Success Stories

RICK ADELMAN
Retired NBA Player & Coach
Richard Leonard "Rick" Adelman was born in Lynwood, California, the son of Gladys (née Olsen) and Leonard Joseph "L.J." Adelman, who were from North Dakota and worked as teachers and farmers. He is a retired professional basketball player and head coach. Mr. Adelman coached 23 seasons in the National Basketball Association and served as head coach of the Golden State Warriors, Portland Trail Blazers, Sacramento Kings, Houston Rockets and Minnesota Timberwolves.

Adelman began his basketball career as a collegiate star at Loyola Marymount University. In the 1968 NBA Draft, he was selected by the San Diego Rockets (now the Houston Rockets) in the 7th round. He played for two seasons in San Diego before being recruited to play for the Portland Trail Blazers. Mr. Adelman also played for the Chicago Bulls, New Orleans (now Utah) Jazz, and the Kansas City/Omaha (now Sacramento) Kings.

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GLEN BELL
Founder, Taco Bell
Glen William Bell, Jr. was born in Lynwood, California. His father was a construction worker and his mother was a housewife. His family moved to Oregon where they began farming then returned to San Bernardino, California to farm a 10-acre orchard owned by Bell's grandmother. Mr. Bell graduated from San Bernardino High School, and then enlisted in the U.S. Marine Corps. Following his military service, Bell started a hot dog stand called Bell's Drive-In, which he sold a few years later to build a fast food restaurant that sold hot dogs and hamburgers. Not long after that, Mr. Bell started a food stand selling tacos named Taco-Tia. He opened three Taco Tias and later sold them to open four El Tacos with a partner in the Long Beach area. Mr. Bell sold the El Tacos to his partner and opened a Taco Bell restaurant which he franchised across the country before selling the 868-restaurant chain to PepsiCo. Mr. Bell died in 2010.

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KEVIN COSTNER
Actor, Director, Producer, Musician
Kevin Michael Costner was born in Lynwood, California and grew up in Compton. He is the youngest of three boys (the middle of whom died at birth). His mother, Sharon Rae (née Tedrick), was a welfare worker, and his father, William Costner, was an electrician who later became a utilities executive at Southern California Edison. Following his father’s career, the Costner family moved to other parts of California. He graduated from Villa Park High School in Orange County and went on to earn a Bachelor’s of Arts in marketing and finance from California State University, Fullerton (CSUF) where he was a fraternity brother in Delta Chi.

Mr. Costner is an American actor, film director, producer, musician, and singer. He has won two Academy Awards, three Golden Globe Awards, and one Emmy Award, and was nominated for three BAFTA (British Academy of Film and Television Arts) Awards. He also is the recipient of an Honorary César, France's national film award.

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AVA DUVERNAY
Director, Screenwriter
Ava DuVernay was born in Long Beach, California to Darlene Maye, an educator, and Murray Maye, a businessman, from Hayneville, Alabama, a small town between Montgomery and Selma, Alabama. Ms. DuVernay is the oldest of the five children and grew up in Lynwood and Compton, California. She graduated with a B.A. from the University of California, Los Angeles, where she double-majored in English and African-American studies.

Ms. DuVernay is a director, screenwriter, film marketer, and film distributor. At the 2012 Sundance Film Festival, DuVernay won the Best Director Prize for her second feature film Middle of Nowhere, becoming the first African-American woman to win the award. Ms. DuVernay directed the highly acclaimed motion picture, Selma, about the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery led by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Ms. DuVernay is the first black female director to be nominated for a Golden Globe Award and the first black female director to have her film nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture. The film also was nominated for the Best Original Song.

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CHUCK PRINCE
Former Chairman and CEO, Citigroup
Charles Owen Prince III was born in Lynwood, California to Charles Owen Prince II, a plasterer, and Mary Doyle, a housewife. Prince went to the University of Southern California where he earned a Bachelor's degree, Master's degree, and Juris Doctor. He later received a Master of Laws degree from Georgetown University Law Center.

Prince began his career as an attorney with U.S. Steel Corp. He then joined the Commercial Credit Company, a predecessor to Citigroup, and was promoted to Executive Vice President of the firm, which later became known as the Travelers Group. Following the merger of the Travelers Group and Citigroup, Prince was named chief administrative officer of the combined company. He later became chairman and chief executive officer of Citigroup.

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PETE ROZELLE
Former Chairman of the National Football League
Alvin Ray “Pete” Rozelle was born in South Gate, California and grew up in Lynwood, California. He graduated from Compton High School (with future Hall of Fame Dodger baseball player Duke Snider) and then was drafted into the U.S. Navy, serving 18 months on an oil tanker before returning home to enroll in Compton Community College. He graduated from University of San Francisco and returned to Los Angeles to work for the Los Angeles Rams, eventually rising to the position of general manger. His position with the Rams led to his election as commissioner of the National Football League (NFL), a position he held for nearly thirty years. Mr. Rozelle is the longest serving commissioner of the NFL and credited with building it into one of the most successful sports leagues in the world. Mr. Rozelle died in 1996.

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DUKE SNIDER
Former Los Angeles Dodger Baseball Player
 

Edwin Donald “Duke” Snider was raised in Compton, California and is the only child of Ward and Florence Snider. His father nicknamed his son Duke at the age of five because of the way he strutted around the bases as if he was royalty. After graduating from Compton High School, Mr. Snider was drafted into the Navy serving on a submarine tender in the Pacific. He married Beverly Null a native of Lynwood, California and for many years the couple lived on Carlin Avenue across from Lynwood Middle School. Snider said "The house was on a little rise and I could sit in my living room and watch the games every Friday night."

Duke Snider was named to the National League (NL) All-Star roster eight-times and was the NL Most Valuable Player (MVP) runner-up in 1955. In 16 of his 18 seasons with the Dodgers, he helped lead the Dodgers to six World Series and two championships. He was elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in 1980. Mr. Snider died in 2011.

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WEIRD AL YANKOVIC
Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Actor, Music Video Director, Producer, and Author
Alfred Matthew "Weird Al" Yankovic was born in Downey and raised in Lynwood, California. He is the only child of Nick and Mary Yankovic (née Vivalda). Mr. Yankovic’s lifelong interest in music began following music lessons at a local music school that his parents purchased from a door-to-door salesman traveling through Lynwood. He was the valedictorian of his senior class and still has the program from his 1976 Lynwood High School commencement ceremony featuring his speech, The Future: Its Price. Mr. Yankovic was active in extracurricular programs, including the National Forensic League, a play based upon the film Rebel Without a Cause, the yearbook (for which he wrote most of the captions), and the Volcano Worshippers club, which, he has stated, did absolutely nothing except allow members to have an extra picture of themselves in the yearbook. He graduated from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo earning a degree in architecture.

Weird Al Yankovic is a singer, songwriter, parodist, record producer, satirist, actor, music video director, film producer, and author. He has sold more than 12 million albums including four gold and six platinum records. His first top ten Billboard album was Straight Outta Lynwood. Mr. Yankovic has earned four Grammy Awards and an additional 11 nominations.

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