Growing Up in O.C.: Sugar Ray’s Mark McGrath Found Paradise at the Beach

b. 1968, raised in  Newport Beach
Sugar Ray lead singer, actor, TV host, and grand marshal (with Leslie Mann) of the 2014 Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade

I was 8 when we moved from Connecticut to Newport Beach. When we drove to the airport my mom said, “Why are you so sad, Marcus?” And I said, “Mom, the kids tell me that everybody who goes to California, their parents get divorced.” All I knew, then, about Newport Beach was palm trees and surfing and—prophetically—divorce. That’s what happened to my parents a couple years after moving there. Divorce was part of the fabric of Newport Beach, you know?

Life was truly a paradise growing up in the beach area … riding bikes on the peninsula and going to the Fun Zone, getting a slice at Pizza Pete’s, going down to The Wedge and bodysurfing if there were no waves at Blackies or 56th Street. I ran around the Big Canyon golf course with my buddy, McG, the film director. He and I would run around on skateboards, terrorizing the neighborhoods all over Harbor Hills.
For a whole summer, McG and I would go to the movies every night and we’d sit a seat apart, praying to the lord above that somehow, two beautiful girls would take the seats next to us. It never happened.

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