California here I come, right back where I started from – or so the song goes. Your history matters, where your story began and where it ends. For many celebrities, politicians and musicians, they include the northern part of the Golden State in their life story. There are even more who were born here and found their way back. Still, you may be incredibly surprised to see just who calls this gorgeous part of California home.
1. Tom Hanks
Actor Thomas Jeffrey Hanks was born on July 9, 1956, in Concord, California and his family settled not long after in Oakland, California where he attended high school. His junior college years he attended Chabot College in Hayward, later transferring to Cal State Sacramento where he began to seriously pursue acting and enrolled in the theater program there.
2. Willie Mays
Willie Howard Mays, Jr. (born May 6, 1931), nicknamed "The Say Hey Kid", is an American former Major League Baseball (MLB) center fielder who spent almost all of his 22 season career playing for the New York and San Francisco Giants and finishing his career with the New York Mets. He may have been born in Alabama, but after bringing The Giants to the forefront of baseball with numerous wins and records--we consider him a hometown boy!
3. Tom Brady
Tom Brady may be the quarterback for the New England Patriots, but he got his start in Northern California. Born in San Mateo, he attended high school there before going to the University of Michigan.
4. Clint Eastwood
Born in San Francisco, Clint Eastwood now lives in the Carmel area of Monterey County. He's a Northern California boy all the way!
5. O.J. Simpson
Even a great place like Northern California has a few bad apples. O.J. Simpson was born in San Francisco and is a cautionary tale for anyone who thinks their celebrity or pocketbook divorces them from the law.
6. Bugs Bunny
Mel Blanc is the father of the Looney Tunes and creator of Bugs Bunny and a whole lot of other favorites of ours. He was born in San Francisco in 1908, just two years after the big earthquake.
7. Joe Dimaggio
Joe Dimaggio is a native northern Californian. While the Yankees claim them as theirs, we know where he left his heart.
8. Ben Affleck
Ben was born in Berkeley, California. Northern California is where he learned to walk and talk. At two years old his family moved to Boston.
9. Molly Ringwald
A high school graduate of Roseville High School, the Sacramento valley is where Molly Ringwald truly lived out her teenage years.
10. Nicholas Sparks
Romantic novelist, Nicholas Sparks may not have been born on NORCAL soil, but called the Sacramento area home when he was six years old. His family settled in the city of Fair Oaks. He graduated valedictorian from his high school and later settled in Sacramento after marrying his wife. His first novel was written here before he picked up and moved to South Carolina. So, we consider him Northern California family.
11. George Lucas
George Lucas, legendary movie maker and creator of Star Wars was born in San Francisco. His "Skywalker Ranch" is a movie ranch and workplace located in a secluded, yet open area near Nicasio, California, in Marin County. He's kind of a big deal.
12. Bruce Lee
Bruce Lee was born on November 27, 1940, at the Chinese Hospital in San Francisco's Chinatown. According to the Chinese zodiac, Lee was born in both the hour and the year of the Dragon, which according to tradition is a strong and fortuitous omen. Still, it seems to have missed his suspicious death.
13. Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson
Johnson was born in Hayward, California, the son of professional wrestler Rocky Johnson . Later, the family moved to Hawaii. He may not have been here long, but we'll definitely take him.
14. Steve Jobs
The creator of all things "Apple," Steve Jobs will always be known as a Northern Californian.
15. Jerry Brown
Jerry Brown was the son of California governor Pat Brown. Before throwing his own hat into the political ring, governor "Moonbeam" was originally looking at joining the priesthood.
16. Liev Schrieber
Would you believe Wolverine's brother was born in Northern California? Yep, Liev Schreiber was born in San Francisco before moving to Canada with his parents, then to New York.
17. Natalie Wood
Born in San Francisco in 1938, actress Natalie Wood starred in the films Rebel Without a Cause with James Dean and in West Side Story as Maria. She drowned during a boating trip in 1981.
18. Justice Anthony Kennedy
A born and bred gentleman from Sacramento. He graduated high school from Sacramento and went on to attend Stanford. After law school he opened his own practice and sat as a professor of constitutional law at the University of the Pacific's McGeorge School of Law, where he taught from 1963 to 1988.
19. Jessica Chastain
Born and raised in Sacramento, Chastain's acting claim to fame was as an Oscar nominee for her performance in "The Help."
The band Journey formed in 1973 in San Francisco. Originally known as "The Golden Gate Rhythm Section," we're glad that name didn't catch on.
We hate to brag, but when it comes to amazingly gifted people – we win. To be honest, we haven’t even begun to scratch the surface.