Writer, Poet, Performer & Teacher
Actor, Model, Singer, Songwriter, Television Personality & Author
Born and raised in San Diego
Athlete & Olympic Medalist
Born and raised in San Jose
Brandi Chastain is a two-time FIFA Women’s World Cup champion and three-time Olympic medalist who has inspired generations of young women to play soccer and to fight for equal pay and working conditions as professional athletes.
Skateboarder, Entrepreneur & Philanthropist
Born and raised in San Diego, California
Born in Inglewood
Civil Rights Activist
- Lived in Los Angeles from 1974 to 1999
The Reverend James M. Lawson, Jr., began resisting racism as a young child in Massillon, Ohio.
Actor & Comedian
Born and raised in Los Angeles
Chef, Restaurateur & Entrepreneur
Has lived and worked in Los Angeles since 1975
Has lived and worked in Napa and Sonoma counties since 1977
Born in Los Angeles, CA; earned Bachelor of Science from San Diego State University; earned Doctorate in Electrical Engineering from Stanford University.
Career based in Bakersfield, Calif.
Country music legend Buck Owens was a pioneer of the raw-edged country music that came out of Bakersfield’s honky-tonk bars, known as the Bakersfield Sound.
Born Alvis Edgar Owens, Jr. in Sherman, Texas to a poor sharecropper family, he nicknamed himself “Buck” after the family mule. The family relocated to Arizona during the Dust Bowl years, where Owens learned to play guitar and mandolin.
After moving to Bakersfield, California in 1951, he became a regular performer at local clubs and bars, and played guitar on records for other country singers. He formed his own band in 1963, and Buck Owens and the Buckaroos had 21 No. 1 country hit singles during the 1960s, including “Act Naturally,” “Love’s Gonna Live Here,” “Together Again” and “I’ve Got a Tiger by the Tail.” The band performed at such venues as Carnegie Hall and the White House. Owens also was a fixture in households across the country as co-host of the long-running television variety show “Hee Haw.”
Owens’ music influenced generations of musicians, from Gram Parsons to Dwight Yoakum, all of whom continue the twangy tradition of the Bakersfield Sound.
Awards & Recognition:
- Grammy Hall of Fame Inductee
- ACM Cliffie Stone Pioneer Award
- ACM Jim Reeves International Award
- ACM Poet’s Award
- ACM Male Vocalist of the Year Award
- Country Music Association Award for Vocal Event of the Year
- Country Music Hall of Fame inductee
Charles M. Schulz lived and worked in California from 1958-2000.
Charles M. Schulz, best known for the iconic comic strip Peanuts, was one of the most influential cartoonists of all time, whose innovation continues to inspire cartoonists and fans today.
Schulz’s early series of one-panel cartoons, Li’l Folks, was published from 1947 to 1950 in the St. Paul Pioneer Press. Schulz approached United Feature Syndicate with the single-panel series, but they preferred a version in comic strip format. Peanuts made its debut on October 2, 1950 in seven newspapers. The cartoon eventually became one of the most popular comic strips ever created, published in over 2,600 newspapers. At its peak, “Peanuts” was read by more than 355 million people in 75 countries and 21 languages.
Through the use of characters in national ad campaigns, the creation of Emmy-Award winning television specials and the development of books and merchandise, the comic strip grew into a worldwide phenomenon, resulting in Schulz’s regular appearance on Forbes magazine’s list of highest-paid entertainers in America.
Schulz drew over 17,897 “Peanuts” comic strips in his nearly 50-year career. He was awarded the highest honors by his fellow cartoonists, was recognized by U.S. and foreign governments, had NASA spacecrafts named after his characters, and inspired an Off-Broadway musical and a performance at Carnegie Hall.
Awards & Recognition:
- Emmy Award winner
- Congressional Gold Medal
- Hollywood Walk of Fame star
- Commander of Arts and Letters
- 2-time recipient of the Reuben Award for Outstanding Cartoonist of the Year
- U.S. Army Combat Infantryman Badge
Attended UCLA, played for Lakers from 1975-1989, lives in Los Angeles
At the time he retired, no NBA player had ever scored more points, blocked more shots, won more MVP Awards, or played in more All-Star Games than Kareem Abdul Jabbar.
Born Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor Jr., he played for John Wooden’s Bruins at UCLA, where he was named outstanding player in the NCAA Tournament in 1967, 1968 and 1969. First pick in the 1969 NBA draft, he was Rookie of the Year. With him at center, the Milwaukee Bucks won the championship the next year, and led the division for four straight seasons. In 1975 he joined the last-place Los Angeles Lakers, and started a turnaround that took them to the conference finals the next season. Abdul-Jabbar and Magic Johnson teamed up to make the Lakers one of the most dominant teams of the 1980s, appearing in the finals eight times and winning five championships. On April 5, 1984, with his trademark skyhook, Abdul-Jabbar scored career point 31,420, passing Wilt Chamberlain as the NBA’s all-time leading scorer. He retired in 1989 with 38,387 points, a record that has never been matched.
Abdul-Jabbar has written several books, worked as a coach and broadcaster, fought hunger and illiteracy, and served as a U.S. global cultural ambassador.
- 6-time NBA MVP and 2-time NBA Finals MVP
- 19-time NBA All-Star
Civil Rights Advocate
Moved to California in 1912, and resided in Los Angeles until her death
Charlotta Bass was a civil rights activist who in 1912 became the first African-American woman to own and operate a newspaper in the United States and who in 1952 became the first to be nominated for Vice President of the United States.
During the 1920s, Bass became co-president of the Los Angeles chapter of the Universal Negro Improvement Association. She formed the Home Protective Association to fight against housing covenants that prevented people of color from buying homes and helped found the Industrial Business Council, which fought discrimination in employment and encouraged black people to go into business.
Bass used her position as editor and publisher of the California Eagle, the oldest black newspaper on the West Coast, to fight segregation in housing and schools. She campaigned to end race-based job discrimination at the Los Angeles General Hospital, the Los Angeles Rapid Transit Company, the Southern Telephone Company and the Boulder Dam Project.
In the 1940s, the Republican Party chose Bass as western regional director for its nominee’s presidential campaign. Three years later, she became the first African-American grand jury member for the Los Angeles County Court.
As the first African-American woman to run for Vice President of the United States, Bass called for civil rights, women’s rights, an end to the Korean War and peace with the Soviet Union. Bass’s slogan during her campaign was, “Win or lose, we win by raising the issues.”
Graduated from UCLA, now lives in the Napa Valley
Francis Coppola ranks as one of the leading motion picture directors of the 20th century. After graduating from UCLA’s prestigious film program, he made his directorial debut with You’re a Big Boy Now (1966) and followed it with the musical Finian’s Rainbow (1968). Shortly after, he gained critical acclaim and won an Oscar for his original screenplay for Patton (1970). However, it was The Godfather (1972), which he directed and co-wrote, that brought him lasting fame. Consistently ranked among the world’s best films, it transformed the gangster genre of movie-making and was for a time the highest grossing picture ever made. The sequel, The Godfather Part II (1974), cemented Coppola’s position as one of Hollywood’s top directors and made him the second director to win three Academy Awards for the same film. Both films were selected for inclusion in the National Film Registry. Other acclaimed films include Apocalypse Now (1979) and The Conversation (1974).
In 1969 Coppola co-founded with George Lucas an award-winning film production studio in San Francisco, American Zoetrope, which is now owned by Coppola’s son and daughter. Today, Coppola is less involved in the film industry and instead focuses much of his time on his various business ventures including wineries, resorts, a cafe and a literary magazine.
- 14-time Oscar nominee and 5-time Oscar award winner
- 3 Writers Guild of America awards
- 4 Golden Globe awards
- 2 Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or awards
- Irving G. Thalberg Memorial Award
- Praemium Imperial, Japan’s highest arts & culture award
Fifth-generation Californian, lived in Southern California for 25 years
One of America’s leading authors since the 1960s, Didion has achieved that rare combination of critical acclaim and wide popularity. Her spare and carefully crafted prose, which explores contradictions and seeks truths beyond the accepted mythology of the state, has defined California to readers around the world. Her later essays have explored universal themes of life, love and loss.
Didion was born and raised in Sacramento. After graduating from UC Berkeley, Didion won Vogue Magazine’s prestigious Prix de Paris student writing contest and worked as an editor at the magazine for seven years. Her first book of essays, Slouching Towards Bethlehem (1968) brought her into the national spotlight. Today she is the author of five novels, nine nonfiction books, screenplays, and many articles for magazines such as the New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. Her book meditating on the death of her husband, The Year of Magical Thinking, won the 2005 National Book Award and spent over 24 weeks on the New York Times bestseller list.
- National Book Award
- National Medal of Arts and Humanities
- National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters
- Writer’s Guild of America’s Evelyn F. Burkey Award
Born in San Francisco, CA
Fred Ross, Sr. was a trailblazer for social justice. His activism began in the late 1930s, when as a manager of one of California’s migratory worker camps, he organized Dust Bowl refugees, helping them form camp councils and achieve self-governance. He was the only camp manager to challenge racial segregation.
During WWII he and his wife moved to Cleveland, where he helped Japanese Americans find jobs and housing upon their release from the internment camps. After the war, in Orange County, Ross organized parents to fight segregation in the local schools. Some of them sued the school district and won, and their case, Mendez vs. Westminster, laid the groundwork for the U.S. Supreme Court’s landmark decision in Brown vs. Board of Education.
In 1947, Ross founded the Community Service Organization, which gave a young César Chàvez his first training in organizing. In 1966, Chavez recruited Ross to become the Organizing Director for the United Farm Workers Union (UFW). There, he trained more than two thousand organizers, whose efforts helped tens of thousands of farm workers gain better wages, health care and safer working conditions.
In the late 1960s and 1970s, Ross worked in the Yaqui Indian community in Arizona, on the Robert F. Kennedy presidential campaign and with the United Farm Workers. In the 1980s, he fought for justice and peace in Central America. His influence continues to be felt today in the ongoing work of the thousands of leaders and organizers he trained.
Served on the faculty of Stanford University from 1992 – 2010
One of the world’s top climatologists, Stephen Schneider took a leading role in educating the public about the role of greenhouse gas emissions in global warming and in promoting a switch to clean energy.
In hundreds of scientific papers and books, Schneider wrote on the effects of climate change on areas as diverse as politics and wildlife. He advised the administration of every president from Richard Nixon to Barack Obama. As a member of a United Nations panel on climate change that shared the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize with former Vice President Al Gore, he helped write papers that were influential in framing the climate-change discussion.
Schneider was the founder and editor of the journal Climatic Change. He was Professor of Environmental Biology and Global Change at Stanford University, a Co-Director at the Center for Environment Science and Policy of the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies and a Senior Fellow in the Stanford Woods Institute for the Environment. He also served as Chair of the American Association for the Advancement of Science’s Section on Atmospheric and Hydrospheric Sciences.
- MacArthur Fellowship
- Elected to National Academy of Sciences
- AAAS Award for Public Understanding of Science and Technology
Has lived in California for 50 years, earned Master’s and Doctorate from UC Berkeley
Mimi Silbert is co-founder, president and CEO of the Delancey Street Foundation, a residential educational community that serves ex-felons, prostitutes, substance abusers, and others who have hit bottom. Silbert and Delancey Street have been called “pioneers of social entrepreneurship.” Headquartered in San Francisco, the foundation includes five additional locations nationwide. For 43 years, at no cost to the client or taxpayer, Delancey Street has provided residents with academic, vocational, and social skills, along with the discipline and values they need to live successfully in society. There are currently over 18,000 successful graduates.
Although Delancey Street is her primary life work, Silbert is also a recognized national expert in criminal justice. She has been appointed to the National Institute of Justice by President Carter, to the California Board of Corrections by every Governor from Governor Deukmejian through Governor Schwarzenegger, to the State Advisory Group on Juvenile Justice and Delinquency, to the Blue Ribbon Commission on Inmate Population Management by the State Legislature, to the Expert Panel on Corrections, and to the State Police Officers Standards and Training Advisory Commission.
- 11 Honorary Doctorates
- San Francisco Business Hall of Fame
- International Association of Business Communicators Leadership Award
- Numerous religious, community and governmental awards
(Born 1965 & 1953)
Young was born in Los Angeles; both Young & Iovine reside there.
Born Andre Young but better known by his stage name, Dr. Dre changed the world of music as a key figure in one of the most-revolutionary groups of all-time: N.W.A. At the heart of N.W.A was Dr. Dre’s innovative production, a dense but funky beatscape that became the foundation of a new genre of music: gangsta rap. Dr. Dre brought hip-hop into the mainstream with his first solo album, which went triple platinum and earned him a Grammy. Dre later discovered and nurtured some of the top rappers, including Snoop Dogg, Eminem, and 50 Cent, becoming the first hip-hop producer to win a Grammy for Producer of The Year.
Jimmy Iovine got his start as a studio go-fer in the 1970s, but quickly made his name as an engineer and producer. In 1990 he co-founded Interscope Records, which became the hottest label of the decade by betting on gangsta rap acts, including Dr. Dre. He was longtime chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope Records, where he guided the careers of U2 and Eminem.
In 2006, Young and Iovine teamed up to launch the immensely successful Beats Electronics, with its popular “Beats By Dr. Dre” headphone line. The company, which branched out into streaming media with Beats Music, was acquired by Apple in 2014. In 2013 Young and Iovine, neither of whom attended college, donated $70 million to the University of Southern California to establish the USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy for Arts, Techology and the Business of Innovation, a new degree program that blends business, marketing, product development, design and liberal arts. Part of the endowment includes full scholarships to help disadvantaged students.
- 6 Grammy Awards (Young)
Scientist of Transdisciplinary Complex Systems
(1904 – 1980)
Fellow at UC Santa Cruz and member of the UC Board of Regents
Gregory Bateson’s legacy of ideas resonates across many fields, including anthropology, psychology, and biology.
His first contributions were in anthropology, for which his fieldwork led to new understandings of cultural processes. Next, he helped develop cybernetics, a formal approach to the study of complex natural and artificial systems.
Moving to California in 1948, Bateson studied schizophrenia and family dynamics. He and his colleagues developed the “double bind” explanation of schizophrenia and launched the field of family therapy.
Bateson next began studying animal communication, and also began to think about looming crises in our relationship to the environment. In 1972 he took a teaching position at UC Santa Cruz, and later served on the UC Board of Regents.
- The Bateson Building in downtown Sacramento, California is named for him.
Lives in Los Angeles with his wife, Annette Bening, and their four children
A star since his first film in 1961, Warren Beatty’s longevity in movies exceeds that of any actor of his generation. Few people have taken so many responsibilities for all phases of film production as producer, director, writer, and actor, and few have shown so high a level of integrity in a body of work. Many of his films are considered classics, including Bonnie and Clyde, Shampoo, Reds, Heaven Can Wait, Dick Tracy, Bugsy, Bulworth, Splendor in the Grass, All Fall Down, McCabe and Mrs. Miller, and The Parallax View. Only Beatty and Orson Welles have been nominated for an Academy Award as an actor, a director, a writer, and a producer for the same film – a feat Beatty achieved twice. Beatty has been nominated fifteen times in these categories and eight pictures he has produced have earned 53 nominations.
Politically active since the 1960s, Beatty campaigned with Robert Kennedy in 1968. That same year he traveled the U.S. speaking in favor of gun control and against the war in Vietnam. He was a founding board member of the Center for National Policy and of The Progressive Majority, a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, and has participated in the World Economic Forum. He has addressed campaign finance reform, the increasing disparity of wealth, and universal health care.
- Academy Award, Best Director for “Reds”
- Irving G. Thalberg Award
- Kennedy Center Honors
- American Film Institute Lifetime Achievement Award
- Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association
(1907-1978 and 1912-1988)
Ray Eames was born and raised in Sacramento, CA; both Charles and Ray lived and worked in Los Angeles, CA from 1941
Among the most important American designers of the 20th century, Charles and Ray Eames made groundbreaking contributions to architecture, furniture design, industrial design and manufacturing, toys and the photographic arts.
Artist Bernice “Ray” Kaiser and architect Charles Eames merged their lives and careers in 1941. Using new materials in innovative ways, they produced influential and enduring designs. During WWII they designed and successfully proposed to the Navy the production of molded plywood splints and stretchers to better serve the wounded. After the war, they returned to their design of furniture; the resulting molded plywood chair was called “the design of the century” by Time Magazine in their Millennium Issue. In the 1950s, the Eameses continued their work in architecture and modern furniture design, and pioneered innovative technologies, such as the plastic resin and wire mesh chairs designed for Herman Miller.
Their groundbreaking Eames House is a milestone of modern architecture and National Historic Landmark. Their film Powers of Ten is on the National Film Register — and continues to be used in schools. Their exhibit Mathematica is still considered a model for science exhibits and has been on continuous display for over 50 years. Most of their furniture designs remain in production today.
- U.S. Postal Service stamps
- Royal Institute of British Architects Royal Gold Medal
Raised in Stockton, CA; has lived and worked in California ever since
One of the most famous Latinas in the Unites States, Dolores Huerta has played a major role in the American civil rights movement as a community organizer and social activist for over 50 years. She is perhaps most widely known as co-founder of the United Farm Workers (UFW).
A staunch advocate for women’s rights and reproductive freedom, Huerta is a founding board member of the Feminist Majority Foundation and serves on the board of Ms. Magazine. She is a former UC Regent and has earned nine honorary doctorates from universities throughout the country. She frequently speaks at universities and organizational forums on issues of social justice and public policy. She continues working to develop community leaders and advocating for the working poor, immigrants, women and youth as President of the Dolores Huerta Foundation.
- Presidential Medal of Freedom
- U. S. Department of Labor Hall of Honor
- Smithsonian Institution – James Smithson Award
- National Women’s Hall of Fame
- American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) Roger Baldwin Medal of Liberty Award
- The Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award
- The Ellis Island Medal of Freedom Award
- Icons of the American Civil Rights Movement Award
Born, lived and died in California
Nearly a century after his death, the man known as Ishi (meaning “man” in his native language) remains the most famous California Indian. In 1911, starving and in mourning, Ishi ventured into the town of Oroville in search of food. He became an overnight sensation, with newspaper headlines across the country trumpeting the discovery of the man they called the “last wild Indian.”
Up to that point, Ishi had spent his entire life in hiding with a few other surviving members of the Yahi People, most of whom had been wiped out in the preceding decades by disease, starvation and acts of genocide by white settlers. He would spend the rest of his years teaching the world about his culture. Given a home at the University of California’s anthropology museum, he adapted with grace to his new life, spending his days making arrowheads – which he often gave as gifts to museum visitors – or demonstrating fire-building and other Native traditions. The UC anthropologists learned much about the Yahi culture from him as he demonstrated tool-making and hunting and shared his ancestral stories and songs.
After coming into contact with tuberculosis, Ishi died in 1916. Ishi’s ashes were placed in a San Francisco-area cemetery, while his brain was separated and preserved, against his spiritual beliefs and traditions. In April 2000, Ishi’s brain, which had been sent to the Smithsonian in Washington, DC., and his remains were reunited and returned to his closest relations, members of the Redding Rancheria and Pit River tribes. His long-awaited traditional service in his homeland began the healing process for all his relations.
Played 14 seasons for the San Francisco 49ers, lives in the San Francisco Bay Area
Widely regarded as one of the greatest quarterbacks of all time, Joe Montana led the San Francisco 49ers to four Super Bowl victories. Nicknamed “Joe Cool,” Montana exhibited grace under pressure that translated to a remarkable 31 fourth quarter come-from-behind wins in his career.
Montana passed for more than 300 yards in 39 games, including seven in which he passed for over 400 yards. He won the NFL passing title in 1987 and 1989, and his six 300-yard passing performances in the post-season are an NFL record. He also holds the career playoff record for attempts, completions, touchdowns, and yards gained passing. In 1994 Montana became just the fifth quarterback to pass for more than 40,000 yards in a career.
He led his team to the playoffs eleven times, captured nine division championships and four Super Bowl victories. The only player ever to win three Super Bowl Most Valuable Player honors, Montana also holds the record for most Super Bowl pass completions.
Named All-NFL three times and All-NFC on five occasions, Montana was voted to the Pro Bowl eight times, which was then a league record for a quarterback.
- Pro Football Hall of Fame
- National Football League Most Valuable Player Award 1989 and 1990
Based in Los Angeles, California.
Sons of Jewish Polish immigrants, Warner brothers Harry (born Hirsz, 1881 – 1958), Albert (born Abraham, 1884 – 1967), Sam (born Schmuel, 1885-1927) and Jack (born Itzhak, 1892 –1978) got their start in the new business of movies by opening a theater in Pennsylvania in 1903. After a time, they moved into movie production, with Sam and Jack moving to California to capitalize on the burgeoning movie business there.
Profits from their first hit, My Four Years in Germany (1918), helped the brothers purchase a studio in Hollywood. Sam and Jack produced the pictures, while Harry and Albert handled finance and distribution in New York City. In 1923, following the studio’s successful film The Gold Diggers, Warner Brothers, Inc. was officially established. Though it had the popular German shepherd Rin Tin Tin as a star, the studio was in dire straits by 1926 when the brothers decided to gamble on sound.
In 1927, the first feature-length “talking picture,” The Jazz Singer, broke box-office records, established Warner Bros. as a major studio, and single-handedly launched the talkie revolution. In 1929 the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences recognized Warner Bros. with a special Academy Award for “revolutionizing the industry with sound.”
The studio’s successes included cartoons – the ever-popular Bugs Bunny – and unforgettable movies such as Casablanca (1942), the Dirty Harry films, and the Harry Potter series. Today the company is a leader in the entertainment industry. The company’s vast library consists of more than 6,650 feature films, 50,000 television titles and 14,000 animated titles.
Born in Montclair, New Jersey, Buzz Aldrin is a mechanical engineer, retired United States Air Force pilot and astronaut best known for his historic 1969 moonwalk on Apollo 11.
Educated at the US Military Academy at West Point, Aldrin graduated third in his class with a Bachelor of Science in Mechanical Engineering. He then joined the Air Force, where he completed 66 combat missions and earned the Distinguished Flying Cross. After completing another tour of duty in Germany, he went on to earn his Doctorate of Science in Astronautics for his thesis on Manned Orbital Rendezvous at MIT.
Selected into NASA’s third group of astronauts in 1963, was the first astronaut with a doctorate. The docking and rendezvous techniques he devised for spacecraft in Earth and lunar orbit were critical to the success of the Gemini and Apollo programs and are still in use today. He also pioneered underwater training techniques, as a substitute for zero gravity flights, to simulate spacewalking.
On the Gemini 12 orbital mission in 1966, he performed the world’s first successful spacewalk and set a new extra vehicular activity record of 5 ½ hours. On the Apollo 11 mission in 1969, Aldrin became one of the first humans to set foot on the moon and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom for the historic achievement.
Since retiring from his position as Commandant of the US Air Force Test Pilot School at Edwards Air Force Base, Aldrin has continued to pioneer advancements in space exploration. He devised a master plan for missions to Mars called the “Aldrin Mars Cycler,” a spacecraft transportation system with perpetual cycling orbits between Earth and Mars.
Currently residing in Los Angeles, Aldrin has received numerous awards for his accomplishments, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. He is also the author of 7 New York Times bestselling books, including the illustrated children’s books Reaching for the Moon andLook to the Stars and the 2009 autobiography Magnificent Desolation.
Elizabeth H. Blackburn is a leader in telomere and telomerase research. She discovered the molecular nature of telomeres – the ends of eukaryotic chromosomes that serve as protective caps essential for preserving the genetic information – and the ribonucleoprotein enzyme telomerase.
Currently Morris Herzstein Professor of Biology and Physiology in the Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at the University of California, San Francisco, Blackburn and her research team are working with various cells with the goal of understanding telomerase and telomere biology.
Blackburn earned her B.Sc. (1970) and M.Sc. (1972) degrees from the University of Melbourne in Australia, and her Ph.D. (1975) from the University of Cambridge in England. She did her postdoctoral work in Molecular and Cellular Biology from 1975 to 1977 at Yale.
In 1978, Blackburn joined the faculty at the University of California, Berkeley, in the Department of Molecular Biology. In 1990, she joined the Department of Microbiology and Immunology at UC San Francisco, where she served as Department Chair from 1993 to 1999. Blackburn is currently a faculty member in Department of Biochemistry and Biophysics at UCSF. She is also a Non-Resident Fellow of the Salk Institute.
Throughout her career, Blackburn has been honored with many prestigious awards. She was elected President of the American Society for Cell Biology (1998) and as a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences (1991), the Royal Society of London (1992), the American Academy of Microbiology (1993), and the American Association for the Advancement of Science (2000). She was elected Foreign Associate of the National Academy of Sciences in 1993, and a Member of the Institute of Medicine in 2000. In 2006, she was awarded the Albert Lasker Medical Research Award in Basic Medical Research. In 2007, she was named one of TIME magazine’s “100 Most influential People,” and she is the 2008 North American Laureate for L’Oreal-UNESCO For Women in Science. In 2009, Blackburn was awarded the Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.
Fr. Gregory Boyle was born in Los Angeles, one of eight children. Ordained a priest in 1984, he has worked in various locations in the U.S. and abroad, but is best known for his service as pastor of Dolores Mission in the Boyle Heights neighborhood of Los Angeles and for his creation of Homeboy Industries. This organization traces its roots to a program he created in 1988 to address the problems of gang-involved youth through positive alternatives, including establishing an elementary school, a day care program, and finding legitimate employment for young people.
In 1992, as a response to the civil unrest in Los Angeles, Fr. Boyle launched Homeboy Bakery to create an environment that provided training, work experience, and above all, the opportunity for rival gang members to work side by side. Its success laid the groundwork for additional businesses, prompting the creation of an independent non-profit organization, Homeboy Industries, in 2001. Today it is the largest gang intervention and re-entry program in the county, and has become a national model.
An acknowledged expert on gangs and intervention approaches, Fr. Boyle is a nationally renowned speaker. He serves on the National Gang Center Advisory Board and the Advisory Board for the Loyola Law School Center for Juvenile Law and Policy. Previously, he held an appointment to the California Commission on Juvenile Justice, Crime and Delinquency Prevention.
Fr. Boyle has received numerous accolades and recognitions on behalf of Homeboy and for his work with former gang members, including the California Peace Prize granted by the California Wellness Foundation, the Lifetime Achievement Award from MALDEF, the Civic Medal of Honor from the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce and the James Irvine Foundation’s Leadership Award.
His first book, “Tattoos on the Heart: The Power of Boundless Compassion,” was named as one of the Best Books of 2010 by Publishers Weekly.
(Formed in 1961)
The Beach Boys’ music, with its trademark harmonies and lyrics, has brought the spirit of California all around the world. Perhaps more than any other musicians, the Beach Boyshave symbolized the California Dream for over 50 years.
Formed in Hawthorne, California, the original group consisted of five young men: Wilson brothers Brian, Dennis and Carl, their cousin Mike Love and friend Al Jardine. Brian’s remarkable musical abilities, particularly his brilliance with harmonies and chord progressions, were complimented by Mike’s lyrical, conceptual, and vocal abilities. The two co-wrote the band’s first recording, “Surfin’,” which debuted the fall of 1961, and the band’s first concert was New Year’s Eve that same year. Soon “Surfin’ Safari” got the attention of Capitol Records, and its release in 1962 began the Beach Boys’ touring career.
The Beach Boys gained immediate popularity for their vocal harmonies and lyrics reflecting Southern California’s youth culture of surfing, cars and romance. At the height of their career, they challenged the Beatles in both commercial and critical appeal.
Their album Pet Sounds and their best-known single, “Good Vibrations,” frequently rank high on critics’ lists of the greatest albums and singles of all time. The group has had 36 Top 40 hits (the most by any American rock band) and 56 Hot 100 hits, including four number-one singles in the U.S. Rolling Stone listed the Beach Boys at number 12 on their 2004 list of the “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
The Beach Boys’ recognition has included the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, the Vocal Group Hall of Fame, the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award and the Hit Parade Hall of Fame.
(Born 1931 & 1928-2009)
Doris and Don Fisher had a simple idea: to make it easier to find a pair of jeans. In 1969, they revolutionized the retail industry by opening the first Gap store on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco.
The Fishers, both born in San Francisco, were long-time family friends prior to marrying in 1953. Doris graduated from Stanford University, as one of the first women to earn an Economics degree. Don was refurbishing old hotels when a “lucky” happening occurred: he leased space to a Levi’s® jeans salesman. Don bought two pair of pants from the man, and when he found that they didn’t fit, he and Doris began a search for the right size at clothing stores in San Francisco. Their futile search ended with the idea that would lead to the Gap. With no retail experience, Doris and Don opened that first Gap store, selling Levi’s jeans and records. They delivered a shopping experience that was fun and the concept caught on. Credited with inventing specialty retail, the Fishers grew their company into a major global brand with more than 3,200 stores. The company portfolio today includes Gap, Banana Republic, Old Navy, Piperlime and Athleta.
To inspire and support Gap Inc. employees and customers to invest in the communities where they work and live, the Fishers formed Gap Foundation in 1977. The Fishers used the rewards of Gap Inc. to further personal commitments to education, the arts and community.
They became champions of public school reform organizations, including Teach For America. One of their most inspirational projects is growing KIPP (Knowledge is Power Program) schools, a unique network of free, college-preparatory schools that now reaches over 32,000 low-income children.
Considered among the premiere collectors of contemporary art, the Fishers selected pieces that they could share and encourage a love of art. Their collection, with some 1,100 pieces by renowned names like Andy Warhol, Chuck Close and Roy Lichtenstein, will be permanently housed at the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Both Doris and Don demonstrated their desire to make a difference. They are known around the world for being in the business of improving lives of those they reach – through their business, civic, and nonprofit commitments.
Earvin “Magic” Johnson is an NBA superstar, entrepreneur and philanthropist.
Named the greatest point guard of all time by ESPN.com, Johnson excelled at basketball from the time he was in high school. In college, he helped Michigan State win the national championship and was chosen MVP. The Lakers selected him as the first pick in the 1979 NBA draft, and he became the first rookie to start in an All-Star game. The Lakers won the NBA championship, and Johnson became the youngest player to be playoff MVP.
During his 12 years with the Lakers, the team won five championships and he was chosen playoff MVP three times. He was a 12-time All-Star and the 1990 All-Star game MVP. He averaged 19.7 points per game, pulled down 6,376 rebounds, and had 1,698 steals. In 1990–91, he set an assist record, finishing the season with a total of 9,921. The term “triple double” (when points, rebounds, and assists reach double digits in a game) was coined largely for him. Johnson was a member of the gold-medal-winning U.S. basketball team – known as the “Dream Team” – in the 1992 Olympics.
After learning he was HIV-positive in 1991, Johnson became a powerful voice for AIDS awareness. He is Chairman and Founder of the Magic Johnson Foundation, which focuses on scholarship, transformation and community empowerment through HIV/AIDS awareness & prevention programs, Community Empowerment Centers, and the Taylor Michaels Scholarship Program. Approaching its 20th anniversary, the Magic Johnson Foundation has become one of the most recognizable philanthropic organizations in the world.
Also a successful businessman, Johnson is Chairman and CEO of Magic Johnson Enterprises. His company is noted for unprecedented partnerships in ethnically diverse and underserved communities that serve as the catalyst for redevelopment in urban communities and the blueprint for successful engagement with urban consumers.
A civil rights leader for people with disabilities, Ed Roberts is recognized as the father of the independent living movement. After contracting polio at age 14 that left him paralyzed from the neck down and dependent on a ventilator to breathe, he embarked on a path that changed the world.
Although Roberts excelled in his high school classes, the school refused to graduate him because he had not taken physical education or driver’s education classes. Roberts won that battle, as he would many more throughout his life.
Next, he decided to pursue a public policy degree at UC Berkeley. Told that education would be wasted on him, he persevered and became the first student with severe disabilities ever admitted. Before long, others joined him there, and, taking inspiration from the feminist and civil rights movements, they organized to gain better accessibility on campus and in the community. Roberts knew all too well the barriers that prevented people with disabilities from exercising their rights to be integrated into society, and dedicated his life to dismantling them. Ramps and curb cuts – the first one in the nation was at Telegraph and Bancroft – were early successes. Eventually, Roberts would help shape access regulations that became the basis of a worldwide revolution in civic architecture.
Roberts also targeted paternalistic policies that discouraged people with disabilities from controlling their own lives and segregated them in separate schools and housing. While completing his BA and MA, Roberts helped launch the Physically Disabled Students Program, America’s first student-led disability services program. He also helped create the first Center for Independent Living, which served as a model for hundreds of similar organizations nationwide.
In 1976, Governor Edmund G. Brown, Jr. appointed Roberts Director of the California Department of Vocational Rehabilitation – the same agency that had once labeled him too severely disabled to work at all. There, Roberts changed policy to provide resources to people with severe disabilities, which became federal rehabilitation policy. In 1983 he co-founded the World Institute on Disability (WID) and, using the funds from his MacArthur Foundation fellowship, began spreading the concept of independent living all over the world. He served as president of WID until his death in 1995.
Delivered with a level of passion and soul equal to the sonic charge of his guitar, the sound of Carlos Santana is one of the world’s best-known musical signatures. For over four decades, Carlos has been the visionary force behind music that transcends genres as well as cultural and geographical boundaries.
After first rising to fame during the late ’60s San Francisco Bay area music scene, Santana emerged onto the global stage with an epic set at Woodstock ’69, the same year that his self-titled debut LP came out. Featuring Santana’s first hit, “Evil Ways,” the album stayed on Billboard’s album chart for 2 years and was soon followed by two more classics – and Billboard #1s – Abraxas and Santana III.
Over the last 40 years of his career, Santana has sold more than 90 million records and reached over 100 million fans in concerts around the world. To date, he has won ten Grammy Awards, including a record-tying nine for a single project for his 1999 release Supernatural (including Album of the Year and Record of the Year for “Smooth”). In 1998, Santana was inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Rolling Stone ranked him at #15 on the list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time,” and #90 on the 2005 list of “100 Greatest Artists of All Time.”
With his latest album release in 2010, Santana joined the ranks of the Rolling Stones as the only two musical acts in chart history to score at least one Top 10 album in every decade since the 1960s. In 2009, Santana was the recipient of Billboard Latin Music Awards’ Lifetime Achievement honor, and in 1996, Billboard’s Century Award.
In 1998, Santana established The Milagro Foundation, a non-profit entity designed to support underserved children and youth through funding arts, education and health around the globe.
Born in Oakland, California, to Chinese immigrants, Amy Tan rejected her mother’s expectations that she become a doctor and concert pianist. She chose to write fiction instead. Her novels are “The Joy Luck Club,” “The Kitchen God’s Wife,” “The Hundred Secret Senses,” “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” and “Saving Fish from Drowning,” all New York Times bestsellers and recipients of various awards. She is also the author of a memoir, two children’s books, and numerous magazine articles. Her work has been translated into 35 languages.
Tan served as co-producer and co-screenwriter for the film adaptation of The Joy Luck Club. She was the creative consultant for Sagwa, an Emmy-nominated PBS children’s television series based on her book. She performed as narrator with the San Francisco Symphony and the Hollywood Bowl Orchestra. Her short story “Immortal Heart” was published in The New Yorker and performed on stages in the U.S. and France. Her essays and stories are found in hundreds of anthologies and textbooks, and they are assigned as “required reading” in many high schools and universities.
Recently, Tan wrote the libretto for “The Bonesetter’s Daughter” opera, which had its world premiere at the San Francisco Opera in September of 2008. Her other musical work for the stage is with a literary garage band, the Rock Bottom Remainders, whose members include Stephen King, Dave Barry, and Scott Turow. In spite of their dubious talent, their yearly gigs have managed to raise over a million dollars for literacy programs.
Her next novel, “The Valley of Amazement,” will be published in 2012. A lifelong California resident, Tan currently lives in Sausalito.
The son of Irish immigrants, Roger Traynor was born and raised in the mining town of Park City, Utah. From the time he was a boy, he displayed a love of learning and a commitment to his studies, so it was no surprise that his teachers encouraged him to pursue his education after graduating high school. He arrived at UC Berkeley in 1919 with savings of $500 and a fervent hope that he could earn his way through college. He did so through his studies – at the end of his freshman year, his academic record earned him a scholarship that took him to graduation with highest honors.He went on to teach at the university, while also working toward a PhD in political science and a law degree, both of which he earned in 1927.
He became a full-time member of the UC Berkeley law school faculty in 1930, where he initiated the first regular course in taxation. He earned a reputation as an inspiring teacher, and one whose students were actively pursued by law firms. During the 1930s he brought his expertise to bear in helping the Legislature draft much of the state’s modern tax code. Then, working with the State Board of Equalization, Traynor was responsible for creating the mechanisms for collecting the newly-enacted sales tax, a system that became nationally known as a model of efficiency.
In 1940, although he had no judicial experience, Governor Culbert Olson tapped him for the California Supreme Court, where he served as Associate Justice from 1940-1964 and as Chief Justice from 1964-1970. He authored over 900 decisions, many of which rank among the Court’s most innovative and influential. During his tenure, the decisions of the California Supreme Court became the most frequently cited by all other state courts in the nation.His 1948 opinion in Perez v. Sharp was the first instance of a state supreme court striking down a law prohibiting interracial marriage. In 1952 he issued an opinion that paved the way for no-fault divorce. And he is perhaps best known for creating the area of law now known as products liability.
His many awards include the American Bar Association’s highest award for jurisprudence, the Whyte School of Law Medallion, and the ACLU Earl Warren Civil Liberties Award.
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.
Born in St.
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.
1937 – 2016
“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 often worked outside the spotlight, George Pratt Shultz wielded profound influence on American public policy. He is one of only two people who have held four different federal cabinet posts; he taught at three top universities; and he was president of a major engineering and construction company.
(1940 – 2017)
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.
One of the most beloved and lasting figures in television, Betty White has attracted an ever-growing legion of fans with starring roles and guest appearances over six decades.
White was born in Illinois, but moved to California as a toddler and attended school in Beverly Hills, where she often appeared in class drama productions.
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.
Legendary entertainer Carol Burnett captured America’s heart in the movies, on television, and on the stage.
Raised in an unglamorous part of Hollywood, Burnett attended UCLA before discovering her true calling as an entertainer and moving to New York.
(1936 – 2016)
As the person most responsible for harnessing the power of the microchip, Andy Grove revolutionized the way we work and live today.
Grove came to the United States as a refugee from Soviet-occupied Hungary and earned his PhD in chemical engineering from UC Berkeley in 1963. After working for Fairchild Semiconductor, he participated in the founding of Intel Corporation in 1968, became president in 1979, and later served as CEO and chairman.
Whether serving as an attorney, a California governor, or a United States senator, Hiram Warren Johnson placed principles solidly above politics. His progressive vision of a better society became the stepping-off point for California’s journey through the 20th century.
Johnson studied law in his father’s office in Sacramento, was admitted to the bar in 1888, and moved to San Francisco in 1902. In 1908 he was appointed Assistant District Attorney, beginning his long career in public service.
From humble beginnings in the California cotton fields, Rafer Johnson rose to become one of the world’s greatest athletes.
Johnson developed a passion for track and field while in high school in Kingsburg, California. At UCLA, where he served as student body president, he played basketball under legendary coach John Wooden and was captain of the varsity track team. In 1955 he competed in the Pan American Games, winning gold in perhaps the most grueling sporting event, the decathlon.
Entrepreneur and industrialist Henry John Kaiser’s innovations in shipbuilding and in healthcare changed the course of history.
In 1913, Kaiser bought a failing road-building company, and over the next fifteen years built dams in California, levees in Mississippi, highways in Cuba and he was just getting started. In the 1930s, his company played a leading role in the construction of some of the 20th century’s most massive projects, including Hoover Dam and the Oakland-San Francisco Bay Bridge.
Joan Kroc’s giving spirit has benefited people the world over. One of the most generous philanthropists in history, Kroc gave away billions of dollars to causes she believed in, from hospice care to peace advocacy to providing children with safe places to play.
George Lucas’ devotion to timeless storytelling and cutting-edge innovation has resulted in some of the most successful and beloved films of all time.
The Modesto native’s genius was becoming evident by the time he was a student at the University of Southern California, where he created a short film that took first prize in a national competition. In 1971, with friend Francis Ford Coppola as executive producer, Lucas transformed that student project into his first feature film, THX-1138.
With one of America’s most recognized voices, John Madden has been a dominant force in professional football for more than half a century as a broadcaster, an unrivaled coach and outstanding athlete.
As a player at California Polytechnic University, Madden was twice voted to the All-Conference team in 1957 and 1958 for his outstanding performance on both the offensive and defensive lines. A knee injury in his rookie season with the Philadelphia Eagles ended his career as a player, but not his life in football.
The first openly gay person elected to a significant public office in the United States, Harvey Milk put the dream of equal rights within reach for all.
Milk encouraged lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) citizens to live their lives openly, believing that was the only way they could achieve social equality.
Wielding bold colors and abstract shapes, Fritz Scholder forever changed the way the world saw American Indians in art.
Scholder was one-quarter Luiseño, a Southern California tribe, but was raised as white, a dichotomy that later would inform the themes of his artwork. Interested in art from an early age, he moved to Sacramento in 1957 and enrolled first at Sacramento City College, where he studied under Pop artist Wayne Thiebaud, and then at Sacramento State College.
Remarkable for her success as an author and for her business savvy, Danielle Steel has written 108 books, a majority of which have earned bestseller status.
A pioneer of the modern health and fitness movement, Joe Weider brought strength, fitness and healthy living to the public’s consciousness around the globe for the last 70 years.
At age twelve, Weider purchased two used weight-lifting magazines for a penny, built a set of barbells from surplus railroad parts, and began training.
Two years later he competed in his first amateur contest and lifted more than any competitor in his weight class earning him a national ranking.
1923 – 2020
The most accomplished test pilot of all time, Chuck Yeager earned a permanent place in history when he became the first person to fly faster than the speed of sound.
His aviation career got its start when, just out of high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps to serve in WWII. Entering combat in December 1942, he shot down his first enemy plane in March 1944. The next day he was shot down over enemy territory, but with help from the French resistance, escaped to Spain.
Considered one of the most important musicians in history, Dave Brubeck fundamentally changed the way jazz is played, and helped establish California as a center of jazz in America.
Over Jane Fonda’s long and versatile career, the Oscar-winning actress has enthralled audiences in a variety of roles. She has been an inspiration for health and fitness and has tirelessly advocated for social and political change.
A pioneer of children’s literature, Theodor Seuss Geisel, known to the world as “Dr. Seuss,” charmed generations of youngsters and parents with his memorable rhymes, fanciful illustrations and unique characters while inspiring them to love reading and the English language.
Award-winning artist Robert Graham is internationally renowned for his civic monuments, public art installations and awards.
Graham’s work has been the subject of over eighty solo exhibitions and three retrospective exhibitions in the United States, Europe, Japan, and Mexico, and is included in many national and international museum collections.
An impresario in the broadest sense, Quincy Jones is a composer, record producer, artist, film producer, arranger, conductor, instrumentalist, TV producer, record company executive, television station owner, magazine founder, best-selling author, multi-media entrepreneur and humanitarian.
Often referred to as the “Godfather of Fitness,” Jack LaLanne is America’s original exercise and nutrition guru. As a television celebrity, lecturer, businessman and motivational speaker, LaLanne brought the gospel of fitness into American homes for more than fifty years.
Dorothea Lange’s photographs have etched the faces of the poor and forgotten into the American memory. Her compassionate images of disadvantaged Native Americans, displaced families of the Great Depression, and interned Japanese Americans during World War II helped develop documentary photography as we know it today.
As California’s first woman architect, Julia Morgan surmounted gender barriers at home and abroad, inspiring generations of young women to follow their dreams.
While attending UC Berkeley as one of its first female civil engineering students, Morgan became interested in architecture. On the advice of a professor, architect Bernard Maybeck, she moved to Paris to try to gain admission to the all-male Ecole des Beaux-Arts. It took two years, but her perseverance paid off, and in 1898 she became the first woman admitted to the prestigious school.
During a career that has spanned five decades and encompassed more than sixty feature films, Jack Nicholson has become both one of film’s most renowned actors and a Hollywood icon.
One of the greatest thinkers of the millennium, scientist, peace activist and educator, Linus Pauling is the only person to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes.
As governor, senator, university founder, and especially as a driving force behind the building of the transcontinental railroad, Leland Stanford helped shape California’s history for more than three decades.
Founder of the Chez Panisse restaurant in Berkeley, California, Alice Waters is considered by many to be the originator of “California Cuisine.” Her philosophy of using only fresh, locally grown organic ingredients and her advocacy of sustainable agriculture has made her one of America’s most influential chefs.
Best known for his dramatic photographs of the American West, Ansel Adams achieved a popularity that few other photographers have known. Dedicated to wilderness preservation, he succeeded in changing the way Americans perceived their natural environment.
Milton Berle (Berlinger), who became known as “Mr. Television” for his role in popularizing the new medium, had a career that was one of the longest and most varied in show business, spanning silent film, vaudeville, radio, motion pictures, and television.
Berle was born in New York City on July 12, 1908, to Moses and Sarah (Glantz) Berlinger. His father worked at a succession of jobs; his mother was a store detective who encouraged her young son in showbusiness. At age five, he won first place in a Charlie Chaplin look-alike contest.
Steve Jobs is the CEO of Apple, which he co-founded in 1976. Apple leads the industry in innovation with its award-winning desktop and notebook Mac computers, OS X operating system, and iLife and professional applications.
To many, Willie Mays is the greatest all-around baseball player in history, excelling in hitting for average, hitting for power, fielding, throwing and base running. During twenty-two seasons of major league play, the “Say Hey Kid” hit 660 home runs, putting him in fourth place for the all-time home run record.
Robert Mondavi, a global symbol of American wine and food, introduced technical improvements and marketing strategies that brought worldwide recognition to the wines of California’s Napa Valley.
Rita Moreno is one of the few performers to have won all four of the most prestigious showbusiness awards: the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy and Tony.
Born Rosa Dolores Alverio in Humacao, Puerto Rico, Moreno moved with her mother to New York when she was five years old. The following year she began dancing lessons, and at age thirteen made her Broadway debut in Skydrift.
Spotted by a talent scout, she was signed to a contract with MGM in 1949. From that point on, her career advanced steadily.
Jackie Robinson will always be remembered as the civil rights pioneer who broke baseball’s color barrier. When he stepped up to the plate for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1947, he became the first black player to play modern-day Major League Baseball.
Jonas Salk became an international hero when he developed the first successful vaccine against polio, which once crippled or killed thousands every year. Thanks to his work and that of others in the field, the disease has been nearly eradicated today.
John Steinbeck’s writing, deeply rooted in the Salinas Valley of his youth, earned him worldwide recognition. He was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1962 for “his realistic as well as imaginative writings, distinguished by a sympathetic humor and a keen social perception.”
Elizabeth Taylor enchanted audiences for over sixty years.
Born in England of American parents, Taylor relocated with her family to Los Angeles during World War II. Stunningly beautiful even as a child, she soon caught Hollywood’s attention, and in 1944 National Velvet catapulted her to stardom. She went on to star in over fifty more films. Nominated five times, she won Best Actress Academy Awards for Butterfield 8 (1960) and Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf? (1966).
One of the most influential Supreme Court Chief Justices in U.S. history, Earl Warren created fundamental and lasting changes in American society.
Born March 19, 1891, in Los Angeles, California, Warren was the son of immigrant parents. As a youth in Bakersfield, he worked summers for Southern Pacific Railroad. He later said that his progressive political and legal attitudes were the result of seeing first-hand the lives and struggles of working people.
Appearing in more than 175 films during a career that spanned a half-century, John Wayne became the personification of the Western hero and an American icon. Nearly thirty years after his death, he still consistently ranks among the most popular movie stars of all time.
Born and raised in Southern California, Woods dreamed of being the world’s best golfer from the time he was a child. Encouraged by his father, also a golfer, he revealed his talents early, swinging his way onto television with Bob Hope at age two, and making it into Golf Digest magazine at age five.
César Estrada Chávez, Senator Robert F. Kennedy noted, was “one of the heroic figures of our time.”
A true American hero, Chávez was a civil rights, Latino, farm worker, and labor leader; a religious and spiritual figure; a community servant and social entrepreneur; a crusader for nonviolent social change; and an environmentalist and consumer advocate.
A second-generation American, Chávez was born on March 31, 1927, near his family’s farm in Yuma, Arizona. At age 10, his family became migrant farm workers after losing their farm in the Great Depression.
During a 43-year Hollywood career, which spanned the development of the motion picture medium as a modern American art, Walter Elias Disney, a modern Aesop, established himself and his product as a genuine part of Americana.
When 10-year-old Amelia Mary Earhart saw her first plane at a state fair, she was not impressed. “It was a thing of rusty wire and wood and looked not at all interesting,” she said. It wasn’t until Earhart attended a stunt-flying exhibition, almost a decade later, that she became seriously interested in aviation. A pilot spotted Earhart and her friend, who were watching from an isolated clearing, and dove at them. “I am sure he said to himself, ‘Watch me make them scamper,’” she said. Earhart, who felt a mixture of fear and pleasure, stood her ground.
Clint Eastwood is the consummate filmmaker. His career spans four decades and has touched generations of moviegoers. He is one of the most prolific, versatile artists in the history of the medium, involving himself first as an actor, then as a director and producer. Eastwood’s remarkable achievements have been fueled by his enormous box-office appeal and likewise reflected in the recognition he has received. His respect within the film industry is matched only by his appreciation from the public at large. His ongoing body of work is without peer.
Raised in Toronto, Canada, Frank Gehry moved with his family to Los Angeles in 1947. Mr. Gehry received his Bachelor of Architecture degree from the University of Southern California in 1954, and he studied City Planning at the Harvard University Graduate School of Design. Mr. Gehry has built an architectural career that has spanned four decades and produced public and private buildings in America, Europe and Asia. In an article published in The New York Times in November, 1989, noted architecture critic Paul Goldberger wrote that Mr.
William Randolph Hearst, the man behind Hearst Castle, is an important figure from the twentieth century whose influence extended to publishing, politics, Hollywood, the art world and everyday American life. His power and vision allowed him to pursue one of the most ambitious architectural endeavors in American history, the result of which can be seen in magnificent grounds and structures of Hearst Castle.
Mr. Hearst was born on April 29, 1863, in San Francisco, California, as the only child of George and Phoebe Hearst.
David D. Ho, M.D. is the founding Scientific Director and Chief Executive Officer of the Aaron Diamond AIDS Research Center, a world-renowned biomedical research institute. He is also the Irene Diamond Professor at The Rockefeller University.
Dr. Ho received his degrees from California Institute of Technology (1974) and Harvard Medical School (1978).
As one of the 20th century’s most respected women, Billie Jean King has long been a champion for social change and equality. King created new inroads for women in and out of sports during her legendary career and she continues to make her mark today.
John Muir – farmer, inventor, sheepherder, naturalist, explorer, writer, and conservationist – was born on April 21, 1838 in Dunbar, Scotland. Until the age of eleven he attended the local schools of that small coastal town. In 1849, the Muir family emigrated to the United States, settling first at Fountain Lake and then moving to Hickory Hill Farm near Portage, Wisconsin.
Muir’s father was a harsh disciplinarian and worked his family from dawn to dusk.
In 1939, Dave Packard and Bill Hewlett founded Hewlett Packard, one of the century’s most admired companies. The famous “HP Way” was based on the idea that people gain satisfaction and motivation from working in an environment where they can accomplish something worthwhile and receive recognition for it.
40th President of the United States
Ronald Wilson Reagan was born February 6, 1911, in Tampico, Illinois, the son of Nelle Wilson Reagan and John Reagan. He was educated in Illinois public schools and graduated from Eureka College in 1932, with a degree in economics and sociology.
Following a brief career as a sports broadcaster and editor, President Reagan moved to California to work in motion pictures. His film career, interrupted by three years of service in the Army Air Corps during World War II, encompassed 53 feature-length motion pictures.
Born and raised in Los Angeles, California, Dr. Sally Ride is the first American woman to fly in outer space. An accomplished astronaut, physicist, professor and author, she has cumulatively spent more then 343 hours in space.
A nationally ranked tennis player, Ride joined NASA in 1978 as part of the first astronaut class to accept women. As part of her training she was the Capsule Communicator (CapCom) for the second and third Space Shuttle flights (STS-2 and STS-3) and helped develop the Space Shuttle’s robot arm.
Alice Walker won the Pulitzer Prize and the American Book Award for her third novel, The Color Purple, which was made into an internationally popular film and is now a Broadway musical. Her other best-selling novels, which have been translated into more than two dozen languages, include By the Light of My Father’s Smile, Possessing the Secret of Joy, and The Temple of My Familiar. Her most recent fiction work, Now is the Time to Open Your Heart was published in 2004.