RuPaul, Tony Hawk, Maya Angelou join California Hall of Fame

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP) — Drag queen and TV star RuPaul, late poet Maya Angelou and skateboarding legend Tony Hawk were among 10 people inducted Tuesday night into the California Hall of Fame.

The others were Brandi Chastain, two-time Women’s World Cup soccer champion and Olympic gold medalist; astrophysicist and National Science Foundation Director France A. Cordova; writer Jeanne Wakatsuki Houston; actor and comedian George Lopez; restaurateur and chef Wolfgang Puck; winemaker Helen M. Turley and the Rev. James M. Lawson, Jr., a civil rights activist.

Hawk did a few turns on his skateboard on a half-pipe erected outside the California Museum, where the event was held.

“It’s a huge honor,” Hawk said. “When I started skating a long time ago, it was the furthest thing from cool. It was not something you chose as a career.””

“I’m a very proud Californian. All my dreams were born here, they were fulfilled here,” Chastain said, noting that she used to drive two hours each way from San Jose to play for the Sacramento Storm women’s soccer team.

Gov. Gavin Newsom and his wife, Jennifer Siebel Newsom, chose the 13th class of inductees into the Hall of Fame, which started in 2006.

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The Hall of Fame “celebrates Californians who embody the state’s spirit of innovation and achievement and have made their mark on history,” according to a press release.

RuPaul and Hawk both were born and raised in San Diego. Chastain was born in San Jose. Lopez was born in Los Angeles.

Angelou is an internationally known poet, lecturer, actor, producer and civil rights activist who lived in California at various times — she once was employed as a San Francisco cable car conductor. She died in 2014 at 86.

Lawson, 91, was a key strategist and coordinator for peaceful civil rights protests in the 1960s, which led to his being expelled from Vanderbilt University although he later returned to teach there. Lawson moved to Los Angeles in 1974 and was pastor of Holman United Church until 1999.

Houston is best known for her “Farewell to Manzanar,” a memoir about her experiences as a young girl in a California internment camp for Japanese Americans during World War II.

Cordova attended high school in the Los Angeles suburb of La Puente and went on to Stanford University. She also is a one-time chancellor of the University of California, Riverside.

Puck arguably rose to success with the opening of his Southern California restaurant Spago in 1982. He currently lives in Los Angeles.

Turley is an award-winning vintner and owner of Marcassin Vineyard in Sonoma County.

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