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Orange County Hall of Fame

Orange County Hall of Fame

Watch the Induction Ceremony


Celebrating Excellence, Innovation, and Leadership in Orange County

Welcome to the Orange County Hall of Fame, where we honor the brilliant minds, influential leaders, and remarkable talents that have shaped the cultural, economic, and social fabric of Orange County, California. From world-renowned musicians to visionary civic leaders and Olympians, our inductees represent the very best of what Orange County has to offer.

What is the Orange County Hall of Fame?

Orange County is not just a place; it's a community of pioneers, innovators, and change-makers. The Orange County Hall of Fame was established to celebrate and honor individuals who have made significant contributions to our community in five distinct categories:

  1. Music, Arts & Entertainment
  2. Sports
  3. Business
  4. Philanthropy
  5. Civics

Who Gets Inducted?

Nominees must meet one of the criteria below to be considered for induction:

  • Minimum of 10 years as a resident or business in Orange County
  • Major life experience in Orange County, such as birth or school graduation
  • Recognition through major awards like winning an Oscar or major sports championship while living in Orange County
  • Civic leader from/within Orange County

How Does the Selection Process Work?

The Board of Supervisors oversees a formal nomination and selection process:

  1. Creation of an annual Hall of Fame Ad Hoc Committee
  2. Supervisors each nominate up to five individuals or businesses that meet the criteria
  3. Ad Hoc Committee reviews a total of up to 25 nominated individuals/businesses and selects a maximum of 10 inductees annually

The Inaugural Class of 2023

We are proud to introduce the inaugural class of Orange County Hall of Fame inductees for 2023:

  1. Frank Jao – Business
  2. General William Lyon – Civics
  3. Walt Disney – Music, Arts & Entertainment
  4. Bill Medley – Music, Arts & Entertainment
  5. Gwen Stefani – Music, Arts & Entertainment
  6. Henry Segerstrom – Philanthropy
  7. Amanda Beard – Sports
  8. Kobe Bryant – Sports
  9. Greg Louganis – Sports
  10. Tiger Woods – Sports

Explore the Inductees: Stories of Vision, Leadership, and Legacy

The Orange County Hall of Fame is proud to present the stories behind our esteemed inductees. Dive deeper into the remarkable journeys, accomplishments, and contributions of these trailblazers who have left an indelible mark on Orange County and beyond.

Frank Jao | Orange County Hall of Fame

Frank Jao, known as Triệu Như Phát, is a distinguished Vietnamese-American figure whose life story is a testament to entrepreneurship, philanthropy, and cultural preservation. Born in North Vietnam, his family's relocation to South Vietnam in 1955 marked the beginning of a journey that would eventually lead him to the United States. In South Vietnam, in the city then known as Saigon, Jao met his wife, Catherine Duyên Phạm. There, he worked as an interpreter for USAID and the U.S. Marines. In 1975, following the tumultuous events of the Vietnam War, he and his wife immigrated to the United States.

Jao's entrepreneurial spirit took root in 1976 when he founded his own real estate business, Bridgecreek. As the principal developer of the renowned "Little Saigon" community in Orange County, California, he has played a pivotal role in creating a vibrant cultural enclave for the Vietnamese diaspora. His contributions to real estate development have earned him numerous civic and professional awards, solidifying his reputation as an influential leader. To this day, he continues to manage Asian Garden, a mall and event center that serves as the cornerstone of Little Saigon.

Beyond his achievements in business, Jao is deeply committed to education and philanthropy. Jao's dedication to education extends to his service on the University of California, Irvine Foundation Board of Trustees, the Trust of University Innovation in Vietnam, and the advisory board of Western University of Health Sciences. He has also been a Board Member of the Coastline Community College District and a member of the Chapman University International Advisory Council.

In recognition of his impact on Orange County and beyond, Jao was named one of "Orange County's 50 Most Influential Business People" and "LA Times' 100 Most Influential People in Southern California." Nationally, he held significant roles as a Board Member of the Asian Pacific American Institute for Congressional Studies (APAICS) from 2002 to 2012 and as a presidential appointee to the Vietnam Education Foundation (VEF) from 2002 to 2009, assuming the role of Chairman in 2005-2006.

Jao's commitment to preserving Asian American history and culture led him to establish the Jao Foundation. The foundation's mission is to promote academic scholarship and cultural awareness, a goal realized through initiatives such as the Vietnamese-American Oral History Project (UCI).

He has been honored to be named the first Vietnamese-American member of the Harvard Kennedy School Dean's Council Leadership Circle and is one of the founding donors and advisors for the Global Vietnam Wars Studies Initiative at Harvard University. This initiative, housed at the Harvard Kennedy School's Ash Center for Democratic Governance and Innovation, reflects his enduring commitment to advancing understanding and knowledge of Vietnam's history and its global impact.

Jao's life journey is an inspiring narrative of resilience, success, and a deep-seated commitment to giving back to the community. His legacy continues to shape the landscape of Orange County and beyond, leaving an indelible mark on the realms of business, education, and cultural heritage.

Major General William Lyon | Orange County Hall of Fame

Maj Gen William Lyon, USAF [Ret]

March 9, 1923 – May 22, 2020

General William Lyon, without question, led an achievement-filled life. Even more impressive is the fact that his many accomplishments were so wide ranging. He made his mark as a successful businessman, a decorated member of the military, and an active philanthropist in the community.


William Lyon was born on March 9, 1923, in Los Angeles, California. His father emigrated from Russia as a teenager, and his mother grew up on a small farm in Kentucky. Together they instilled in their son a solid work ethic and a fierce commitment to doing the right thing. Those founding principles guided his life.

The Lyon family moved several times between San Francisco and Los Angeles, but most of Bill’s studies were completed in Southern California.  Bill and his brother, Leon, who was 3 years his senior, attended Page Military Academy in Hollywood as boarding students. He finished his elementary education at University School, then attended public middle school in Westwood.  Bill followed Leon to Beverly Hills High School. While there, he discovered his love of airplanes and thirst for flying after paying $1 to take a ride around the Culver City airfield in a two-seater Porterfield.  At 16, he got his pilot’s license taking lessons in a 50 hp Luscombe at an airfield in Van Nuys.  Bill graduated from Beverly High in 1941 after a brief period at the Menlo School in Palo Alto.  

In the fall of 1941, Bill enrolled at the University of Southern California.  He became a member of the Sigma Chi fraternity and joined Naval ROTC with the dream to join the Navy as a pilot.  After the attack on Pearl Harbor in December of 1941, Bill attempted to enlist in the Navy.  He was rejected due to a deviated septum but had nasal surgery and tried again.  When he failed the medical exam a second time due to his nose, he concluded “God did not want [him] to be a Navy pilot.”  Determined to contribute to the war effort, Bill left USC to attend the Dallas Aviation School and College, graduating August 12, 1943, with a commercial instructor’s license.  He immediately found work instructing pilots for the war, ironically training naval air cadets.


William Lyon and Miriam Marquardt were married on September 14, 1946.  Together they had two daughters, Mary Susan and Christine Ann.  Unfortunately, Miriam passed away suddenly in January of 1970.

In August of 1971, Bill married the former Willa Dean Harwell from Haskell, Texas, adding her children Marcia and Byron Russell to the family.  In September of 1973, Bill and Willa Dean welcomed their son William Harwell into their blended family.  Together they have 5 children, 7 grandchildren, and 6 great grandchildren.


As World War II raged on, young Lyon decided to enlist again, but this time in the Army Air Force as a ferry pilot.  He was designated a flight officer on June 3, 1944.  This marked the beginning of a distinguished military career of more than 35 years.  During World War II, Bill flew a variety of aircraft including C-46s, C-47s, B-24s, B-25s, A-20s, T-6s and P-38s.  He completed ferry and air transport assignments in the Pacific as far west as Australia, in North Africa as far east as India, and in both England and Scotland.

In 1951, then Captain Lyon left his job as a copilot for Frontier Airlines to volunteer for active duty in the Air Force as the Korean War was heating up.  After several stateside assignments, he deployed to South Korea on March 10, 1953.  There, Lyon flew 75 combat missions in C-46s and C-47s, many of which involved dropping troops and saboteurs deep behind enemy lines at low altitude in the dark of night.

General Lyon’s military contributions further extended to serving as Chief of Air Force Reserve from 1975 to 1979, where he was responsible for managing a $700,000,000 budget as well as the activities of some 53,000 Air Force reservists. He is credited as the catalyst behind bringing the Air Force Reserve up to active duty standards and for implementing the policy of Total Force.

General Lyon received numerous awards and decorations, including the Distinguished Service Medal, Legion of Merit, the Distinguished Flying Cross, the Air Medal (with three oak clusters), and the Presidential Unit Citation.

William Lyon’s military affiliations included his service as board chairman of the United States Air Force Academy Research and Development Institution, chairman (and later chairman emeritus) and director of the USAF Falcon Foundation, as well as serving as a member of the Air Force Academy Foundation.

In addition, General Lyon served as chairman of the American Air Museum in Britain and founded the Lyon Air Museum at John Wayne Airport in Orange County in 2009.


After returning from Korea in 1954, William Lyon started building homes for returning military personnel and others attracted to the Golden State.  During his 60-year career, spanning several entities, General Lyon has been responsible for the production of well over 100,000 residential homes.  Ranked as the 18th largest homebuilder in 2019, William Lyon Homes merged with Taylor Morrison Home Corporation in early 2020 creating the nation’s 5th largest publicly traded homebuilder.

General Lyon’s business success was not limited to homebuilding.  In 1985, he established a multifamily real estate company to further diversify his real estate holdings which led to the acquisition, development, and management of over 10,000 apartment units. In 1981, he and a partner purchased AirCal, a regional air carrier based in Newport Beach, California. General Lyon served as their Chairman & CEO until 1987 when he merged AirCal with American Airlines.  In 2003, a group of founders and investors opened Commercial Bank of California in Costa Mesa, CA. William Lyon served as a board member and founding Chairman of the Board.

Remarkably, General Lyon was involved in three initial public offerings spanning over three decades: AirCal Airlines in 1983, The Presley Companies in 1991, and William Lyon Homes 2013.


William Lyon and his wife, Willa Dean, have always been active supporters of community organizations. After 30 years of service, he retired as a director on the Segerstrom Center for the Arts Board, having been a former chairman. General Lyon was the founding chairman of the Orangewood Children’s Foundation and served as a chairman of the Boy Scouts of America, Orange County Council. Additionally, he served as board chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of The United Way.

General Lyon served as a Lifetime Trustee of the University of Southern California. Additionally, he served on the board of USC Marshall School of Business and as a member of the President’s Cabinet of Chapman University.


University of Southern California

Dallas Aviation School and Air College


Founding Member, CRAFT (California Republicans Aligned For Tomorrow), 2007 - 2010

California Republican Party, Chairman, Team California – 2004, 2006

Founding Member, Republican Party California Team 100

Founding Member, New Majority Orange County, Republican Party


Chairman Emeritus, William Lyon Homes 

Director Emeritus and Founder, Commercial Bank of California

Board Member, American Airlines 

Life Member, USC Board of Trustees

Board Member, USC Marshall School of Business – Board of Leaders 2005

Member, President’s Cabinet of Chapman University

Member, Chapman University’s Center for Real Estate & Finance Board of Advisors

Life Member, Board of National Association of Home Builders

Board Member, Woodside Credit

Chairman of the Board, Lyon Air Museum

U.S. Chairman of the Board, The American Air Museum in Duxford, England (2009 – 2014)

Board Member, Fidelity National Financial, Inc. (2003 – 2013)

Honorary Trustee, California Homebuilding Foundation Board of Trustees (since 1990s)



National Board of Advisors, U.S. Vets, 2011

Life Member, Air Force Association

Chairman of the Board, Academy Research and Development Institute, USAF Academy

Chairman Emeritus of The Falcon Foundation, USAF Academy

Director, The Falcon Foundation, USAF Academy

Director, Air Force Academy Foundation, Inc. USAF Academy

Member, Advisory Committee, Association of Graduates, USAF Academy

Life Member, Reserve Officers Association



Member, Executive Committee, Segerstrom Center for The Arts, 2006

Member, Campaign Leadership Committee, Segerstrom Center for The Arts, 2006

Past Chairman, Segerstrom Center for The Arts, 1990 - 1993

Past Board Member, Segerstrom Center for The Arts (September 1985 thru May 2016)

Past Chairman, Orangewood Children's Foundation, 1980 – 1993

Founding Chairman, Orangewood Children's Foundation

Past Chairman, Boy Scouts of America, Orange County Council, 1988 & 1989 & Board Member 1987-2007

Past Board Chairman of the Alexis de Tocqueville Society of The United Way



The Pacific Club

Lido Isle Yacht Club

Life Member of Sigma Chi Fraternity



The Lyons received “Legacy Award” presented by National Philanthropy Day, November 2014.

“Great American” Award by The All-American Boys Chorus, November 2014.

“Excellence in Leadership” Award by Servite High School, May 2012.

“Legacy of Hope” award presented by HomeAid Orange County, November 2011.

"Significant Chi" Hall of Fame Award presented by Sigma Chi International Fraternity, June 2007.

“Marine Corps Scholarship Foundation Globe and Anchor” Award, October 2006.  

“United States Air Force Academy Distinguished Service” Award for his contributions to both the Air Force and the Academy, November 2005.

“National Entrepreneur of the Year” Award by Ernst & Young (Real Estate category), November 2005.

The Lyons received the “Corporate Humanitarian Award from Operation Smile”, October 2005

“Leadership Award” from USC Marshall School of Business, September 2005

“Distinguished Public Service Award” presented by the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff at The Pentagon, Washington D. C., May 2005.

“Presidential Medal in Business and Entrepreneurship” Award from Chapman University, 2004.

“Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters” from the University of Southern California, May 9, 2002. 

“Director of the Year” from Forum for Corporate Directors, Orange County, 2002.

Named “Builder of the Year 2000" by Builder & Developer Magazine.

Received the first “Medal of Honor” award by the Building Industry Association of Southern California, 1996.

Beverly Hills High School “Wall of Fame” award June 1999.

"Tribute to Excellence" Award, presented by the Building Industry Association/Orange County Chapter, October 1993.

The William and Willa Dean Lyon Perpetual Scholarship Fund was established in 1993 to honor the Lyons and benefit former Orangewood children pursuing a college education.

“Golden Plate” Award from the American Academy of Achievement, June 1990.

Named “Top 25 CEOs of the Decade” by California Business Magazine, April 1990.

“Asa V. Call Achievement” Award, the highest honor bestowed by the University of Southern California's General Alumni Association, March 1990.

"Builder of the Century" award by Sumigarden Economic Forecast Group, April 1989.

The Lyons received the "Giving Is Living" award, presented by the Volunteer Center of Orange County, November 1988.

“Mardan Center of Educational Therapy” Award, April 1986.

“Outstanding American” Award, Chapman College, November 1985.

Inducted into California Building Industry "Hall of Fame," June 1985.

"Significant Sig" Award presented by Sigma Chi International Fraternity, 1985.

Orange County Chapter Boy Scouts of America "Good Scout Award" sponsored by the Construction Industries Alliance, October 1984.

City of Hope National Medical Center's "Spirit of Life" award sponsored by the Construction Industries Alliance of Orange County, May 1983.

Named "Professional Builder of the Year for 1982" by Professional Builder Magazine.

Walt Disney | Orange County Hall of Fame

During a 43-year Hollywood career, which spanned the development of the motion picture medium as a modern American art, Walter Elias Disney, a modern Aesop, established himself and his product as a genuine part of Americana.

David Low, the late British political cartoonist, called Disney “the most significant figure in graphic arts since Leonardo.” A pioneer and innovator, and the possessor of one of the most fertile imaginations the world has ever known, Walt Disney, along with members of his staff, received more than 950 honors and citations from throughout the world, including 48 Academy Awards® and 7 Emmys® in his lifetime.

Walt Disney’s personal awards included honorary degrees from Harvard, Yale, the University of Southern California, and UCLA; the Presidential Medal of Freedom; France’s Legion of Honor and Officer d’Academie decorations; Thailand’s Order of the Crown; Brazil’s Order of the Southern Cross; Mexico’s Order of the Aztec Eagle; and the Showman of the World Award from the National Association of Theatre Owners.

The creator of Mickey Mouse and founder of Disneyland and Walt Disney World was born in Chicago, Illinois, on December 5, 1901. His father, Elias Disney, was an Irish-Canadian. His mother, Flora Call Disney, was of German-American descent. Walt was one of five children, four boys and a girl.

Raised on a farm near Marceline, Missouri, Walt early became interested in drawing, selling his first sketches to neighbors when he was only seven years old. At McKinley High School in Chicago, Disney divided his attention between drawing and photography, contributing both to the school paper. At night he attended the Academy of Fine Arts.

During the fall of 1918, Disney attempted to enlist for military service. Rejected because he was only 16 years of age, Walt joined the Red Cross and was sent overseas, where he spent a year driving an ambulance and chauffeuring Red Cross officials. His ambulance was covered from stem to stern, not with stock camouflage, but with drawings and cartoons.

After the war, Walt returned to Kansas City, where he began his career as an advertising cartoonist. Here, in 1920, he created and marketed his first original animated cartoons, and later perfected a new method for combining live-action and animation.

In August of 1923, Walt Disney left Kansas City for Hollywood with nothing but a few drawing materials, $40 in his pocket and a completed animated and live-action film. Walt’s brother Roy O. Disney was already in California, with an immense amount of sympathy and encouragement, and $250. Pooling their resources, they borrowed an additional $500 and constructed a camera stand in their uncle’s garage. Soon, they received an order from New York for the first “Alice Comedy” short, and the brothers began their production operation in the rear of a Hollywood real estate office two blocks away.

On July 13, 1925, Walt married one of his first employees, Lillian Bounds, in Lewiston, Idaho. They were blessed with two daughters — Diane, married to Ron Miller, former president and chief executive officer of Walt Disney Productions; and Sharon Disney Lund, formerly a member of Disney’s Board of Directors. The Millers have seven children and Mrs. Lund had three. Mrs. Lund passed away in 1993.

Mickey Mouse was created in 1928, and his talents were first used in a silent cartoon entitled Plane Crazy. However, before the cartoon could be released, sound burst upon the motion picture screen. Thus Mickey made his screen debut in Steamboat Willie, the world’s first fully synchronized sound cartoon, which premiered at the Colony Theatre in New York on November 18, 1928.

Walt’s drive to perfect the art of animation was endless. Technicolor® was introduced to animation during the production of his “Silly Symphonies.” In 1932, the film entitled Flowers and Trees won Walt the first of his 32 personal Academy Awards®. In 1937, he released The Old Mill, the first short subject to utilize the multiplane camera technique.

On December 21 of that same year, Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, the first full-length animated musical feature, premiered at the Carthay Circle Theatre in Los Angeles. Produced at the unheard of cost of $1,499,000 during the depths of the Great Depression, the film is still accounted as one of the great feats and imperishable monuments of the motion picture industry. During the next five years, Walt completed such other full-length animated classics as PinocchioFantasiaDumbo and Bambi.

In 1940, construction was completed on Disney’s Burbank studio, and the staff swelled to more than 1,000 artists, animators, story men and technicians. During World War II, 94 percent of the Disney facilities were engaged in special government work including the production of training and propaganda films for the armed services, as well as health films which are still shown throughout the world by the U.S. State Department. The remainder of his efforts were devoted to the production of comedy short subjects, deemed highly essential to civilian and military morale.

Disney’s 1945 feature, the musical The Three Caballeros, combined live action with the cartoon medium, a process he used successfully in such other features as Song of the South and the highly acclaimed Mary Poppins. In all, 81 features were released by the studio during his lifetime.

Walt’s inquisitive mind and keen sense for education through entertainment resulted in the award-winning “True-Life Adventure” series. Through such films as The Living DesertThe Vanishing PrairieThe African Lion and White Wilderness, Disney brought fascinating insights into the world of wild animals and taught the importance of conserving our nation’s outdoor heritage.

Disneyland, launched in 1955 as a fabulous $17 million Magic Kingdom, soon increased its investment tenfold and entertained, by its fourth decade, more than 400 million people, including presidents, kings and queens and royalty from all over the globe.

A pioneer in the field of television programming, Disney began production in 1954, and was among the first to present full-color programming with his Wonderful World of Color in 1961. The Mickey Mouse Club and Zorro were popular favorites in the 1950s.


But that was only the beginning. In 1965, Walt Disney turned his attention toward the problem of improving the quality of urban life in America. He personally directed the design on an Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow, or EPCOT, planned as a living showcase for the creativity of American industry.

Said Disney, “I don’t believe there is a challenge anywhere in the world that is more important to people everywhere than finding the solution to the problems of our cities. But where do we begin? Well, we’re convinced we must start with the public need. And the need is not just for curing the old ills of old cities. We think the need is for starting from scratch on virgin land and building a community that will become a prototype for the future.”

Thus, Disney directed the purchase of 43 square miles of virgin land — twice the size of Manhattan Island — in the center of the state of Florida. Here, he master planned a whole new Disney world of entertainment to include a new amusement theme park, motel-hotel resort vacation center and his Experimental Prototype Community of Tomorrow. After more than seven years of master planning and preparation, including 52 months of actual construction, Walt Disney World opened to the public as scheduled on October 1, 1971. Epcot Center opened on October 1, 1982.

Prior to his death on December 15, 1966, Walt Disney took a deep interest in the establishment of California Institute of the Arts, a college level, professional school of all the creative and performing arts. Of Cal Arts, Walt once said, “It’s the principal thing I hope to leave when I move on to greener pastures. If I can help provide a place to develop the talent of the future, I think I will have accomplished something.”

California Institute of the Arts was founded in 1961 with the amalgamation of two schools, the Los Angeles Conservatory of Music and Chouinard Art Institute. The campus is located in the city of Valencia, 32 miles northeast of downtown Los Angeles. Walt Disney conceived the new school as a place where all the performing and creative arts would be taught under one roof in a “community of the arts” as a completely new approach to professional arts training.

Walt Disney is a legend, a folk hero of the 20th century. His worldwide popularity was based upon the ideas which his name represents: imagination, optimism and self-made success in the American tradition. Walt Disney did more to touch the hearts, minds and emotions of millions of Americans than any other man in the past century. Through his work, he brought joy, happiness and a universal means of communication to the people of every nation. Certainly, our world shall know but one Walt Disney.

County Notes: Walt Disney

  • Opened Disneyland in Anaheim in 1955
  • Died at St. Joseph Hospital in Orange
  • Animator, Producer, Entrepreneur
  • Has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for Film and Television
  • Inducted into the Anaheim Walk of Fame
  • Holds record for most Academy Awards earned and nominations
  • Has earned two Golden Globes, Emmy Award, and other honors

Bill Medley | Orange County Hall of Fame

Bill Medley is truly one of the iconic figures in American music history. His instantly recognizable baritone voice has anchored some of the biggest recordings of all time.

He’s won a Grammy, an Oscar, a Golden Globe, and an American Music Award.

The Orange County, California native began writing songs as a boy and had his breakout as a songwriter and singer when, in 1963, the Medley-penned Little Latin Lupe Lu became a regional hit for Bill and Bobby Hatfield, as their first release as The Righteous Brothers.

Other regional hits followed, Justine, Koko Joe, and My Babe, which led to a regular spot on ABC-TV’s national Shindig! broadcast.

The show, featuring a cast of regulars, along with guest stars every week, catered to the teen audience, something new for TV at that time. Shindig’s smash success coincided with The Righteous Brothers opening for both The Beatles and The Rolling Stones on their first US tours.

Soon, The Righteous Brothers caught producer Phil Spector’s attention and he signed them to record what would become, according to BMI, the most played song in the history of American radio – the Barry Mann/Cynthia Weil classic, You’ve Lost That Lovin’ Feelin’.

A string of top hits followed until 1968 when Medley and Hatfield agreed to part ways to pursue solo efforts. Medley soon scored with top ten hits, Peace Brother, Peace and Brown-eyed Woman. In 1974, Bill and Bobby re-united and within a few weeks had yet another monster hit with Rock and Roll Heaven.

From then, until Bobby’s passing in 2003, The Righteous Brothers never stopped performing to packed crowds. During that period Bill also recorded the chart-topping duet with Jennifer Warnes, The Time of My Life, for the movie Dirty Dancing. It went on to sell over 32 million copies worldwide. Then, shortly before Bobby passed away, in 2003 Righteous Brothers fan Billy Joel inducted the pair into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with a glowing 7-minute speech.

Always active and stretching his creative talents, Medley has also sung on the soundtracks or performed the theme songs for 33 movies and TV shows and, in 2014, released his memoir, The Time of My Life, published by Da Capo Press.

Bucky Heard is an Alabama native and Auburn University alum. He’s been one of the most popular and versatile performers in America for several years, headlining countless shows in major venues. His reputation as a gutsy rock and roll singer, with an incredible vocal range, has garnered much critical praise and a legion of fans.

He’s been hand-selected to share the concert stage with legends, like Andy Williams and Glen Campbell, and honored as “Male Vocalist of the Year” by entertainment publications. Credited with being one of the hardest working and in-demand performers,

Bucky has rocked his way across America with his 10-piece horn band, and also starred in numerous national production shows.

Multi-talented, and always seeking to expand his musical horizons, he recently created, wrote, and produced an original children’s musical variety show called, Rock U Mentally, which headlined the American Bandstand Theatre for a two consecutive Summers!

Heard says teaming with Bill Medley in The Righteous Brothers has been a wonderful gift … Performing with Bill Medley is like getting your PhD in show business! He is more than a legend; he puts everything into every performance, and really understands how to connect with an audience. He motivates me to be my best and I’m so grateful for this opportunity!

County Notes: Bill Medley

  • Born in Santa Ana
  • Graduated from Santa Ana High School in 1958
  • The Auditorium at Santa Ana High School is named after him
  • Singer, Songwriter
  • Bill Medley started several bands until and Bobby Hatfield formed The Righteous Brothers
  • Grammy Award winner
  • 14 albums and multiple singles

Gwen Stefani | Orange County Hall of Fame

A three-time GRAMMY® Award winner, Gwen Stefani has achieved global success as a songwriter, performer, charismatic frontwoman of No Doubt, and as a multi-platinum solo artist.  Throughout it all, Stefani has remained a trend-setting music and fashion icon with an impressive array of honors – four MTV Video Music Awards, two Billboard Awards, an American Music Award, and a Brit Award.   To date, she’s sold more than 60 million units worldwide, including her four-times platinum debut solo album Love. Angel. Music. Baby. – that delivered the hit singles “Rich Girl,” “What You Waiting For?” and the Pharrell Williams produced No. 1 hit “Hollaback Girl.”  Her sophomore album, The Sweet Escape, featured the Billboard Hot 100 top 10 single “Wind It Up” and the unforgettable anthem “The Sweet Escape.”  Her critically praised latest album, This Is What the Truth Feels Like, debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard Top 200 album chart and includes her powerful No. 1 single “Used To Love You.”  In 2020, Stefani had two No. 1 hits on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart with husband Blake Shelton, “Nobody But You” and “Happy Anywhere.”   Stefani released new song “True Babe” in June ahead of a series of major festival performances in the U.K. and Europe last summer.  Stefani also returned for her seventh season as a coach on the Emmy®-winning NBC series The Voice this past fall.

Before the music there was makeup. Stefani’s passion for makeup was integral in the launch of her beauty brand GXVE in early 2022 (pronounced ‘give’). Available at Sephora, and, the clean, high performance GXVE color cosmetics collection is inspired by Stefani’s iconic looks and created for the community of makeup lovers that find their inspiration, individuality and self-expression through artistry.

One of pop culture’s most magnetic style icons, Stefani is one of the first artists to brilliantly merge music stardom into a series of global lifestyle brands including her fashion-forward clothing line, L.A.M.B., sister label Harajuku Lovers and her eyewear line gx by Gwen Stefani.  

Throughout the years, Stefani has exemplified a strong commitment to giving back to the community. Her dedication to supporting various charities and foundations has made a meaningful impact in the lives of many. One of the notable nonprofit organizations she has extended her support to is the Cure 4 The Kids Foundation, which plays a crucial role in providing essential medical treatment to children battling life-threatening conditions. Additionally, Stefani continues to support Children’s Hospital LA and Children’s Hospital of Orange County.  

Henry T. Segerstrom | Orange County Hall of Fame

A bold and visionary leader in business, philanthropy, and the arts, Henry Thomas Segerstrom helped transform Orange County into the diverse and thriving center of commerce, culture, and innovation that it is today.

Where others saw only isolated farmland, he imagined an array of the world’s most exclusive jewelers and couturiers, drawing clientele from near and far with their unparalleled elegance. Where others saw the sprawl of agricultural life and bedroom communities, he dreamed of dazzling stages and lofty galleries where the people of Orange County would thrill to the greatest artists.

Henry Segerstrom had the entrepreneurial drive and grandeur of spirit to call these visions into existence: first South Coast Plaza, which he made into a retail center recognized internationally as a premier destination for luxury shopping, and then Segerstrom Center for the Arts, a multidisciplinary cultural powerhouse to rival any in the world.

But it was not only his private generosity and ability to inspire others, both extraordinary, that made these achievements possible. Henry Segerstrom’s personal magnetism—the superb intelligence and grace that imbued everything he did—enabled him to win over the celebrated people who would breathe life into his creations. He developed relationships with the heads of Louis Vuitton, Hermès, Gucci, Cartier, Courrèges, Yves Saint Laurent, Halston, Tiffany & Co., Nordstom, and many others, recruiting their brands for South Coast Plaza. He personally helped to bring the most distinguished figures in the performing arts to the stages of Segerstrom Center for the Arts, among them Mikhail Baryshnikov, Gustavo Dudamel, Plácido Domingo, Renée Fleming, Rudolf Nureyev, and Luciano Pavarotti. He sought out Isamu Noguchi and commissioned him to create California Scenario, one of the artist’s most important public sculpture gardens, for Segerstrom Center for the Arts, and enlisted Richard Serra to make Connector, the monumental sculpture that anchors the Center’s Argyros Plaza. Insisting on the highest standards for the Center, he worked side by side with architects and landscape architects including Cesar Pelli, Frank Gehry, Kathryn Gustafson, and Thom Mayne, who recognized and respected his taste and expertise in design. 

Henry Segerstrom sought for the people of Orange County exactly what he demanded of himself: only the best.

His loyalty to Orange County ran deep. Born in Santa Ana in 1923 into an immigrant farming family, he graduated from Santa Ana High School, where he served as class president, and then entered Stanford University at age 17. But the attack on Pearl Harbor cut short his studies. Answering his country’s call, he enlisted in the Army and was deployed to the European front in the field artillery, where he rose to the rank of captain. He was severely injured in the Battle of the Bulge, for which he was decorated with the Purple Heart. During the three years his recuperation required, he refused to remain idle but completed his Bachelor of Arts and Master of Business Administration degrees from Stanford.

Eventually, he became Managing Partner of his family’s farm operation, C.J. Segerstrom & Sons, the platform he needed to imagine and create South Coast Plaza and subsequently Segerstrom Center for the Arts. 

Henry Segerstrom also extended his passion for the arts and charismatic leadership beyond Orange County. He contributed his time, resources, and skills to institutions including Carnegie Hall, which honored him with its Medal of Excellence in 2010, and the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, of which he was a founder. He also served from 1999 to 2002 as National Chairman of the Business Committee for the Arts, after having received the organization’s Leadership Award in 1993. Among his many other philanthropic achievements, he was particularly proud of his role in establishing the Center for Social Innovation at Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business. 

A dedicated public servant, Henry Segerstrom was elected to the Orange County Water District Board, on which he served for more than 20 years, eventually as its chairman. Among his many honors, he was knighted by His Majesty King Carl XVI Gustav of Sweden, received honorary doctorates from Western University and Whittier Law School, and in 2008 was given the highest honor of the Stanford Graduate School of Business, its Ernest C. Arbuckle Award. 

Henry Segerstrom passed away in 2015—but his incomparable legacy for Orange County remains as an ongoing testament to his vision, work ethic, profound passion for quality, and unparalleled sense of style. “I believe in my own heart,” he said, “that in our lifetime we are put on Earth to do more than just make ourselves happy. Be bold. Do something to help others. Now is the time for us to invest in future generations.”

Amanda Beard | Orange County Hall of Fame

Amanda Beard was just 14 years-old the first time she made an appearance in the Olympic Games and walked away as the second youngest swimmer in history to medal with one gold and two silvers. Over the course of the next twelve years she would be the recipient of eight USA Swimming National Titles, hold the FINA World Record and World Champion title for the 200-meter breaststroke, make three more appearances in the Olympic Games–accumulating another gold, two more silvers and a bronze–and serve as the USA Olympic Swimming Team Captain twice, thus carving her name deeply into the face of sports history.

Almost eclipsing her incredible athletic achievements, Amanda’s celebrity status has allowed her to enjoy immense success as a brand representative as well as a nonprofit advisor and has frequently put her in the spotlight as a model and correspondent for print and television media outlets worldwide. She has graced the pages of countless sports and lifestyle magazines and been a guest and host on numerous national TV shows.

Amanda became a first time co-author in 2012 with the release of the autobiographical New York Times Bestseller In the Water They Can't See You Cry. She used the personal recount as an opportunity to share aspects of her life previously kept private and in doing so managed to connect deeply with a new audience. She currently shares her story of professional and personal triumph via motivational speaking engagements and passes on her swimming expertise via clinics and private lessons.

Amanda’s most recent entrepreneurial endeavor is as Co-Founder of Beard Swim Co., a learn-to-swim program with a philosophy that the ability to swim is one of the greatest gifts you can give a child. Keeping kids water safe is a mission that has become even closer to Amanda’s heart since having children of her own. She currently accepted a position at the University of Arizona were she is coaching the next generation of future Olympian’s. She is married to photographer Sacha Brown, with whom she has a son Blaise and a daughter Doone.

Kobe Bryant | Orange County Hall of Fame

Kobe Bryant is a five-time NBA Champion, two-time Olympic Gold Medalist, NBA MVP, two-time NBA Finals MVP, 15-time All-NBA player, 18-time NBA All-Star and the NBA’s 3rd all-time leading scorer. 

As a producer, storyteller and writer, Bryant created Granity Studios, a multi-media content creation company focused on helping athletes learn the process of excellence and maximizing potential.

Granity Studios has launched several content projects including Kobe Bryant’s Muse documentary film, Detail on ESPN+ and the Dear Basketball animated short film, which won the 2018 Academy Award, and the 2017 Annie Award in the Animated Short category. Bryant served as creator and executive producer for all projects. 

In 2019, Bryant and Granity Studios debuted their first novel, The Wizenard Series: Training Camp, which became an instant #1 New York Times bestseller. On September 3rd, Bryant and Granity Studios return with their highly anticipated second novel, Legacy and the Queen, about a young female tennis prodigy who must defeat impossible and supernatural odds to save everything that is important to her.

Bryant’s investment platform, Bryant Stibel, provides strategic, financial and operational support to entrepreneurs and their companies, with a focus on the convergence of technology, media and data (TMD), as well as in industries such as sports and wellness, where TMD has the potential to create massive opportunities.

Off the court, Bryant has dedicated his philanthropic passion to a variety of causes benefiting children in need.

In 2006, he launched the Kobe and Vanessa Bryant Family Foundation to improve the lives of young people through access to sports, mentorship, and economic empowerment.

In 2009, Bryant partnered with the Soong Ching Ling Foundation to create the Kobe China Fund dedicated to the welfare and education of youth in China. 

In 2020, founded through the vision and loving memory of Kobe and Gianna “Gigi” Bryant, Kobe’s wife Vanessa Bryant and their daughters launched the Mamba and Mambacita Sports Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating positive impact for underserved athletes and boys & girls in sports.

The foundation provides funding and sports programming for underserved athletes to enable participation in school and/or league sports that enrich socio-emotional and physical development.

County Notes: Kobe Bryant

  • Lived in Newport Coast from 2002 until his death in 2020
  • NBA Player
  • 5-time NBA Champion, 2-time NBA Finals MVP, 2008 NBA MVP, and 18-time NBA All-Star
  • One of the greatest basketball players in history, and most decorated
  • Olympic Gold Medalist in 2008 and 2012

Greg Louganis | Orange County Hall of Fame

Considered the greatest diver in history, Greg Louganis is the only male to win gold medals on both 3-meter springboard and 10-meter platform in consecutive Olympic Games (1984, 1988).

A trained actor, dancer, model and spokesman, Greg’s wide repertoire of skills keeps him in demand and in the public eye. 

As the undisputed GOAT of mindset, Greg shares his knowledge and wisdom through his meditation and mindfulness course, as well as through his books, interviews and speaking engagements.

Greg Louganis is simply the greatest diver in history. Across the globe, billions who watched either the 1984 or 1988 Olympics were enthralled by the poetry that was Greg Louganis: the beauty and power of his diving captured the world.

With a total of 5 Olympic medals, 5 World Championship titles, 6 Pan American titles and 47 national titles, more than any person in U.S. history, his records remain unbroken.

Today, as a coach, speaker, author, actor, activist, and humanitarian he continues his tradition of excellence.

Causes close to his heart include HIV/AIDS, LGBTQ+, Adoption/Foster Care, Mental Health/Addiction, Human Rights, Animals, Environmental Issues and Climate Change. 

Information to come.