People

Los Gatos has inspired and rewarded the efforts of many creative and accomplished people — authors, artists, actresses, inventors, athletes, musicians. Here’s LosGatos.com’s list of famous Los Gatans.

Todd Beamer

One of two Los Gatos High School graduates aboard United Airlines flight 93, which crashed into a field outside Shanksville, Pa. on September 11, 2001. Todd Beamer is believed to be one of the passengers who overcome the terrorists, preventing the hijacked plane from crashing into a site in Washington D.C. A telephone operator who spoke with the 32-year-old Oracle Corp. sales manager heard him say “Let’s roll.”

Adam Bernero

(b. November 28 1976 in Los Gatos) Major League Baseball pitcher who has pitched for the Detroit Tigers, Colorado Rockies, Atlanta Braves, Philadelphia Phillies, Kansas City Royals and the Boston Red Sox.

Ambrose Bierce

The famous columnist and author of The Devil’s Dictionary lived in Los Gatos in the 1890s.

Mark Bingham

One of the heroes of 9/11, Bingham and his mother Alice Hoaglan settled in Redwood Estates when he was around 13 years old, and Bingham later attended Los Gatos High School The owner of a successful San Francisco public relations firm, Bingham died at age 31 when hijacked flight 93 crashed in Pennsylvania. The 6 foot, 5 inch, 220 pound openly gay rugby player was likely one of the passengers who overpowered the hijackers, making it the only hijacked plane on Sept. 11 that didn’t reach its intended target.

Kari Byron

Best known as one of the builders who assist special effects whizzes Jamie Hyneman and Adam Savage on the Discovery Channel’s MythBusters, this Bay Area sculptor-turned-geek’s sex symbol graduated from Los Gatos High School.

Neal Cassady

Beat generation literary legend Neal Cassady lived at 18231 Bancroft Way, where friends Allen Ginsberg and Jack Kerouac visited him. He was the the inspiration for Kerouac’s On the Road and many poems by Allen Ginsberg. He also drove Ken Kesey’s psychedelic bus, immortalized in Tom Wolfe’s book, The Electric Kool-Aid Acid Test.

Gary Dahl

Advertising executive Gary Dahl invented the Pet Rock in 1976.

Olivia de Havilland

Class of 1934 Los Gatos High School graduate Olivia de Havilland starred in Gone With the Wind and The Adventures of Robin Hood.

Peggy Fleming

1968 Olympic gold medal winner for figure skating in 1968 Winter Games.

Joan Fontaine

Actress Joan Fontaine, Olivia de Havilland’s younger sister, attended Los Gatos High School.

Scott Frank

One of Hollywood’s best present-day screenwriters, Scott Frank grew up in Monte Sereno and attended Los Gatos High School. Frank adapted Get Shorty, Out of Sight and Minority Report for the big screen. He also wrote the screenplays for Plain Clothes, Dead Again, Little Man Tate, Malice, the 2004 remake of The Flight of the Phoenix and The Interpreter. Frank’s first directorial effort was the well-received 2007 thriller The Lookout.

Dave Goelz

The puppeteer who created and voiced Gonzo the Great and other Muppet characters once lived in Los Gatos and visits frequently.

Thomas Kinkade

Commercially successful painter of light and Christian themes.

Lord Yehudi Menuhin

Violinist Yehudi Menuhin spent part of his youth in Los Gatos and visited his parents in Los Gatos as an adult.

Tiran Porter

The original bass player of the Doobie Brothers lives in the hills above the town of the cats.

John Pugh

World famous muralist John Pugh has his studio in Los Gatos, where he practices his “art of illusion” (trompe l’oeil).

Alex Smith

The San Francisco 49ers quarterback lives in Los Gatos.

Kurtwood Smith

Smith studied theater at San Jose State University and Stanford University and joined the California Actors Theater in Los Gatos in the 1970s. He has appeared in such films as RoboCop, Dead Poets Society, Star Trek VI and Girl, Interrupted, but he’s best known for his role as Red Forman on That ’70s Show.

John Steinbeck

The Pulitzer Prize-winning author wrote Of Mice and Men and The Grapes of Wrath in his Monte Sereno home.

Scott Stillinger

The inventor of the Koosh Ball toy.

Rick Tharp

Graphic designer Rick Tharp operated a studio in Old Town from 1975 until his death in 2005, and his work helped define the identity of today’ s Los Gatos. His legacy includes the town s street signs and light post banners the newsboy logo of theLos Gatos Weekly-Times and the signs on many longtime local businesses. His impressive roster of clients included Brio Toys of Sweden, Hewlett-Packard and Mirassou Wines, among many others.

Trapt

Two members of this hard rock band, Chris Brown and Peter Charell, attended Los Gatos High School.

Charles Walton

The holder of 45 patents, mostly in electronics, his best known invention is the “prox” card, which can open doors and be “read” while inside a wallet or handbag.

Brent Walters

This Los Gatos native and expert on early church history is the director of the Centre for Early Christian Studies, as well as curator of the Ante-Nicene Archive, the largest private library in the United States related to the first three centuries of the Common Era. Walters is a lecturer at San Jose State University and graduated from SJSU with a degree in philosophy.

Steve Wozniak

Wozniak is the co-founder of Apple Computer, created along with Steve Jobs in 1976. He is a graduate of Homestead High School and has lived in Los Gatos for three decades.

Ruth Comfort Mitchell Young

Author and playwright (1882-1954) who wrote under her maiden name, Ruth Comfort Mitchell, as well as her married name, Mrs. Sanborn Young spent summers in the town of Los Gatos.

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