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Santa Barbaran Biography
updated: Dec 05, 2012, 4:16 PM

By Edhat Subscriber

Who would subscribers choose if they could pick any Santa Barbaran, living or not, to read a biography about? You can pick a famous person (who may have already been written about, but there's more material), someone not well known, someone from way back or nowadays, and even a person whose name you don't know, but whose work or contribution to S.B. would be illuminating to read about.

Comments in order of when they were received | (reverse order)

 COMMENT 350628 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:30 PM

Huguette Clark, I want to know why she never lived in the mansion. :-)

 

 COMMENT 350629 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:32 PM

WJ Hollister and some of the other early ranchers.

 

 COMMENT 350631 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:40 PM

Mason B. Mason

 

 COMMENT 350632 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:44 PM

In this SMS age my reading attention deficit is set to 160 characters. If you could squeeze Jonathan Winters bio in that space, then I'd be game.

 

 COMMENT 350635 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:48 PM

Dwight Murphy

 

 NATURE BOY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 04:53 PM

News Suppress: The Wendy McCaw Story by Kitty Kelley

 

 COMMENT 350643P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:04 PM

Pearl Chase

 

 COMMENT 350647 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:17 PM

jerry harwin or huegette clark

 

 COMMENT 350649 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:21 PM

Tala'wi'wash'wit!....

 

 COMMENT 350650 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:24 PM

Storke

 

 COMMENT 350651P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:25 PM

Roger Dodger

 

 PURPLERIDER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:27 PM

Picking one person was harder then I thought but I would chose Earl Warren. He lived here, right?

 

 COMMENT 350655 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:30 PM

Jonesey

 

 NATURE BOY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:33 PM

Edie Sedgwick is from here, and her bio "Edie" is really good. She was Andy Warhol's "Factory Girl" and the phrase "superstar" was first coined about her. She passed away in 1971 but her husband still lives here, and works at the main Post Office.

 

 COMMENT 350662 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:45 PM

@Natureboy - He actually used to work in the Goleta postal processing center but has since retired.

 

 COMMENT 350663 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:45 PM

Barry Berkus.

 

 COMMENT 350667 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 05:55 PM

Dale Francisco

 

 COMMENT 350668P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:04 PM

T.C. Boyle, author extraordinaire and bon vivant.

 

 COMMENT 350669 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:04 PM

667.... there's a cure for insomnia.

 

 STACE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:07 PM

Neal Graffy

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:18 PM

Someone might be writing it soon I feel like HELL....Barnaby Conrad.

 

 COMMENT 350676 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:24 PM

I was gonna say Jonesey, too! That or Moses.... He called me Snow White one day. He was great....

 

 COMMENT 350679 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 06:39 PM

The guy who used to hang around Goleta wearing heavy-heavy clothing, even on the hottest days, and covered his face as well. He ended his life on the tracks just north of Fairview a couple years back, but I always wondered what was the story behind this man.

 

 NATURE BOY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 07:08 PM

Edie's husband was frequently at the counter at the main PO. I saw him there within the past 6-8 months. Hope he's doing well in retirement!

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 07:12 PM

Jonsey I loved Jonsey!

 

 COMMENT 350704 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 07:24 PM

Thomas Mann.

 

 COMMENT 350707 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 07:30 PM

Does anybody know what became of Jonsey? I loved seeing him downtown at Fiesta time.

 

 COMMENT 350715P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 07:55 PM

Well, the most read biography of a SB native, living or dead is, "Island of the Blue Dolphin." If you never read that as a kid, start there. Then I second Earl Warren, Jonathan Winters, the early ranchers (de la Guerra, Hollister, etc.), Barry Berkus, ... One of the most fascinating and interesting contributors to SB is Pearl Chase.

 

 COMMENT 350718 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:03 PM

Already have read Julia Child's and Rob Lowe's is on my short list.

 

 COMMENT 350721P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:09 PM

What a fun question and good responses - it'd be good to read a compendium of all the people mentioned in this posting. Thank you posters.

 

 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:24 PM

Dorothy Lyons

Young person's horse book author and Connemara pony owner (stable on lower Puente), whose books are out of print. I have several but not enough. I probably should've seriously collected decades ago when I found that out. http://www.bookthink.com/0086/86lyo.htm

Flicka, did you know her?

I thought of TC Boyle too!
And I could think of dozens, nay, oodles more.

 

 NATURE BOY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:26 PM

Oprah? She's not a native, but what i've heard of her rags-to-riches life sounds interesting & inspirational.

 

 COMMENT 350726P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:32 PM

Harriet Miller

 

 COMMENT 350731P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:39 PM

Aldous Huxley, but he was only a visiting prof. MORE about Julia Child, bless her heart.

 

 COMMENT 350738 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:55 PM

borgatelo

 

 COMMENT 350740P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 08:59 PM

A weekly column on Edhat featuring the life of a renowned Santa Barbaran would be good reading.
Let's remember Martha Graham, also. Other SBHS renowned former student bios and pics are seen in a display near the SBHS principal's office.

 

 COMMENT 350742P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:21 PM

Easy read TMS it's already been written

 

 COMMENT 350745P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:34 PM

I second Martha Graham, though her autobiography is wonderful enough. Also Ganna Walska, and the man who was briefly her husband, the "White Lama" Theos Bernard, who disappeared mysteriously in the mountains of Tibet or someplace like that. I'd love to know more about Huguette and Andree Clark and their beautiful young ostracized French mother. Has Vanity Fair done a story on them yet? I think they did live in Bellosguardo early in the century (I mean the last century). The Tea Gardens (I know, not a person, but quite a character). Mason B. Mason! yes.

 

 REXOFSB agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:40 PM

@707: I heard that Jonesy died some years back. Despite his colorful persona, he was not a nice man. Not at all.

Jonesy was a local street person who wore flamboyant outfits and flirted outrageously with the ladies. He also had a hair-trigger temper and could turn extremely nasty at the drop of a hat. One time he picked a fight with the wrong transient at Wendy's, when it was on State Street where part of Paseo Nauseam is now, and wound up getting seriously stabbed.

Perhaps everyone who remembers Jonesy fondly forgot about the pedophilia allegations leveled at him--allegations that were never proven, but nevertheless backed up by more than one little girl. Jonesy lived in or near an old school bus in a vacant lot off of Cabrillo Boulevard. It was there that police said he made sexual advances toward several elementary school-age little girls. As the criminal investigation began Jonesy simply slunk out of town, never to return to SB. I heard years later that he'd finally died.

Jonesy was "colorful," to be sure, but he was a parent's worst nightmare come true.

 

 SBBEEBOY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 09:57 PM

The Angry Poodle, Nick Welsh.
What an amazing man!

 

 COMMENT 350750P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:00 PM

Wendy McCaw

 

 COMMENT 350751P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:04 PM

My favorite person to learn more about is Marguerite Doe Courtney Rogers Ravenscroft. She was the next door neighbor of Ganna Walska back in the day. She was born into wealth in Northern California in the late 1890s, but moved here as soon as she was 18. She volunteered to drive an ambulance in World War I (as many privileged young Americans did). When she returned to Santa Barbara, she raised horses and dogs. She supported animal shelters all over the US. Many humane society buildings still bear her name (including the pet memorial area at the SB Humane Society), though she's been gone over 40 years.

 

 NATURE BOY agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-05 10:18 PM

I've never heard of Jonesy. Can anyone tell me more?

 

 COMMENT 350763 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 06:57 AM

Joaquin Murrieta, Paul Orfalea, Essam Khashoggi, Iya Falcone, Harold Simmons, Michael Towbes, Eli Luria

 

 COMMENT 350765P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 07:03 AM

Hadn't thought of Howard Simmons - he's kind of like the Sheldon Adelson of Santa Barbara. He's remembered for helping fund the Swift Boat assaults and for having a $30,000 water bill one month during our prolonged draught. Yes, might be interesting to read about him.

 

 COMMENT 350777 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 07:35 AM

Dario Pini

 

 COMMENT 350779 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 07:42 AM

Yes, biographies of the local corporate raiders that made (b)millions by leaving thousands of Americans without jobs. American history at its finest.

 

 REXOFSB agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 07:53 AM

@NATUREBOY: Jonesy arrived in SB in the mid-1960s. He was a colorful dresser. A typical outfit might include bright yellow pants, a purple shirt, red & green scarves, etc. He had quite an eye for the ladies, the younger and prettier the better. He spent his days traipsing up and down State Street, flirting with women and interacting with the transients, as they were called then. He carried around around a tambourine with which he made a lot of racket. Tourists and locals alike regarded Jonesy as "local color," which he definitely was. He may or may not have been a drunk, I don't remember.

But he did have a nasty temper, and cops investigated many instances of fisticuffs and screaming matches between Jonesy and other vagrants. Nothing serious, though, until he got himself stabbed at Wendy's after provoking a fight with another jerk who turned out to be armed with a knife.

The people who didn't find Jonesy charming were downtown workers, who got to witness his schizophrenic personality first-hand as he made his rounds, and his overtly sexual overtures were not deemed to be cute by a lot of women he bothered.

And then came the unpleasantness with the child-molestation allegations. But by then, Jonesy had worn out his welcome with a lot of people due to his temperament, so when the alleged pedophelia came to light and he found himself the subject of a criminal investigation, Jonesy hit the road.

Jonesy was only in SB for a few years, but he really does remain one of our most unforgettable characters. Not the kind you'd like to bring home for dinner, but unforgettable nonetheless.

 

 COMMENT 350797 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 08:19 AM

Max Fleishman.

 

 COMMENT 350798 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 08:19 AM

YIN YANG, I used to help Dorothy Lyons care for her horses when I was a young girl (this would be mid 1980s). She was a real character, full of stories. Always gave me a cup of tea, and she had this hilarious Doberman who would back up and try to sit on your lap.

I learned to jump on a Connemara pony that she bred and raised.

I'd love to read a bio of her!

 

 COMMENT 350803 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 08:37 AM

Ganna Walska (nee Hanna Puacz Walska d'Eingorn Fraenkel Cochran McCormick Mathews Bernard. Friend of Huguette Clark and reported to be worth 2.5 to 3 billion in todays dollars. Her autobiography "Always Room at the Top" is unreadable. Google "Citizen Kane" and see that she and Harold McCormick (brother of Stanley McCormick of Riven Rock) were said to be models for the film, along with William Randolph Hearst.

 

 FRANKFROST agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 08:43 AM

Nick Welsh, yes! But if he's too busy, I've got a 450 page autobiography, 1953-1990 anyone can get on line if they ask me.

 

 COMMENT 350808 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 08:45 AM

Lois Capps or Janet Wolf. They'd be short and not many words of accomplishment. They'd be totally baffling as to how they were elected and what they've done that is deemed worthy. Like the Steve Jobs biography (Ok, I do read books!) I hope that whatever book idea is being trolled for here, I hope that they interview the opposite opinions. Seems Santa Barbarans are into glorifying everyone and every sneeze.

George Plimpton? ...oh he wasn't from Santa Barbara. Great guy though.

 

 COMMENT 350810 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 08:51 AM

I knew Jonesy back in the early 80's once you got past the 'act" he put on for his fans he was nothing but a small-minded bitter man. If anybody recalls there was characterat the same time who hung out on lower State Street who would cover himself with gold spray paint.

 

 ARCHIE agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 09:41 AM

Jose Lobero

 

 COMMENT 350854 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 09:46 AM

Nick Welsh -- He's an excellent writer and investigative reporter who has contributed so much to our understanding of events in Santa Barbara over the years.

 

 COMMENT 350863 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 10:03 AM

Maybe someone should start a slightly different thread for just recalling "unforgettable SB characters," or, at this point, maybe semi-hijacking this one is okay. Several people have mentioned the late Mason B. Mason who held down the fort in front of Borders for many years. I also recall a guy, sort of the anti-Mason who used to play the bagpipes (badly) downtown and at the beach driving many crazy 20 or so years ago.

 

 BASENJI MOM agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 10:47 AM

679, I have wondered about that guy too! I remember if I looked towards him he would freeze. I think he though he was invisible if he did not move. Interesting soul he was. I'm glad someone else found him as interesting as I.

 

 COMMENT 350895 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 11:00 AM

Harriett Miller, former Mayor of our fair city.

 

 SLIPROCK9 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 11:22 AM

Re: Jonesy. Years ago, after Jonesy left S.B., I was in a coffee shop in Nevada City with an S.B. friend who had moved to Auburn (who also remembered him) and he walked in -- exactly the same as always. We were blown away. This past year I was visiting the same friend and we were viewing Auburn galleries. One artist had done a picture of Jonesy, who looked the same as always again. There was talk about where he was from; the people there said Newcastle, CA. Definitely a memorable character -- sad he was not a nice man.
Re: Dorothy Lyons. Those of you who knew her probably do not know that she was also an artist. She belonged to the S.B. Art Association. I would pick her up and take her and her art to the shows. She was quite proud of her Association membership.
I second Harriet Miller!

 

 COMMENT 350912 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 11:58 AM

The Indian Modoc.

 

 COMMENT 350984 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 02:20 PM

Nicholas Den

That pioneer had an AMAZING interesting life.
It'd make a great movie.

 

 COMMENT 351064 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 04:48 PM

YinYang I'm curious about your comments on Dorothy Lyons- you mentioned she was a Young person's horse book author and Connemara pony owner (stable on lower Puente)

I'm wondering about those stables on Puente - that was her stables where she kept the Connemara ponies that she had? There's one there now that looks like a Connemara - I'd love to be educated about that stable, since I drive by it often.

 

 COMMENT 351077 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 05:03 PM

Blessed. Love that guy.

 

 COMMENT 351113 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 06:09 PM

Pearl Chase, The Italian impact on SB (including Borgatello), More about Chinatown. Oh Neal Graffy, keep writing!

 

 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 09:21 PM

Sorry for continuing the thread jack from books to memories and anecdotes, but this is a thread full of great info, local history and lots of material to add to the reading list.

I'll be googling a lot of names, if not reading books, starting with Alice Keck Park.

679 and Basenji Mom, thanks for remembering that poor man. For those not familiar, the fact that he wore a welder's mask might tip you off... curious and so very sad.

One decent thing about Jonesy -- he repaid his debts, that I knew of. He used to borrow a few bucks from a music store on Figueroa and he was very good about repaying when his monthly check arrived. The money went to food; I never saw him drunk (unless I couldn't tell because he was pretty crazy). I had contact with him around 1976; he never crossed a line with me. I am not wholly surprised at what is stated here about him. Also, his bicycle decorations were as big a part of the shtick as his clothing, musical instruments and flowers.

798, how wonderful that you knew and rode with Dorothy Lyons! Thanks for posting. I have a few years on you, but I rode at Garth Shoop's stable at the top of Puente, which was split with Bob Mastagni and his Belgians. (RIP, Bob. You are still loved and missed.)

 

 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 09:32 PM

064, I haven't been on Puente in a long time, but I'd say her stable is/was the one before Via Cayente. I don't know, but I assumed she lived there. Nice red trim and white paint. Of course that was many decades ago. I so regret not writing her a fan letter when she was alive. At least she could've gotten the missive through the Sage Hens. It was Jean S. who told me she'd passed. Best article I've found so far:
http://www.bookthink.com/0086/86lyo.htm

If Ed wants me to start a fresh thread, I'm happy to. We can make it "Old SB Equestrians." The readers too, not just the subjects! lol

 

 YIN YANG agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-06 09:39 PM

Last post, I promise. (I'm so happy to see other fans and garner info that I got carried away.) Dorothy Lyons wrote an autobiography in 1983, "The Devil Made the Small Town."
Bibliography:
http://www.bookthink.com/0086/86bib.htm

 

 COMMENT 351225P agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 01:22 AM

The Dabney family. That would be a real page turner.

 

 ROGER DODGER agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 09:10 AM

I'm not sure of the whole story between the Homeless Type and Jonsey after reading Rex's account but I too was a transient then. The person that stabbed Jonsey was seriously 5150 he was always hitting people up for cigarettes. He would get kinda nutty if he didn't have a cigarette, I always had smokes and always passed em out they were pretty cheap back then. I'm pretty sure I was at FellowShip Hall when that happened across the street not sure it was like 30 years ago. I do know however that Jonsey was stabbed in the back by this guy while he was sitting down. Weather or not he made the guy mad is one thing the coward stabbed Jonsey in the back..I think Barney might know the story as well as the story of Jonsey I think Barney knew of him quite well..

 

 COMMENT 351318 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 09:47 AM

When I suggested Jonesey as an interesting subject for a local Bio I knew the people that knew him would have something to say. Thanks for all the info, I feel like I got a mini Bio about him here. I watched him in action in a semi empty Arlington Theater about 30 years ago. He kept moving from seat to seat, ever so stealthly, as he honed in on a couple of young 20 something year old girls. Nothing bad happened, they got up and moved away from him, it was comical to watch. Good or bad, he made his mark on SB, that's for sure.

 

 COMMENT 351340 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-07 10:40 AM

Who were/are the Dabneys, 225P?

 

 COMMENT 351916 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-09 09:54 AM

The Ranch Papers: A California Memoir [Hardcover]
Jane Wheelwright (Author) This is a memoir by Jane(holister) Wheelwright. I think I got it at the library, but it is Available at amazon.

 

 COMMENT 352500 agree helpful negative off topic

2012-12-10 05:50 PM

Today, I'd like Peter Sklar's story.

 

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