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Monterey County

SPECIAL REPORT: 50 years of famous residents and notable visitors to the Central Coast

Scenic Skies have brought 50 years of stars to the Central Coast.

Most recently, cameras capturing Reese Witherspoon and Nicole Kidman on the Monterey Peninsula for Big Little Lies, cars exploding in Santa Cruz for Jordan Peele’s “Us,” and Hailey Steinfeld jogging near the Santa Cruz wharf in the trailer for “Bumblebee.”

But years earlier, while Kiefer Sutherland and the Lost Boys were not swinging from the actual Santa Cruz trestle bridge, the move was filmed in other parts of Santa Cruz. And Tom Hanks was running around Pacific Grove in Turner and Hooch.

Sometimes the actor is more than a visitor. Doris Day is a Carmel resident, and Betty White spends her time there too. KION sat down with the “Golden Girl” in 2010.

“What I love about Central Coast, it really gets your head back straight. When you’re running around doing a lot of other things, you sit around looking at that ocean for a while, and all of a sudden it sorts out your priorities,” White said.

Born in San Francisco, Clint Eastwood escaped from Alcatraz to live in Carmel-By-The-Sea. KION sat down with Eastwood during our “Meet the Candidates” forum when he ran for Mayor – and later won.
“I’ve been accessible to the public, and I believe in an administration that is truly accessible to the public,” Eastwood answered when asked about his accessibility.

Eastwood is now a mainstay at the AT&T Pebble Beach Pro Am, and so is just about every other celebrity.

From Bill Murray to Kate Upton no one can resist hitting these legendary links. Maybe no one more than the voice of CBS Sports Jim Nantz. Nantz sat down with KION for this report.

“This is the greatest place in the world,” Nantz said referring to living on the Monterey Peninsula.

Nantz moved to Pebble Beach in 2012.

“Our family loves to take advantage of what Mother Nature has given us here. They’ve given us heaven on Earth,” Nantz said.

Nantz is CBS’ lead broadcaster for the NFL, the NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament, and The Masters.

“My assignments can be anywhere in the lower 48. Last week I was in Baltimore, this week I am in New England. We have the Super Bowl coming up February 3rd in Atlanta. (I) come home and we have the Pebble Beach tournament,” Nantz said. “My heart was always being tugged to come out here to Monterey County and I am so happy we made that decision.”

The Central Coast is a paradise fit for Presidents and presidential hopefuls. Former President Barack Obama flew in to Monterey last year, and we’ve seen George W. Bush, John McCain, Bernie Sanders, and Hillary Clinton, just to name a few.

While former Secretary of Defense and White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta was a leading fixture in Washington for years, he was born in Monterey, stationed at Fort Ord, and served the district in Congress.

Panetta sat down with KION.

“Because of the beauty of this area, tourism, because of our agricultural industry, we really have developed, I think, a strong community for the future. And probably the most important thing is we have preserved the beauty of the central coast of California.”

Panetta now runs the Panetta Institute for Public Policy on the CSUMB campus – a campus dedicated by another President, Bill Clinton.

“The first memories I have is Dwight Eisenhower, as President of the United States, coming here not only to play golf but to visit this beautiful area. I think others have followed suit. When I worked with Bill
Clinton he couldn’t wait to come to Monterey,” Panetta said.

In the last 50 years we heard from the people trying to change the nation. Farm workers leader Cesar Chavez was jailed in Salinas for leading a massive lettuce strike.

In a press conference, he said “I suggest to the citizens of Monterey County to build a new jail. This is a disgrace.”

Trying to make his hometown Salinas a better place now is former MLB pitcher Ernie Camacho. Camacho spent 10 years in the big leagues, including stints with the San Francisco Giants and Oakland A’s.

Camacho sat down with KION for this report.

“(To) My father and my mother, I would say ‘If I make it to the Major Leagues, would you watch me play?’ And of course they were chuckling, ‘sure son, we’ll go.’ But I was serious,” he tells KION.

But now Camacho is back home, making sure the next generation of athletes and adults are ready for the world, working for the Alisal Union School District, and making the Ernie Camacho Education Foundation.

“This park was located over there, but it doesn’t matter. The memories are all there. But we’ll make new memories and get these kids to realize what it’s all about. Hopefully they make it to where they want to, but my message remains about the education.”

And as Salinas boxer Ruben Villa remains undefeated, you can say the small cities of the Central Coast have certainly punched above their weight class.

News / Santa Cruz County / Special Reports / Top Stories

KION546 News Team

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