From politicians to authors, from activists to those who dared to travel beyond their wildest dreams, the inaugural class of the California Museum’s Hall of Fame includes influential state natives who have the shaped and lives and minds of its residents.
Alice Walker (1944) – Pulitzer Prize winning author of “The Color Purple,” which has been adapted to film and a Broadway musical. Born: Eatonton, Georgia on February 9.
Amelia Earhart (1924-1937) – Aviator who disappeared while attempting to fly around the world in 1937. Born: Atchinson, Arkansas on July 24. Died: July 2 as she flew approaching Howland Island in the Pacific Ocean.
Billie Jean King (1943) – Tennis player who has won many Wimbledon, Australian Open, French Open and US Open titles in singles, doubles and mixed doubles. Born: November 22 and grew up in Long Beach, Calif.
Cesar Chavez (1927-1993) - Civil rights and labor activist who fought for the rights of union labor farm workers in California. Born: Yuma, Arizona on March 31. Died: San Luis, Arizona on April 23.
Clint Eastwood (1930) – Award-wining actor, director and producer who is probably best known for his line “make my day” from his Dirty Harry films. Born: San Francisco, Calif. on May 31.
David Ho, M.D. – A doctor who has dedicated 24 years toward AIDS research that led to antiretroviral therapies that reduced AIDS-related deaths.
Frank Gehry (1929) – A much lauded and influential architect whose visionary works include the Guggenheim Museum in Spain and the Walt Disney Concert Hall in Los Angeles, Calif. Born: Toronto, Ontario, Canada on February 28.
Hearst Family – Members of the Hearst family honored were George, Phoebe and William Randolph. George was a miner and rancher who owned large parcels of land in the West. He eventually became a senator and acquired the San Francisco Examiner newspaper. George married Phoebe Apperson in 1862. Phoebe dedicated her life to education and philanthropy, including a generous endowment to University of California at Berkeley. She eventually spearheaded the building of Hearst Castle. William Randolph was the only child of George and Phoebe. William convinced his father to relinquish control of the San Francisco Examiner to him. After doing so, William purchased several newspapers thereafter. George (1820-1891) Born: Franklin County, Missouri. Died: Washington, D.C. Phoebe (1842-1919) Born: Franklin County, Missouri. Died: Pleasanton, Calif. on April 13. William (1863-1951) Born: San Francisco, Calif. on April 29. Died: August 14. George, Phoebe and William are buried in Cypress Lawn Cemetery, Colma, Calif.
John Muir (1838-1914) – Conservationist, naturalist, explorer and writer who wrote about his adventures in the Sierra Nevada as well as his life in the Yosemite Valley, and founded the Sierra Club. Born: Dunbar, Scotland on April 21. Died: December 24.
Packard Family – David Packard co-founded Hewlett Packard and with his wife, Lucile, founded the Lucile Salter Packard Children’s Hospital at Stanford, The David and Lucile Packard Foundation, and The Monterey Bay Aquarium. David (1912-1996) Born Pueblo, Colorado on September 7. Died: March 26. Lucile Salter (1914-1987)
Ronald Reagan (1911-2004) - The Hollywood actor was elected as the 40th president of the United States, who also held the governorship of California for two terms. Born: Tampico, Illinois on February 6. Died: June 5.
Sally Ride, Ph.D. (1951) – Astronaut who in 1983 became the first women in space. In 1987, Ride left NASA to become a writer, among her work is children’s books about science. Born: Los Angeles, Calif. on May 26.
Walt Disney (1901-1966) – The father of innovative techniques used in motion pictures and co-founded The Walt Disney Company. He is the creator of Mickey Mouse, Disneyland and Walt Disney World. Born: Chicago, Illinois on December 5. Died: Burbank, Calif., on December 15.