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Notable contributions to popular culture, for example in entertainment and sports, have their origins in California. The state also has made noteworthy contributions in the fields of communication, information, innovation, environmentalism, economics, and politics. It is the home of Hollywood, the oldest and one of the largest film industries in the world, which has had a profound influence upon global entertainment. It is considered the origin of the hippie counterculture, beach and car culture, and the personal computer, among other innovations. The San Francisco Bay Area and the Greater Los Angeles Area are widely seen as the centers of the global technology and film industries, respectively. California's economy is very diverse: 58% of it is based on finance, government, real estate services, technology, and professional, scientific, and technical business services. Although it accounts for only 1.5% of the state's economy, California's agriculture industry has the highest output of any U.S. state. California's ports and harbors handle about a third of all U.S. imports, most originating in Pacific Rim international trade. (Full article...)
Image 20Map of the route, Juan Bautista de Anza travelled in 1775-76 from Mexico to today's San Francisco via the Gila River corridor and the Yuma Crossing of the Colorado River. (from History of California)
Nixon was born into a poor family of Quakers in a small town in Southern California. He graduated from Duke Law School in 1937, practiced law in California, then moved with his wife Pat to Washington in 1942 to work for the federal government. After active duty in the Naval Reserve during World War II, he was elected to the House of Representatives in 1946. His work on the Alger Hiss Case established his reputation as a leading anti-Communist, which elevated him to national prominence, and in 1950, he was elected to the Senate. Nixon was the running mate of Dwight D. Eisenhower, the Republican Party's presidential nominee in the 1952 election, and served for eight years as the vice president. He ran for president in 1960, narrowly lost to John F. Kennedy, then failed again in a 1962 race for governor of California, after which time it was widely believed that his political career was over. However, in 1968, he made another run for the presidency and was elected, narrowly defeating Hubert Humphrey and George Wallace in a close contest. (Full article...)
Dr. Dre in 2011
Andre Romelle Young (born February 18, 1965), known professionally as Dr. Dre, is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur.
Harvey Bernard Milk (May 22, 1930 - November 27, 1978) was an American politician and the first openly gay man to be elected to public office in California, as a member of the San Francisco Board of Supervisors. Milk was born and raised in New York where he acknowledged his homosexuality as an adolescent, but chose to pursue sexual relationships with secrecy and discretion well into his adult years. His experience in the counterculture of the 1960s caused him to shed many of his conservative views about individual freedom and the expression of sexuality.
Milk moved to San Francisco in 1972 and opened a camera store. Although he had been restless, holding an assortment of jobs and moving house frequently, he settled in The Castro, a neighborhood that was experiencing a mass immigration of gay men and lesbians. He was compelled to run for city supervisor in 1973, though he encountered resistance from the existing gay political establishment. His campaign was compared to theater; he was brash, outspoken, animated, and outrageous, earning media attention and votes, although not enough to be elected. He campaigned again in the next two supervisor elections, dubbing himself the "Mayor of Castro Street". Voters responded enough to warrant his running for the California State Assembly as well. Taking advantage of his growing popularity, he led the gay political movement in fierce battles against anti-gay initiatives. Milk was elected city supervisor in 1977 after San Francisco reorganized its election procedures to choose representatives from neighborhoods rather than through city-wide ballots. (Full article...)
In 1995, Tupac Shakur began a prison sentence of up to four and a half years. Knight struck a deal with Shakur that October, paying his bail and freeing him from prison pending an appeal of his conviction, while signing him to Death Row Records. In 1996, the label released Shakur's greatest commercial success, All Eyez on Me. That September, after departing a Mike Tyson boxing match in Las Vegas, a group that included Knight and Shakur assaulted Orlando Anderson, a Southside Compton Crips gang member. Three hours later, someone shot into the car that Knight was driving and fatally wounded Shakur. (Full article...)
Roy Edward DisneyKCSG (January 10, 1930 - December 16, 2009) was an American businessman. He was the longtime senior executive for the Walt Disney Company, which was founded by his father, Roy O. Disney, and his uncle, Walt Disney. At the time of his death, he held more than 16 million shares (about 1% of the company), and served as a consultant for the company, as director emeritus for the board of directors. During his tenure, he organized the ousting of two top Disney executives: Ron W. Miller in 1984 and Michael Eisner in 2005.
As the last member of the Disney family to be actively involved in the company, Disney was often compared to his uncle and to his father. In 2006, Forbes magazine estimated his personal fortune at $1.2 billion. (Full article...)
Wong Liu-tsong (January 3, 1905 - February 3, 1961), known professionally as Anna May Wong, was an American actress, considered the first Chinese AmericanHollywood movie star, as well as the first Chinese-American actress to gain international recognition. Her varied career spanned silent film, sound film, television, stage, and radio. As one of the first women depicted on the reverse of the quarter in the 2022-2025 American Women quarters series, she is also the first Asian American to appear on US currency.
Born in Los Angeles to second-generation Taishanese Chinese-American parents, Wong became infatuated with films and began acting in films at an early age. During the silent film era, she acted in The Toll of the Sea (1922), one of the first films made in color, and in Douglas Fairbanks' The Thief of Bagdad (1924). Wong became a fashion icon and had achieved international stardom in 1924. Wong had been one of the first to embrace the flapper look. In 1934, the Mayfair Mannequin Society of New York voted her the "world's best dressed woman." In the 1920s and 1930s, Wong was acclaimed as one of the top fashion icons. (Full article...)
Manson in 1968
Charles Milles Manson (néMaddox; November 12, 1934 – November 19, 2017) was an American criminal and musician who led the Manson Family, a cult based in California, in the late 1960s. Some of the members committed a series of nine murders at four locations in July and August 1969. In 1971, Manson was convicted of first-degree murder and conspiracy to commit murder for the deaths of seven people, including the film actress Sharon Tate. The prosecution contended that, while Manson never directly ordered the murders, his ideology constituted an overt act of conspiracy.
Before the murders, Manson had spent more than half of his life in correctional institutions. While gathering his cult following, Manson was a singer-songwriter on the fringe of the Los Angeles music industry, chiefly through a chance association with Dennis Wilson of the Beach Boys, who introduced Manson to record producer Terry Melcher. In 1968, the Beach Boys recorded Manson's song "Cease to Exist", renamed "Never Learn Not to Love" as a single B-side, but without a credit to Manson. Afterward, Manson attempted to secure a record contract through Melcher, but was unsuccessful. (Full article...)
Pauling in 1962
Linus Carl Pauling (; February 28, 1901 – August 19, 1994) was an American chemist, biochemist, chemical engineer, peace activist, author, and educator. He published more than 1,200 papers and books, of which about 850 dealt with scientific topics. New Scientist called him one of the 20 greatest scientists of all time, and as of 2000, he was rated the 16th most important scientist in history. For his scientific work, Pauling was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry in 1954. For his peace activism, he was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1962. He is one of four people to have won more than one Nobel Prize (the others being Marie Curie, John Bardeen and Frederick Sanger). Of these, he is the only person to have been awarded two unshared Nobel Prizes, and one of two people to be awarded Nobel Prizes in different fields, the other being Marie Curie.
James Robert Baker (October 18, 1947 - November 5, 1997) was an American author of sharply satirical, predominantly gay-themed transgressional fiction. A native Californian, his work is set almost entirely in Southern California. After graduating from UCLA, he began his career as a screenwriter, but became disillusioned and started writing novels instead. Though he garnered fame for his books Fuel-Injected Dreams and Boy Wonder, after the controversy surrounding publication of his novel, Tim and Pete, he faced increasing difficulty having his work published. According to his life partner, this was a contributing factor in his suicide.
Baker's work has achieved cult status in the years since his death, and two additional novels have been posthumously published. First-edition copies of his earlier works have become collector's items. His novel Testosterone was adapted to a film of the same name, though it was not a financial success. Two other books have been optioned for films, but they have not been produced. (Full article...)
Born in Ely, Nevada, she grew up with her two brothers in what is now Cerritos, California, graduating from Excelsior Union High School in Norwalk, California in 1929. She attended Fullerton Junior College and later the University of Southern California. She paid for her schooling by working multiple jobs, including pharmacy manager, typist, radiographer, and retail clerk. In 1940, she married lawyer Richard Nixon and they had two daughters, Tricia and Julie. Dubbed the "Nixon team", Richard and Pat Nixon campaigned together in his successful congressional campaigns of 1946 and 1948. Richard Nixon was elected vice president in 1952 alongside General Dwight D. Eisenhower, whereupon Pat became Second Lady. Pat Nixon did much to add substance to the role of the vice president's wife, insisting on visiting schools, orphanages, hospitals, and village markets as she undertook many missions of goodwill across the world. (Full article...)