Young Award ‐all in the same season.
From her earliest appearances as a teenager at the Lion in Greenwich Village ‐from playing Miss Marmelstein off Broadway and Fanny Brice on Broadway to Susan Lowenstein in “The Prince of Tides” and Roz Focker alongside Dustin Hoffman in Hollywood ‐the breadth and scope of her artistic achievements ‐as a singer, actor, director, composer and producer ‐is extraordinary, unmatched by any performer in our time.
But over the last half century, Barbra Streisand didn’t just show us the way we were. She never settled into the comfortable complacency of fame, wealth and personal accomplishment. Instead, she has worked just as hard to make us the way we should be.
She is a devoted and tireless activist and philanthropist. Anyone who has benefited from her work on the environment, voter education, civil rights, women’s equality, nuclear disarmament, education and at‐risk youth can tell you there is so much more to Barbra Streisand than her voice.
The state of California proudly honors Barbra Streisand for her unflagging work ethic, insatiable curiosity, unstoppable desire for a more perfect union, and – yes – for her voice.
WAYNE THIEBAUD read by Barbra Streisand
There are simple shapes and every day items. There are familiar faces you can’t quite place, there is an ordinary physique reflected in a million mirrors.
The art of Wayne Thiebaud always tells a story.
It is the living, transforming story that runs through your mind as you experience the art. Yesterday it might have meant one thing to you. Today another. Tomorrow something else altogether.
Eight sticks of multi‐colored lipstick. Three gum ball machines in a row. Cakes, pies, lollipops, parfaits. Hot dogs right off the grill, ready to eat. Ice cream cones defying physics and the heat, refusing to melt for generations.
You remember that party, the day at the carnival, a walk down the boardwalk on a summer evening. You remember the fragrant air and the smooth skin and the sugary taste. A drive through the Delta, a visit to the City. You remember it all, because Wayne Thiebaud’s work takes you there.
Thiebaud has become internationally known for work that, beyond the confections in paint as thick as frosting, also includes stark depictions of the human figure, landscapes, and cityscapes.
His art illustrates the experience of his eight plus decades in California. He grew up in Long Beach and apprenticed at Walt Disney Studios in the animation department at age sixteen. After serving in the US Army Air Force, he continued his education under the GI bill and received his masters degree in art from California State College, Sacramento. While still working on his degree, he had his first solo exhibition, at the Crocker Art Gallery just down the street, and eventually went on to teach at UC Davis for thirty years.
His coming-out party was a one-man show at the Allen Stone Gallery in New York in 1962 that garnered attention fromNewsweek, Art News, the New York Times, and Life magazine, as well as from the Museum of Modern Art, which bought a painting. Although he had initially had a hard time getting dealers and critics to take his whimsical subjects seriously, from that point on, his career never faltered.
The state of California honors Wayne Thiebaud for making profoundly original art of the simple things that define our lives.
MERLE HAGGARD read by Wayne Thiebaud
His childhood was right out of a John Steinbeck novel. The son of dust bowl migrants from Oklahoma, Merle Haggard was born in 1937 outside of Bakersfield, in the town of Oildale.
The family lived in a converted railroad box car – there was always food on the table and a lot of love to go around. When he was nine, Haggard’s father, to whom he was very close, died of a stroke. That’s when things got tough.
Haggard got nabbed by the law for the first time when he was 13 ‐and for the next few years, he was in and out of juvenile detention facilities and reform schools. An attempted robbery put him in San Quentin at the age of twenty. A fellow inmate hatched an escape plan but told Haggard he’d better stay put because he had a future ahead of him, in music.
Thirty‐eight number one hits, thirteen Academy of Country Music Awards, five Country Music Association Awards, three Grammys and one Kennedy Center Honor later, it’s probably safe to say that inmate was right.
After San Quentin, Haggard started writing and performing songs about the things he had done, the people he had met, the life he had seen.
His first recording , “Sing a Sad Song,” became a national hit in 1964. A few years later, he topped the charts with “The Fugitive.” By 1968, Haggard was a hit machine. And in 1969, the Okie from Oildale became a national icon with “Okie from Muskogee.”
If you need an example of The Bakersfield Sound, the unique twang of Haggard’s Fender Telecaster guitar, honky-tonk rhythm and the rough, outlaw edge of his voice is about the finest you’ll find. And tonight we could be lucky: maybe he and Clint will reprise their duet, “Bar Room Buddies.”
In 1977, he was elected to Nashville’s Songwriters’ Hall of Fame in Nashville. In 1994, he was and still is, the only California-born musician inducted into the Country Music Hall of Fame. And in 2006, the Kern County Board of Supervisors renamed a portion of 7th Standard Road in Oildale, Merle Haggard Drive.
So tonight it is only right that the State of California honors Merle Haggard, the poet laureate of the common man.
LEVI STRAUSS read by Merle Haggard
Chuck Yeager broke the sound barrier in California, and changed the way we think about travel, distance and the heavens.
Steve Jobs built Apple in California, and changed the way we learn, think and communicate.
Cesar Chavez of the San Joaquin Valley changed the way we consider each other.
These Hall of Fame inductees, and California, have given the world movies and television, music and art, powerful rocket ships and unconquerable athletes.
But nothing, perhaps, will last as long or mean as much as Levi Strauss’ simple pair of pants.
A Bavarian Jew who came to New York in 1847 to join his older brothers’ business, Strauss became an American citizen in 1853, and moved to San Francisco to open a western branch of his family’s dry good store.
In 1872, a tailor named Jacob Davis, also an immigrant, came up with the idea of using copper rivets to strengthen the pockets of work pants. He brought the idea to Strauss and together, on May 20, 1873, they were granted a U.S. patent to make what we now call Levi’s.
Of course, they weren’t called Levi’s, or even jeans, until much later. These were riveted waist overalls fashioned out of blue denim, the traditional fabric for workwear. The idea caught on quickly and the business flourished. Originally designed for hard-working men in California, these sturdy pants came to represent the lifestyle of the American West and captured the country’s imagination. Thanks to American soldiers taking their “jeans”, a term coined by teenagers in the 1960s, overseas, their visibility and popularity only grew.
Today blue jeans are as ubiquitous as air. They are worn on stage, they are worn in the White House. They are worn in the board room, they are worn in the corn field. They are worn in the dead of winter, the heat of summer and any time in between.
It seems somehow appropriate that this most American of garments was brought into being by two European immigrants. One hundred thirty‐seven years later, the descendants of Levi Strauss’ four nephews still own and control the San Francisco-based company and continue his legacy of philanthropy.
The state of California honors Levi Strauss for creating quintessentially American apparel.
SERENA WILLIAMS read by Walter Haas
Last summer, after she won the Wimbledon singles championship for the fourth time, the cover of Sports Illustrated featured a photograph of Serena Williams hitting a fearsome backhand accompanied by a simple headline: “LOVE HER, HATE HER/She’s the Best Ever.”
Not the greatest female tennis player now. Not the greatest of the 21st century. Not the greatest of this era.
That means better than Margaret Court Smith and Helen Wills Moody. It includes Steffi Graf and Billie Jean King, Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova.
You say it, and you’ll start an argument. But it’s a good one. Serena Williams, who turns 30 next year, has won all four major women’s singles titles, 13 total. She has won 12 major women’s double titles. She has won two major mixed doubles titles, two Olympic gold medals in women’s doubles, and she has been doing it since she was 17. Her serve is 125 miles per hour and so accurate that during that last Wimbledon fortnight she had three times as many aces – 89 – as her next closest competitor.
More important may be the way she has won those championships. She has won them with strength and power and emotional fervor. Serena has made it a good thing for women’s tennis players to be athletic and muscular, physical and ferocious.
There is no lace in her game or her style. She plays tennis like Kobe and Jordan play basketball. With an explosive passion.
She plays hungry. And that’s just the way she and her sister Venus learned from their father, Richard, on the public courts of Compton, California.
And while she has traveled the world and met kings and queens, princes and presidents, she has never forgotten her roots. Her charitable work is as impressive as her tennis. She’s built schools in Kenya, run tennis clinics around the world for at-risk youth, and started a foundation to support young people who have been affected by violent crime.
The state of California proudly honors Serena Williams, the best women’s tennis player…
BETTY WHITE read by Serena Williams
In the last year or so, Betty White posed for her own pin up calendar; hosted “Saturday Night Live”; turned 88; beat Jimmy Fallon at beer pong on live TV; chaired the Greater Los Angeles Zoo Association; starred in the new sitcom, “Hot in Cleveland”; followed in the footsteps of the Olsen twins by unveiling her own line of T‐shirts and sweatshirts; took a vicious hit for Snickers in a Super Bowl commercial, and – did we mention? – TURNED 88.
If we considered only what Betty White has done in the last year to make the world a better, safer place for animals, and a happier, brighter place for people; if we only considered what she has done to make us all understand that age is just a number, Betty White would be a Hall of Famer.
But there is so much more than that.
Betty White is the living history of American television. She began her career in 1939, three months after graduating from Beverly Hills High School, when she and a classmate sang songs from “The Merry Widow” on an experimental Los Angeles TV station. Ten years later, after serving in the American Women’s Voluntary Services during World War II and working in radio, Betty became a regular on one of Los Angeles’ first daily television shows, “Hollywood on Television.” Three years later, she was host of the show and a partner in a production company that created one of TV’s first sitcoms, “Life with Elizabeth,” which, of course, starred Betty White, and for which she won the first of her seven Emmys.
After that came a talk show on NBC, regular appearances on game shows, dozens of guest starring roles, and, of course, Sue Ann Nivens on “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.” Chalk up two more Emmys.
That led to job hosting a game show – Emmy number four, first woman to win in the category – and, of course, “The Golden Girls,” and Emmy number five. The next two Emmys came for guest starring in an episode of “The John Larroquette Show” in 1996 and for guest hosting “Saturday Night Live” this year.
Seven decades in TV, seven Emmys: the first and the last 48 years apart. The numbers are impressive enough, but the story they tell about persistence, perseverance, and the value of hard work is inspiring to all of us, regardless of age or circumstance.
The state of California honors an American original, Betty White, who has only just begun.
EDMUND G. “PAT” BROWN read by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger
Building modern California required the labor of millions, the vision of thousands, the inspiration of hundreds, and remains the crowning achievement of one – Edmund G. “Pat” Brown, our state’s 32nd governor. The place, the idea, and the dream – they were the life’s work of Pat Brown.
The Beach Boys, the Mamas and the Papas and Tony Bennett – they were all singing about Pat Brown’s California.
The place that reached for the stars, built rockets that sent man to the moon; the place of Mays and Koufax, West and Chamberlain, football champions at USC, basketball champions at UCLA, and Olympic champions like Rafer Johnson; the home of Coppola and Lucas and all the other magicians of film and television – that was Pat Brown’s California.
The golden state that caught the eye of a young Austrian boy and stirred his dreams – that was the California of Pat Brown, too.
Pat Brown was uniquely qualified to build the dream because for all of his 90 years, he lived it.
The son of working class parents in San Francisco, he worked his way through law school and was elected District Attorney by the time he was 38.
Before the civil rights movement, before the women’s movement, Brown served as a one man wrecking crew against discrimination. He appointed the city’s first black assistant district attorney, first Chinese deputy district attorney, and more women assistant district attorneys than any of his predecessors.
In 1950, he was elected Attorney General of California, where he continued to fight against discrimination, vice, political corruption and organized crime.
Eight years later, Pat Brown was elected California’s 32nd governor.
In his two terms, he designed the world we take for granted. His visionary legislation introduced equal opportunity to the work place and made discrimination illegal in housing.
He nurtured his determination to provide access to a college education for every Californian by building seven new state college and university campuses – almost one a year. He presided over an unprecedented expansion of the freeway system. And perhaps his greatest achievement was the State Water Project, a massive network of dams, reservoirs and canals that has served all of us for a half century. Which, by the way, can use a little tune up.
After leaving public office, Brown worked as an attorney well into his 80s and enjoyed the successes of his four children, including Kathleen, who served as state treasurer, and my friend, Jerry, whose life of public service is legend. The state of California is proud to honor Pat Brown for a life of service that made his dream our reality.