Bruce Lee, Kristi Yamaguchi Among California Hall of Fame's 2015 Class

by Erik Ortiz /
Image: Bruce Lee in 1978
Bruce Lee in 1978's Game of DeathColumbia Pictures / Courtesy Everett Collection

Late martial arts master Bruce Lee and Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi have earned icon status in their respective fields — and now they're home state heroes, too.

The pair were among eight inducted Wednesday into the California Hall of Fame, which celebrates the careers of the state's top leaders and legends in various professions.

This year's other honorees include Ellen Ochoa, the first Latina astronaut in space, actor Robert Downey Jr., "Peanuts" cartoonist Charles M. Schulz, and NBC Nightly News anchor Lester Holt.

Only two other Asian Americans have been among the 100 inductees since the Hall of Fame ceremony started in 2006: AIDS researcher Dr. David Ho and Oakland-born author Amy Tan.

Lee, who hailed from San Francisco's Chinatown, died in 1973 at age 32, but remains a popular figure as a martial arts film star.

Yamaguchi, 44, was born in the Bay Area town of Hayward, and won the gold medal in women's figure skating in 1992. The star skater, whose Japanese-American grandparents were placed into internment camps during World War II, became the first Asian-American woman to win Olympic gold in figure skating.

"It was a fun evening and true honor," she tweeted after the ceremony.

The Sacramento-based California Museum will host an exhibition on this year's class of inductees through next August.

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