Earl Warren was born in Los Angeles, California, on March 19, 1891 and grew up in Bakersfield, California. He graduated from the University of California in 1912 with a degree in legal studies, and there earned a law degree in 1914. From 1914 to 1917 he practiced as a private attorney in San Francisco and Oakland, California. In 1917, Warren enlisted in the U.S. Army as a private, and rose to the rank of first lieutenant. After his military service, he served as clerk to the judiciary committee of the California Assembly in 1919, and was Oakland's deputy attorney from 1919 to 1920. Warren served Alameda County as deputy district attorney from 1920 to 1923, chief deputy district attorney from 1923 to 1925, and district attorney from 1925 to 1929. He also served as California's attorney general from 1939 to 1943, and was a delegate to the 1944 Republican National Convention. On November 3, 1942, he was elected Governor of California, and on January 4, 1943 he was sworn into office. He was reelected to a second term in 1946, and a third term in 1951. Warren is California’s only governor ever elected to three consecutive terms.
During Warren’s tenure as governor, the United Nations Charter was signed in San Francisco in 1946, unemployment insurance increased, the state sales tax was reduced, and pensions for the elderly were raised. He developed the State Department of Mental Hygiene and led reforms of the prison system in California by establishing the Board of Corrections and the Prisoner Rehabilitation Act.
In 1953, President Eisenhower appointed Governor Warren to the U.S. Supreme Court as the fourteenth Chief Justice of the United States. Resigning from the governor's office on October 5, 1953, Warren served as Chief Justice until 1969.
In addition to the constitutional offices he held, Warren was also the vice-presidential nominee of the Republican Party in 1948, running with Thomas Dewey, and chaired the Warren Commission, which was formed to investigate the 1963 assassination of President John F. Kennedy.
Governor Earl Warren died in Washington D.C., on July 9, 1974, and is buried at the Arlington National Cemetery in Virginia. He was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom posthumously in 1981. The Earl Warren Bill of Rights Project is named in his honor. In 2007, California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger and First Lady of California Maria Shriver inducted Warren into the California Hall of Fame, located at The California Museum.