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What Death Row inmate attended John Marshall...

<i> From staff and wire reports</i>

What Death Row inmate attended John Marshall High?

What Nobel Prize winner attended Jefferson High?

What astronaut attended Venice High?

Rick Obrand has the answers. Obrand, an elementary school teacher in Carson, has been compiling lists of notable high school graduates for more than three decades. In fact, he has so much material that he’s preparing a book.

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“It’s kind of interesting when you find someone unusual, like the time I read Caryl Chessman went to Marshall High,” said Obrand, referring to the so-called Red-Light Bandit, who was executed in 1960 after a 12-year legal battle.

A more recent notable added to his list is Michael Milken, the indicted junk-bond king (Birmingham High).

Obrand also discovered that at least two locals were Nobel honorees: Jefferson High’s Ralph J. Bunche (Peace Prize, 1950) and David Starr Jordan’s Glenn Seaborg (chemistry, 1951). Astronaut R. Walter Cunningham attended Venice.

He found in the course of his research that, like many celebrity residents here, some high schools have changed their names: Canoga Park High used to be Owensmouth, Verdugo Hills once was Coolidge, University is the former Warren Harding High.

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While Hollywood High has a long list of famous grads--including 1935 champion miler Jason Robards--Obrand believes it still ranks behind Boston Latin High, whose alumni include writer Ralph Waldo Emerson and statesman John Hancock.

Obrand hopes to land a book contract to which he can affix his own John Hancock.

Even in December, Los Angeles couldn’t pass for a Winter Olympics site. Nevertheless, it’s one of six cities where a talent search for a spot on the Olympic luge team will be held--and in the summer at that.

Fortunately, the 3-M Luge Challenge, open to anyone between the ages of 12 and 18, will be conducted on wheeled luges. The site of the Aug. 19-20 preliminary competition will be a 300-foot-long road in Griffith Park with a sand pit at the finish to catch out-of-control lugers.

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Another example of the ecstasy of victory and the agony of de-grit.

In case you were wondering, circus star Gunther Gebel-Williams, the newest inductee into the Hollywood Wax Museum (see accompanying photo), isn’t the first celebrity to have an ersatz bellybutton on display there.

“We’ve got (boxers Mike) Tyson and (Muhammad) Ali,” said a spokesman. “I think Jane Fonda’s got a bellybutton, too.”

No telling when a young athlete will start to feel pressure. Take swimmer Elizabeth Stein, age 5. Told she was ready to advance from “polliwog” to “minnow” status in her Santa Monica class, she grew teary-eyed. “I like being a polliwog better,” she explained. And, so, her evolution has momentarily halted.

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