Photo by Eva Rinaldi – Wikimedia

Top 10 Famous People from California


California is the 2nd largest state in the United States. IT comes in a shy second after New York.

This vast state shares its borders with Oregon, Arizona and Nevada. Los Angeles is home to Hollywood, the world’s biggest film industry.

There are several attractions in this state that are not only entertainment-based. Many tourists go to Disneyland, Universal Studios, Griffith Park as well as Getty Centre.

California, home to the Silicon Valley, has attracted several budding actors and actresses, technology innovators and entrepreneurs, entertainers and several other talents.

One of the famous persons is Arnold Schwarzenegger who was not only an actor but also an elected governor of California.

From celebrities, politicians, innovators to entertainers, the list of famous people from California is endless.

Below is a list of the top 10 famous people from California.

1. Dwayne Johnson (the Rock) – Wrestler/Actor

If you are like me you would remember him from his days as a wrestler in WWE, his catchphrase was you smell what the Rock is cooking?

After he left the wrestling ring, Dwayne got into acting where he has flourished. He has lent his voice in Moana, he acted in the franchise Fast and Furious, Ballers among many others.

The Rock has also featured in his autobiographical sitcom Young Rock (2021). He is also a published author to a New York Times Bestseller, The Rock says.

One thing about Dwayne Johnson is that he has an incredible work ethic. He follows a strict routine daily, something he attributes to his father.

2. Bruce Lee – Martial Artist

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Bruce Lee, whose birth name was Lee Jun-fan, was a Hong Kong and American martial artist, martial arts instructor, actor, director and philosopher.

Lee was the founder of Jeet Kune Do which is a hybrid martial arts philosophy. It is a combination of different combat disciplines that paved the way for modern mixed martial arts.

He played different roles in several Kung Fu films that especially when he was still based in Hong Kong. Bruce was featured in five feature-length films back in the 70s.

After his films hit the world, he became world-famous for his smooth and fast moves. Unfortunately, his life was cut short in 1973. He was only 32.  

3. Tom Brady – Football Quarterback

Thomas Edward Patrick Brady Jr. is a football quarterback for the Tampa Bay Buccaneers of the National Football League.

Brady spent his first 20 seasons with the New England Patriots. He was a central contributor to the franchise’s dynasty from 2001 to 2019. This was after he played college football at Michigan.

His skill and talent earned him a place in the NFL’s draft steal. As an athlete, he has excelled in passing yards, completions, touchdown passes, and games started.

What is admirable about this Californian athlete is that he has never lost a season. Additionally, he is the only quarterback to have won a Super Bowl in 3 different decades.

4. Tom Hanks – Actor

Photo by John Bauld – Wikimedia

Tom Hanks was born in the San Francisco suburb of Concord in 1956. While in college Cal State Sacramento, Hanks enrolled in the theatre program where he seriously pursued acting.

He started his career as a comic that brought him fame especially his role in the sitcom Bosom Buddies.

Later on, he transitioned to more serious roles like Forrest Gump, Philadelphia, Cast Away and Apollo 13. He won several awards for these films.

His unquestionable talent on-screen has earned him two Academy Awards out of six nominations.

Other honorary awards that Tom Hanks has received include a Kennedy Centre Honour (2014) and a Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama (2016).

5. Dre – Businessman

His official name is Andre Romelle Young but is known professionally as Dr Dre. He is popularly known for his earphones and Bluetooth speakers, Beatz by Dr Dre.

Dr Dre is an American rapper, record producer, and entrepreneur. He is also the founder and CEO of Aftermath Entertainment and Beats Electronics.

Dre began his career in 1985 as part of a rap group known as World Class Wreckin’ Cru. His big break to fame came after he joined the gangsta rap group NWA.

They popularized hip hop and mostly highlighted violence experienced in street life.

In the early 90s, Dre was a key figure that made West Coast G-funk more popular by producing slow and heavy beats for this hip hop sub-genre.

It was in 2008 that he released his first brand of headphones, Beats by Dr Dre. He has also been featured in several TV commercials.    

6. Courtney Love – singer-songwriter

Photo by Liguz, Andrzej – Wikimedia

Courtney Michelle Love is a singer, songwriter, and actress. She was a famous figure in the alternative and grunge scenes of the 1990s. She had a great career in music for over four decades.

In 1989, Courtney formed Hole, an alternative rock band in which she was the lead vocalist. It was through this band that she became popular.

Other than music, she is an actor and has appeared in supporting roles in films and TV series like Sid and Nancy as well as Straight to Hell.   

Her career was marred with love scandals, drug relapses and rehabilitation.

7. Natalie Wood – Actress

Natalie is most famous for her role as Maria, in the movie version of West Side Story. She was born in San Francisco to Russian immigrant parents.

Her career in film started in the 1970s. it was noted that her charming beauty and scored several roles in television productions.

It was in Hollywood that she met her husband, a fellow actor, Robert Wagner.

Natalie’s role in the show from Here to Eternity (1979) won her a Golden Globe Award. She portrayed modern American womanhood in most of her roles. 

Unfortunately, Natalie died in a tragic boating accident at the age of 43.

8. Kristi Yamaguchi – Figure Skater

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Kristine Tsuya Yamaguchi is a former figure skater. She was a two-time champion in the 1992 Olympics in the ladies’ singles.

Yamaguchi was the first Asian-American woman to win a gold medal in a Winter Olympic competition.

During the 1988 World Junior championship, she won as a pair with Rudy Galindo. Kristine is also a two-time national skating champion in which she won consecutively in 1989 and 1990.

She was inducted into the USA Olympic Hall of Fame in 2005. In 2008, Yamaguchi was the celebrity champ in the 6th season of Dancing with the stars.

Furthermore, Yamaguchi is an entrepreneur who created a woman’s activewear in 2012. A philanthropist at heart, she donates part of the profit to support early childhood literacy.

9. Ronda Rousey – Professional Wrestler

Ronda Jean Rousey is a professional wrestler, actress, former judoka and former mixed martial artist. She is best known for her time in the UFC and the WWE.

Rousey is fondly known for her longstanding nickname, Rowdy, which she inherited from late professional wrestler Roddy Piper.

Rowdy began her wrestling career in 2018 after signing a contract with WWE. Her first appearance was that the 2018 Royal Rumble. 

At 34, Ronda made her debut in Wrestlemania subsequently, she won her first WWE and professional wrestling title, at SummerSlam.

She is the only woman to win a championship in both the UFC and WWE.

10. Kim Kardashian – Socialite & Businesswoman

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Kim Kardashian is one of the most highly paid reality TV stars, with an estimated net worth of 40 million dollars.

Kim gained media attention with an infamous sex tape that was released just before the beginning of her family reality TV series, Keeping Up with the Kardashians. She featured in the reality show with her siblings.

AS an entrepreneur, Kim manages a series of retail and fashion businesses. She partnered with her sisters to launch several clothing lines, makeup and intimate wear.

She passed her first-year bar exam in 2021.