San Francisco’s Most Famous Natives

Jul 21 at 6am

If you’re raising your kid in San Francisco, or grew up here, you’re in good company. Here’s a list of our favorite locals who grew up to be famous (or infamous):

Margaret Cho (comedian, actress, writer)

Born in SF in 1968, lived in the Sunset. “I grew up and went to grammar school on Haight Street during the ’70s. There were old hippies, ex-druggies, burnouts from the ’60s, drag queens, and Chinese people.” - Margaret Cho 

Ansel Adams (photographer, environmentalist)

Born in SF in 1902, family owned a house in Sea Cliff. “The sound of the surf from Baker Beach…created a yearning tension to get up and go.” - Ansel Adams

Maya Angelou (author, poet)

Born in 1928 in Missouri, moved here when she was 13. Her family lived in the Fillmore District. “The city became for me the ideal of what I wanted to be as a grownup. Friendly but never gushing, cool but not frigid or distant, distinguished without the awful stiffness.” - Maya Angelou

Joe DiMaggio (baseball player, Hall of Famer)

Born in Martinez in 1914, his family moved to SF a year later. He grew up in North Beach and also lived in the Marina. “At that Powell Street playground wall, he was at the center of everything he knew.” - Richard Ben Kramer

Robert Frost (poet)

Born in Nob Hill in 1874, lived here until age 11. “I was one of the children told / Some of the blowing dust was gold.” - Robert Frost

Sam Rockwell (actor)

Born in San Mateo in 1968, grew up here with his father and went to San Francisco School of the Arts with Margaret Cho. Lived in SF 1973–1986. “I had a more unconventional, bohemian kind of thing.” - Sam Rockwell

Clint Eastwood (actor, director)

Born in SF in 1930, grew up in the Glenview district of Oakland. Eastwood’s career has consistently brought him back to the Bay, notably in Dirty Harry, Escape from Alcatraz, and Gran Torino.

Danny Glover (actor, director, political activist)

Born in SF in 1946, grew up in the Haight, attended George Washington High School in the Richmond and SFSU. "I didn't go to Woodstock, but I saw Jimi Hendrix at Marx Meadow in San Francisco." - Danny Glover

Jerry Garcia (musician, singer/songwriter for the Grateful Dead)

Born in San Francisco in 1942, lived in the Excelsior until age 11, when the family moved to Menlo Park for three years. “Either you were a hoodlum, or you were a puddle on the sidewalk.” - Jerry Garcia

Courtney Love (musician, actress)

Born in SF in 1964, lived in Haight-Ashbury until she was six when her family moved to a commune in Oregon. Courtney Love’s father was the first manager of the Grateful Dead. She appears in a photo on the back of the band’s album Aoxomoxoa, at the age of five on a Marin hillside.

O. J. Simpson (football player, convicted felon)

Born in SF in 1947, he lived in the Potrero Hill housing projects, attended Galileo High School and City College of SF. He was considered a hometown hero and his likeness appeared on a Potrero Hill Rec Center mural, until it was defaced when he was on trial for murder in 1994–5.

Carlos Santana (musician, songwriter for Santana)

Born in Mexico in 1947, emigrated to SF in 1961, where he graduated from Mission High School. “My alma mater was the Fillmore. Hanging around with Bill Graham and all the other musicians.” - Carlos Santana

Benjamin Bratt (actor)

Born in SF in 1963, grew up in the Mission, attended Lowell High School. “The Mission has art, culture, and food, but there’s also real-life struggle, with family being the center of focus.” -Benjamin Bratt

Jack London (author, journalist, social activist)

Born in SF in 1876 in SOMA, near Third and Brannan Streets, the family moved to Oakland when he was three. London wrote extensively about San Francisco, including an eyewitness account of the 1906 earthquake, in Collier’s, “Not in history has a modern imperial city been so completely destroyed. San Francisco is gone.”

William Randolph Hearst (newspaper publisher)

Born in SF in 1863 on Rincon Hill. WRH grew up during the gold rush, took over the San Francisco Examiner at the age of 23, and proceeded to revive it by featuring writers Jack London and Mark Twain.

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