13 join the California Hall of Fame

Tuesday evening, Governor Schwarzenegger and first lady Maria Shriver inducted 13 Californians into the state’s Hall of Fame. This year’s inductees run the gamut from athletes to business moguls to political activists.

This year’s inductees include the famous, like TV star Carol Burnett and filmmaker George Lucas – the heroic, like test pilot Chuck Yeager – and the ingenious, like former Intel CEO Andy Grove and bodybuilding pioneer Joe Weider.

The California Museum nominates individuals for the award and hosts the California Hall of Fame induction ceremony.

The Museum’s spokeswoman Ashley Robinson explains, “We look for someone has broken barriers and has really moved beyond themselves to create an achievement that has been unsurpassed in other fields.”

Some examples of that: Olympic decathlete Rafer Johnson, who also founded California’s Special Olympics, football star John Madden and author Danielle Steel. Among the famous is a name you might not know: the late Fritz Scholder. Robinson said the painter was chosen because he transformed the depiction of Native Americans.

“You won’t see a lot of pastel ponies and flying tomahawks” Robinson says. “What you’ll see is a very modern, abstract, in-depth look at the culture and the people of Native Americans.”

Posthumous honors go to several distinguished Californians. They include former Governor Hiram Johnson, who gave California the ballot initiative a hundred years ago; Henry J. Kaiser, the industrialist who created the nation’s largest HMO; McDonald’s heiress Joan Kroc, who bequeathed $200 million to National Public Radio, the largest gift ever to a cultural institution; and San Francisco Supervisor Harvey Milk, who championed gay rights. In 1977 Milk passed California’s first ordinance barring discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

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