Today's luminaries in their own fields include Jacques Cousteau, Fernando Valenzuela, Stevie Wonder, Bob Hope and William A. Warriner.
To rose fanciers, Warriner, 64, of Tustin, is a superstar. Unquestionably, he's one of the world's premier rose breeders, but like most superstars, talking about his accomplishments makes him uncomfortable.
"Actually I don't mind talking about what I've done so long as it doesn't sound like I'm boasting," Warriner said, as he walked among some of the 100,000 seedlings he oversees in greenhouses in Irvine where he develops new rose strains for a research facility of Jackson & Perkins, the world's largest rose grower. "I've made a lot of good roses, and I've worked very hard doing it."
He added: "I've received a lot of publicity, which satisfied my ego, and that made me feel good because I know I've done well in my work."
Warriner is the only rose hybridizer in the 40-year history of the All-American Rose Society to win All-American honors for three new breeds in one year, sort of like winning horse racing's Triple Crown. He named those roses Love, Honor and Cherish.
Usually, "I don't get that sentimental about it. I think of it just as a very enjoyable job," Warriner said, likening his work to that of a songwriter. "You just keep trying to find another hit."
This year only one of his roses won All-American honors. He named it Sheer Bliss, a flower that took seven years to breed and is one of his 12 champion roses he has developed over two decades.
"Warriner is a very modest man," said George Rose, executive director of Iowa-based All-American Rose Selections Inc., which tests and gives awards for new roses, "but there's no doubt that he's the No. 1 rose breeder in the United States."
With that reputation, Warriner is greeted like as a superstar when traveling abroad to visit other rose breeders. For instance, in recent visits to China and Japan "they treated us very graciously," said Warriner, who also received a rare conducted tour of the private gardens of the Imperial Palace in Tokyo.
Warriner is now attempting to develop a group of rose varieties that can be used in potted plants to compete with chrysanthemums and African violets, a project that leads rose industry growers to question Warriner's claim that he'll retire next year.
"I'm going to retire," he said.
To what? "I'll find out," he answered.
Rik Carter is just a regular guy who wants a career making horror films like the five-minute chiller he produced at Orange Coast College titled "I Dare Ya." He's already won five awards for it in film contests.
Actually, Carter says his earlier five-minute film called "Horror Brunchill" is his favorite. "It's pretty gory," he said.
In his early days, Carter said, he was "the kid on the block who always told the best ghost stories," and today he wants to make films that frighten people so much "that they're afraid to leave the theater after the curtain drops."
Carter, 30, of Orange, claims that he was too small to play football so he thought making scary films would attract girls. But now he has another reason for it all: "I love to scare people."
John J. Brugaletta, 48, of Fullerton had a ready explanation when someone suggested his recently published poem titled "Lust for the Quaint Old Ways" was incongruous at best. "I don't feel that way," said the Cal State Fullerton professor of English and comparative literature. "It's a poem that's lightly and playfully erotic and talks about the old-fashioned ways of making love." Yep.
Acknowledgments--Former model Debbie Fabricant, 40, of Fullerton, who once owned a cooking school and now is a restaurant proprietor, was named Woman of the Year by North Orange County Business and Professional Women's Club. She'll get the award next Wednesday at Penache, Purveyor of Fine Food, the restaurant she owns.
Due to an editing error, Herbert J. Vida's People column did not appear Tuesday.