The 2008 California Hall of Fame Represents the Golden State's Creative Spirit
Those honored by The California Museum on December 15 include musicians, actors, writers, designers and other artists
The California Museum's California Hall of Fame -- now in its third year -- honors the leaders, trailblazers, and legends that have made their marks on the Golden State. For 2008, eight of the 12 to be honored on Monday, December 15, made their mark in the creative industries: Dave Brubeck and Quincy Jones in music, Jack Nicholson and Jane Fonda in film, Dorothea Lange in photography, Theodor "Dr. Seuss" Geisel in children's books, Robert Graham in sculpture and visual arts, and Julia Morgan in architecture.
The other four 2008 inductees are fitness guru Jack LaLanne, scientist Linus Pauling, governor and university founder Leland Stanford, and chef and restaurateur Alice Waters. Even these notable Californians had the arts and creative industries affect their lives, from LaLanne's television programs to Water's eight books.
Conceived by First Lady Maria Shriver, the California Museum's California Hall of Fame was established in 2006 to honor legendary people who embody California's innovative spirit and have made their mark on history. The California Hall of Fame is a landmark destination featured in The California Museum, which serves to inspire visitors by exhibiting the diverse, creative and extraordinary stories of trailblazers, leaders and legends who have called California home.
Below are some brief descriptions of The California Museum's California Hall of Fame inductees for 2008 (in alphabetical order). For full details, follow the links to the biographies on the California Museum's website.
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. Brubeck's quartet was the most popular jazz band in the world during the late 1950s and early 1960s, and their tune "Take Five" is the best selling jazz single ever. He created new approaches that incorporated musical techniques from around the world, such as the use of unusual time signatures instead of the traditional 4/4 time. He has served as a cultural ambassador for the U.S. internationally, and he graciously allowed the California Arts Council to use his composition "Blue Rondo a la Turk" for its 2005 "Take Part" public-service announcement.
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. Daughter of actor Henry Fonda, Jane Fonda first appeared on Broadway in There Was a Little Girl (1960), earning a Tony nomination. Films include Barefoot in the Park (1967), The China Syndrome (1979), On Golden Pond (1981) and 9 to 5 (1980). She has won two Oscars, one for Klute (1971), and the other for Coming Home (1978).
THEODOR GEISEL (aka DR. SEUSS)
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. By the time he put down his pen, he had written and illustrated 44 books, including such classics as Green Eggs and Ham, How the Grinch Stole Christmas, and Horton Hatches the Egg. His The Cat in the Hat is a landmark in the evolution of children's literature. Challenged to write a primer using a vocabulary of only 225 words, Dr. Seuss created a captivating tale that became the prototype of the best-selling Beginner Books series. He died in 1991, but continues to be the world's best-selling children's book author.
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. His civic monuments include the 1984 "Olympic Gateway" in Los Angeles; the Franklin Delano Roosevelt Memorial in Washington, D.C.; the Duke Ellington Memorial in New York City; and many others. Public installations of his sculptures are on view at numerous locations in Los Angeles, as well as in San Francisco, San Jose, and Seattle.
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. He has written scores for 33 major motion pictures and theme music for several popular television shows. The all-time most nominated Grammy artist (79 nominations and 27 awards), Jones also has received an Emmy Award, seven Oscar nominations, and the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award. France awarded him its highest honor, the Legion de Honneur, in 2001 he was inducted as a Kennedy Center Honoree, and the National Endowment for the Arts recognized him as a Jazz Master. Jones actively supports African American music and culture; he helped form the Institute for Black American Music and is one of the founders of the annual Black Arts Festival in Chicago.
Often referred to as the "Godfather of Fitness," Jack LaLanne is America's original exercise and nutrition guru. Born in San Francisco, he opened his first fitness studio in the Bay Area. After The Jack LaLanne Show premiered on a local San Francisco television station in 1951, LaLanne became a household name. It was eventually broadcast nationwide by ABC and became television's longest running exercise program, airing weekly for 34 years. He also has published more than a dozen books and booklets on fitness and diet, produced numerous videos, and appeared in films.
Dorothea Lange's photographs have etched the faces of the poor and forgotten into the American memory. In 1918 she moved to California from her native New Jersey and opened her own portrait studio in San Francisco. In 1933, Lange and her husband, Paul Taylor, documented the grim exodus of farm families escaping the dust bowl, and her powerful images persuaded many of the need for government programs to aid the dispossessed. In the 1940s, her camera captured the work of women and minority workers in wartime industries, the founding of the U.N. in San Francisco and the internment of Japanese Americans. In the 1950s and 60s, she photographed the post-war industrial scene in the Bay Area and did photo essays on Ireland, Asia, and Egypt. In 1952, with Ansel Adams and others, she co-founded the Aperture Foundation, a non-profit organization devoted to fine art photography.
As California's first woman architect, Julia Morgan surmounted gender barriers at home and abroad, inspiring generations of young women to follow their dreams. She gained admission to the all-male Ecole des Beaux-Arts in 1898 as the first woman admitted. She returned to California, and the 1906 San Francisco earthquake and fire provided Morgan with ample job opportunities, notably the rebuilding of the Fairmont Hotel, a huge undertaking that she accomplished in just one year. In a field dominated by men, Morgan succeeded in becoming the one of the most prolific architects in American history, designing more than 700 buildings over her 47-year career. Today, thousands of tourists visit her buildings such as "Hearst Castle" (William Randolph Hearst's home in San Simeon, now part of California State Parks), the Riverside Art Museum, and the Asilomar Conference Center.
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.
He was nominated for Oscars for 12 films, including Easy Rider (1969), his first Oscar nomination, and About Schmidt (2002), his most recent. He has won the Academy Award three times, for One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975), As Good As It Gets (1997), and Terms of Endearment (1983). Other acclaimed films include Prizzi's Honor (1985), and Chinatown (1974). He has also been honored with the Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute and the Cecil B. DeMille Award from the Hollywood Foreign Press Association, and has also worked as a film writer, director and producer.
Linus Pauling, a Caltech student and professor, revolutionized scientists' understanding of how atoms join to form molecules, and his 1939 text, The Nature of the Chemical Bond, remains one of the most influential chemistry texts ever published. In 1954 he was awarded the Nobel Prize in Chemistry. His broad interests led to significant contributions in many fields: quantum mechanics, inorganic chemistry, organic chemistry, protein structure, molecular biology, and medicine. His research in protein structure paved the way for the discovery of the double helix structure of DNA, and he was among the first to identify sickle cell anemia as a molecular disease. Pauling began protesting atomic weapons at the end of WWII, and lectured on the dangers of radioactive fallout from above-ground testing. His dedication to stopping nuclear testing and warfare in general earned him the 1962 Nobel Peace Prize -- making him the only person to have won two unshared Nobel Prizes.
Stanford became California's first Republican governor in 1862. During his two-year term in office, he worked to keep California in the Union, oversaw the state's considerable economic contribution to Union victory in the Civil War, and used his political influence to secure massive state funding and land grants for a transcontinental railroad. After his term as Governor ended, Stanford became president of the Central Pacific Railroad and drove the famous "Golden Spike" at Promontory Point, Utah, linking the east and west coasts of North America by rail and forever changing cross-country travel and commerce. As a memorial to their son, who died as a teenager, Stanford and his wife, Jane, founded and endowed Leland Stanford Junior University in Palo Alto in 1885. Today, it is one of the foremost universities in the world. Stanford was appointed to the U.S. Senate in 1885 and served until his death in 1893.
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. Opened in 1971, Chez Panisse continues to rank among the best in the world, and Waters is the author of eight books. In 1996, she created the Chez Panisse Foundation to help underwrite educational programs such as the Edible Schoolyard, a program she founded that involves students in growing, harvesting, and preparing healthful food -- the base for the School Lunch Initiative, a program seeking to include a nutritious daily lunch and gardening experience into the curriculum of all public schools.
Know of a remarkable Californian? Nominate him or her to The California Museum's California Hall of Fame. The Museum accepts public nominations through its website nomination form.