Famous People From Long Beach
From musicians to actors and professional athletes, Long Beach has produced a slew of famous people over the years. Here are a few of the stand-outs, and some interesting trivia about each of them.
Did you know that Nicolas Cage was born into the Coppola family? It's true. Cage was born in Long Beach in 1964 to choreographer Joy Vogelsang and literature professor August Coppola and is the nephew of famous film director Francis Ford Coppola. He changed his last name to “Cage” early in his career to avoid the appearance of nepotism as Coppola’s nephew. Cage won an Academy Award, Golden Globe, and Screen Actors Guild Award for his performance in Leaving Las Vegas, and has appeared in countless blockbusters including The Rock, Face/Off, and Con Air. His movie Gone in 60 Seconds even has a scene shot in Long Beach’s famous dive bar Joe Jost’s!
80’s poster icon Bo Derek (born Mary Cathleen Collins) was born here in Long Beach. It was her role in the romantic comedy 10 with Dudley Moore, where she’s in a dream sequence racing towards him in that now famous skin colored swimsuit, that launched her into “sex symbol” status. Derek’s first husband was a full 30 years older than her but has since passed away. She has been in a long-term relationship with Sex in the City star John Corbett for the past 15 years. Derek is also a horse lover and riding enthusiast.
Movie star Cameron Diaz was actually born in San Diego but grew up in Long Beach where she attended Los Cerritos Elementary School and Long Beach Polytechnic High School with famous rapper Snoop Dogg. Being a true California girl Diaz loves to surf and has even broken her nose a few times in surfing accidents. Her early career includes fan favorites The Mask, My Best Friend’s Wedding, and There’s Something About Mary. Diaz has been nominated for four Golden Globes for her work in Being John Malkovich, Vanilla Sky, Gangs of New York, and There’s Something About Mary.
Snoop Dogg, born Calvin Cordozar Broadus Jr., was born in Long Beach and grew up on the East side of the city. He, along with Nate Dogg, Lil’ ½ Dead, and Warren G even had a group called 213 after their Long Beach Area code. His rap name comes from a childhood nickname, “Snoopy,” which his family gave him because of his appearance. Snoop married his high school sweetheart, Shante Taylor, and they have three children together. Snoop Dogg is also first cousins with R&B singers Brandy and Ray J.
Basketball player Russell Westbrook was born and raised here in Long Beach. His accomplishments in the NBA are very notable, including being a seven-time NBA All-Star and two-time NBA All-Star Game Most Valuable Player. Westbrook was selected fourth overall in the 2008 NBA Draft by the Oklahoma City Thunder. During his senior year at Leuzinger High School, he averaged 25.1 points and 8.7 rebounds per game. His wife, Nina Earl, also played basketball, and they just had their first son, Noah, in 2017.
Billie Jean King
This former World Number One professional tennis player is a Long Beach native too. During her impressive career, she won 39 Grand Slam titles: 12 in singles, 16 in women’s doubles, and 11 in mixed doubles. She grew up in a very athletic family and also excelled at baseball and softball. As a child, she played shortstop and was on a team at the age of 10 with girls 4-5 years older than her who went on to win the Long Beach softball championship. King’s knack for winning certainly started early. King is also a well-known pioneer for gender equality and has a passion for social justice.