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The Famous And Iconic People Of San Francisco
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The Famous And Iconic People Of San Francisco

Picture of Julia Santucci
Updated: 28 November 2016
Some of the most vibrant cities in the world have been home to famous and iconic people. One of the most fascinating perks of visiting a beautiful city is being able to experience and explore a little bit of their lives. If due diligence is done, you may walk at least a few steps in their shoes. Let’s hone in on the iconic residents of San Francisco.
Robin Williams' Home in Sea Cliff, San Francisco | © Franco Folini/Flickr
Robin Williams’ Home in Sea Cliff, San Francisco | © Franco Folini/Flickr

From the funniest to the sexiest to the most intriguing, the personas in Northern California cover it all. Past and present, these hills are filled with beautiful trails, colorful buildings and endless stories. Curious where to start when working to turn reality into a living dream? Lets begin with the glamorous.

Marilyn Monroe and Joe DiMaggio

The sex icon of the 20th century and the American icon for Major League Baseball both lived in San Francisco, together. Moreover, one of them grew up here. Separately, they made history together; they created a fairy tale. Myths, legends, devastation, and surreal, true love — they’ve held it all, but their love shone the brightest. Giuseppe, Joe’s birth name, is one of eight children, and his immediate family came straight from Sicily. When Joe was a one-year-old, his parents moved the family from a small town in California to the small neighborhood known as North Beach in San Francisco. Fast forward years later when his older brother recruited Joe to sub in for their local baseball team. They had no idea of the talented little boy they were about to break from his shell. After making it with the Yankees and being thrown into the glamorous society of fame, he met the stunning, very blonde and very young Miss Monroe in 1952. Two years later, they married in Joe’s hometown of San Francisco at the City Hall. The newlyweds lived at 2150 Beach Street in the Marina for a short time as well.

City Hall, 1 Dr Carlton B Goodlett Pl, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 554 4933

2150 Beach Street, San Francisco, CA, USA

Robin Williams

Next on the list is the funniest man around, Mr. Robin Williams. The Oscar-winning actor was known for Mrs. Doubtfire (shot in San Francisco), Good Will Hunting and Hook to name a few, but he is more known for his talent to make many people smile and for being kind. San Francisco was more than a final hometown for him and his family; it was also the city where he got his start as a comedian in the smaller clubs. Ben Fong-Torres, a San Francisco columnist, told SFGate that Williams ‘maintained his Bay Area connections,’ and that even with fame, he never forgot about his roots. His last two homes were in Sea Cliff, San Francisco and Tiburon, Marin County — right over the Golden Gate Bridge.

Mariel Hemingway

Speaking of Marin County, close to Tiburon is a town called Mill Valley, known for their beautiful hiking trails and gorgeous homes, which merge into the cliffs. It was in Mill Valley that a little girl known as Mariel Hadley Hemingway was born in 1961. You might have heard a few stories about her legendary grandfather, Ernest Hemingway. Mariel’s father, Jack Hemingway, son of Hadley and Ernest, was also the godchild of the American writer Gertrude Stein. Jack married Byra, Mariel’s mother, in Paris, and they were lucky to have the American chef Julia Child as an attendee at their wedding. Mariel’s first name comes from a fishing village in Cuba, which Jack and Ernest loved. As a teenager, she starred in Woody Allen’s famous film Manhattan, and today, she has two daughters and resides in Malibu, California.

Keane Eyes Gallery, San Francisco | © rulenumberone2/Flickr
Keane Eyes Gallery, San Francisco | © rulenumberone2/Flickr
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Margaret Keane

It is known that Gertrude Stein was friends with the most famous Spanish painter Pablo Picasso. Another painter who made her mark was Margaret Keane. A known career but with a devastating twist. Tim Burton created the film Big Eyes, which is set in San Francisco where the couple Margaret and Walter Keane once lived. In this film, you are able to watch Margaret’s work rise to fame while the public was tricked into believing it was her husband who was the painter. While in San Francisco, People Magazine shared that in the 1960s, Margaret was ‘imprisoned in a room with the curtains drawn for up to 16 hours at a time,’ a demand from her cruel husband, Walter Keane, who at one time resided in North Beach, San Francisco. Today, the public is able to view Margaret Keane’s paintings at Keane Eyes Gallery.

Keane Eyes Gallery, 3040 Larkin Street, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 922 9309

Anthony Bourdain

Moving on to a more current time, let’s focus on a famous travel and food expert – enter, Anthony Bourdain. Although a true New Yorker, he was a short time resident of the foggy city, San Francisco. Known well as a chef, but mostly as a writer and world traveler. He has a way with people that brought much attention (known as the people’s chef), then mix in ‘eating and drinking’ as SF Eater wrote and you have the perfect traveling show. Mr. Bourdain lived in San Francisco for 6 months to work on his jiu-jitsu at the Ralph Gracie Academy. While here he focused his next show, Parts Unknown, covering San Francisco’s history while also tying in the the delicious food scene the northern Cal city brings. Bourdain visits a mixture of spots, from a ‘lost in time’ restaurant near the water to a heavily focused meat spot on Divisadero, and even to a seafood spot much admired by locals – Swan Oyster Depot. His overall point, some history is fading while the tech world takes over but there will always be a great spot to dine.

Ralph Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, 1166 Howard St, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 552 4777

Swan Oyster Depot, 1517 Polk St, San Francisco, CA, USA, +1 415 673 2757