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
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
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
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
His writing revealed that California is not merely a place, but
an idea, and it is the idea of California that keeps the dream
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
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