by Jen Read
There are over 350,000 residents of the city of Anaheim, California. Aside from the cast of Disneyland, how many people in Anaheim do you know? Most people would probably just say they only know their Aunt Patty and Uncle George, but in reality many notable celebrities and athletes live in the area. Let’s take a look.
Joseph Acaba was born in Puerto Rico, lived in Inglewood California, and later spent his childhood in Anaheim. He graduated from high school there, went on to attain many degrees and accomplishments, but is most noted for being the first person of Puerto Rican heritage to be a NASA astronaut. He still resides in Anaheim, California.
In Anaheim there is a Boysen Avenue, named after Mr. Rudolph Boysen. He was a shy horticulturist who loved to experiment with blackberries, raspberries and loganberries. In the end he created a hybrid we now call the boysenberry. Unfortunately in 1923, he had to abandon his crop after breaking his back in an accident. Walter Knott, of the famous Knott’s Berry Farm, heard about the berry and managed to save a few plants. They bore fruit, which he called the boysenberry, after the berry’s creator.
Carl Nicholas Karcher was born in Ohio, but now resides in Anaheim. He made his mark on many street corners in the form of his hamburger chain, Carl’s Jr. Aside from running a multimillion dollar restaurant chain, Mr. Karcher is a noted philanthropist, having assisted his son in building mercy houses all over Orange County for the homeless and those with AIDS. He is an active member of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, a Roman Catholic order of chivalry.
In 1987 Stephen Hillenburg was a marine biology teacher in Orange County when he decided to pursue his career in animation. In 1989 Spongebob Squarepants was born. Eventually Mr. Hillenburg marketed his comic to Nickelodeon, who snatched it up and the rest is cartoon history.
Milo Ventimiglia was born in Anaheim, and still lives there with his family. After studying at the American Conservatory Theater and attending UCLA, he went on to become an actor. Mr. Ventimiglia is best know for his roles in Heroes, Gilmore Girls, and as Rocky Balboa’s son in the sixth installment of the Rocky series.
One of the most famous residents of Anaheim is musician Gwen Stefani. She was born and raised in the city, and still owns a home there. Ms. Stefani first found fame as the lead singer for her musical group No Doubt. In 2004 the group broke up and she began a solo career. She has always been outspoken about her birthplace, often singing about Anaheim and wearing clothing with the name printed on it.
Angela Perez Baraquio Grey was born in Hawaii, but now resides in Anaheim. She trained as a teacher while living in Hawaii, but in October of 2000 she was crowned Miss America 2001. Ms. Grey was the first Asian American and the first teacher to ever win the crown.
Born as an Armenian American, Frank Gerdelman is a professional wrestler billed out of Anaheim. He is known professionally by a few ring names such as Kaz, Kazarian and Suicide. Mr. Gerdelman has worked with the World Wrestling Entertainment group, and is now signed to Total Nonstop Action Wrestling.
Anaheim, California is best known for Disneyland Resorts and the Anaheim Ducks National Hockey League team. But there are so many accomplished people who were born there, have lived there or currently reside there. Take a drive around Anaheim and look for Boysen Avenue. Who knows, maybe you will see a former Miss America?