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
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
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
Attended UCLA, played for Lakers from 1975-1989, lives in Los
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
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.
Moved to California in 1912, and resided in Los Angeles until her
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
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
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
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
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 TowardsBethlehem (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
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
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
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.
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
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
Numerous religious, community and governmental awards
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
The Eugene V. Debs Foundation Outstanding American Award
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
As the person most responsible for harnessing the power of the
microchip, Andy Grove revolutionized the way we work and
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
As the wife of McDonald’s Corporation founder Ray Kroc, she had
the means to support all her favorite charities. The couple moved
to San Diego from Chicago in 1976 after purchasing the San Diego
Padres baseball team, and Kroc quickly embraced her new hometown,
becoming involved in various local causes.
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
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
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.
Raised in Paris and New York, Steel began writing short stories
and poetry as a child and had completed her first manuscript by
the time she was nineteen. After moving to San Francisco she took
up writing full time, and published her first book, Going Home,
in 1973. Since that debut, she has continued to turn out novels
whose mix of intrigue, suspense, and romance appeal to readers
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.
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
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
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
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.
Rita Moreno is one of the few performers to have won all four of
the most prestigious showbusiness awards: the Oscar, Emmy, Grammy
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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.