LeBron, Take Your Ball and Go Home

California Depends Too Much on Imported Stars Like King James. We Need to Develop More Young Prospects.

Go back home to Ohio, LeBron James.

Yes, as a fan, I’m happy to see the world’s greatest basketball player relocate to California and join my favorite team, the Los Angeles Lakers.

But as a Californian, I fear LeBron is the last thing our state needs.

His arrival is a high-profile symptom of one of our state’s big problems: California tends to favor flashy outsiders who are older, proven, and wealthy over our young, homegrown compatriots who haven’t succeeded yet.

Comparing LeBron to his young new teammate, point guard Lonzo Ball, …

The Murder That Made Us Celebrity-Obsessed

In 1922, the Mysterious Death of Director William Desmond Taylor Sparked America's Hunger for Scandal

I was 9 years old when I first learned about the murder of 1920s movie director William Desmond Taylor. Taylor’s killing was one of several scandals—others included the “Fatty” Arbuckle …

Where Would L.A. Be Without Al Cowlings?

Twenty Years Ago, He and His Ford Bronco Saved O.J. Simpson’s Life. The Trial That Followed Changed Us All.

Twenty years ago this month, Al Cowlings drove his friend—the football star, broadcaster, actor, and soon-to-be-accused murderer O.J. Simpson—around the freeways of greater Los Angeles in a white Ford Bronco, …

Commencement Speeches Are For Suckers

Students Want Rap Stars. Parents Want Astronauts. Donors Want Publicity. What’s a College President to Do?

College presidents—and I was one for 22 years—have few more thankless jobs than procuring (and that’s the right word) commencement speakers.

The expectation of graduates and their families is that a …

Dear Alec Baldwin, L.A. Ain’t For You

Yes, The Purplish Light of Southern California Does Wonders for Aging Movie Stars. But If You’re Trying to Escape New York, You’re Coming to the Wrong Place.

Dear Alec Baldwin,

Let me be the first to welcome you to the great state of California.

I know you haven’t arrived yet. But, in a piece published in New York magazine …

Why I Worship a Forgotten Starlet

The Hollywood Obsession That Changed My Life

Perhaps you’ve heard of Ann Dvorak. She made headlines in early 1932 with a coveted role in Scarface, a film produced by Howard Hughes. Reporters called the 19-year-old actress “Hollywood’s …