Capitol Alert

Shriver, Takei, Gwynn, Tower Records founder Russ Solomon selected for California Hall of Fame

Russ Solomon founder of Tower Records, was happy to hear Paul McCartney announced as the first show at Golden 1 Center on May 2, 2016.
Russ Solomon founder of Tower Records, was happy to hear Paul McCartney announced as the first show at Golden 1 Center on May 2, 2016. hamezcua@sacbee.com

Tower Records may have long since shuttered in Sacramento, but the beloved music chain that got its start in the capital is set to go down in California history.

Founder Russ Solomon, who started what would eventually become an international franchise out of the back of his father’s drugstore on Broadway in 1941, is among the 10th class of inductees to the California Hall of Fame, Gov. Jerry Brown, first lady Anne Gust Brown and the California Museum jointly announced Monday.

Other honorees, who will be recognized during a red carpet and induction ceremony at the California Museum on Nov. 30, include movie icon Harrison Ford and Maria Shriver, who established the hall in 2006 when her estranged husband, Arnold Schwarzenegger, was governor of California.

“When we created the Hall of Fame 10 years ago, I never dreamt I would be honored alongside so many people I've been awed by and admire,” Shriver said in a statement. “Like millions of others, I came to California to create my own life and fulfill my dreams. I hope that my course in life might inspire others, just as I've been inspired by California and those who have gone before me.”

The class of 2016 “exemplify the unique and boundless creativity of California,” Brown said in a statement. They are:

▪  Isabel Allende, the acclaimed Chilean author of books such as The House of Spirits, who has lived for decades in Marin County.

▪  Harrison Ford, whose starring roles in franchises such as “Indiana Jones” and “Star Wars” have made him the highest-grossing actor in domestic box office history.

▪  Tony Gwynn, whose 20-season career with the San Diego Padres earned him the nickname “Mr. Padre” and a spot in the Baseball Hall of Fame. He died in 2014 at 54.

▪  Corita Kent, a nun at a Catholic order in Los Angeles who became internationally renowned for her silkscreen art with a socially-conscious focus. She died in 1986 at 67.

▪  William J. Perry, former Secretary of Defense under President Bill Clinton, who was educated at Stanford University and worked for decades in Silicon Valley.

▪  Maria Shriver, the first lady of California from 2003 to 2011 and a member of the Kennedy family, who made her own way as a broadcast journalist.

▪  Russ Solomon, a Sacramento native whose Tower Records business empire reached more than 200 stores globally and $1 billion in sales annually at its peak.

▪  George Takei, originator of the “Star Trek” character Sulu, who grew up in Los Angeles before and after his family was sent to the Tule Lake Japanese interment camp during World War II. He now is known as an activist for various causes, including LGBT rights.

“I am a proud second generation Californian, humbled to be honored by a state singular in its beauty, diversity and dynamism,” Takei said in a statement. “To be inducted to join the inspiring trail blazers in the arts, industry, academia, sports and political affairs is an honor beyond words. This is truly the Golden State.”

Tower Records founder Russ Solomon reflects on the legacy of the business he founded.

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"NBC Nightly News" anchor Lester Holt, who was inducted into the California Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, says growing up here helped fuel his career.

British artist David Hockney, who was inducted into the California Hall of Fame on Wednesday night, discusses how the state inspired his art.

Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina in space, was inducted into the California Hall of Fame on Wednesday night.

Alexei Koseff: 916-321-5236, @akoseff

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