Iconic Napa vintner Robert Mondavi, along with Tiger Woods, Steve Jobs, Rita Moreno and Willie Mays, was in Sacramento last night to be inducted into the California Hall of Fame. The ceremony was held at the California Museum for History, Women and the Arts, and presided over by California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady Maria Shriver.
Apple founder Steve Jobs introduced Mondavi, calling his life "the quintessential American success story." After the introduction, Gov. Schwarzenegger walked over to Mondavi and put a Spirit of California Medal around his neck (the 94-year-old Mondavi is confined to a wheelchair). Mondavi's wife, Margrit, son Tim and daughter Marcia were also in attendance to show their support.
Like many of the inductees, Mondavi only spent part of his life in California, but the honored were all admired as pioneers and recognized for their talent, vision and perseverance in comments by Schwarzenegger and Shriver during the ceremony. "You honor us by allowing us to honor you," said Shriver.
Conceived by Shriver, the Hall of Fame was established in 2006 to honor those who have made a mark on history while living in California. The festive event included a Hollywood-like red-carpet walk, with plenty of press and fans clamoring to get a glimpse of their heroes. Other inductees this year included Ansel Adams, Milton Berle, Jackie Robinson, Jonas Salk, John Steinbeck, Elizabeth Taylor, Earl Warren and John Wayne. Past and present government officials in attendance included George Schultz, former California governors Gray Davis and Jerry Brown, as well as current San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom.
All the inductees donated artifacts to the museum for display. Among Mondavi's contributions were the giant corkscrew he used to break ground for the Robert Mondavi Institute for Food and Wine Science at U.C. Davis; the certificate he received when he was awarded France's prestigious Legion of Honor Certificate; a replica of the cork-covered jacket he wore in a famous Jack McDonald photograph; and two bottles of Mondavi wines.
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