Wilmington is a city in and the county seat of New Hanover County, North Carolina, United States. The population was 75,838 at the 2000 Census. A July 1, 2008 United States Census Bureau estimate places the population at 100,192. Wilmington is the principal city of the Wilmington Metropolitan Statistical Area, a metropolitan area that covers New Hanover, Brunswick, and Pender counties in southeastern North Carolina, which had an estimated population of 347,012 as of July 1, 2008. It was named in honor of Spencer Compton, the Earl of Wilmington, who was Prime Minister under George II. Wilmington was settled on the Cape Fear River and offers its historic downtown with its one mile long Riverwalk as a main tourist attraction. It is minutes away from nearby beaches. The National Trust for Historic Preservation named Wilmington, North Carolina one of its 2008 Dozen Distinctive Destinations. City residents have the advantage of living nestled between the river and the ocean with Wrightsville Beach a short 20 minute drive from downtown. In 2003 the city received, through an act of Congress, the designation of "A Coast Guard City". The city is also home port for the USCGC Diligence, a United States Coast Guard medium endurance cutter.. Wilmington is also known as the childhood home of basketball great Michael Jordan and journalist David Brinkley; famous Wilmington natives include Robert Ruark, Sonny Jurgenson, Charles Kuralt, Charlie Daniels, Roman Gabriel, Meadowlark Lemon, Trot Nixon and Alge Crumpler. The city produced four Medal of Honor recipients, Edwin Anderson, Jr. who won it in Vera Cruz, Mexico, in 1914; Eugene Ashley, Jr. , posthumously in Vietnam in 1971; William D. Halyburton, Jr. posthumously on Okinawa in 1945 and Charles P. Murray, Jr. , in France in 1944. It is also home to the World War II Battleship USS North Carolina (BB-55). Now a war memorial, the ship is open to public tours and is on display across from the downtown port area. The town is home to the University of North Carolina Wilmington, the Wilmington Hammerheads USL soccer team, the training camp site for the Charlotte Bobcats and the Cape Fear Museum. The city is home to EUE Screen Gems Studios, the largest TV and movie production facility outside of California. "Dream Stage 10," the facility's newest soundstage is the third largest in the US and houses the largest special effects water tank in North America. Since the studios opening in 1984, Wilmington has become a major center of American film and television production; motion pictures such as A Walk To Remember, Blue Velvet, Weekend at Bernie's, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, Empire Records, Cape Fear, Black Knight, 28 Days, The Crow (death place of Brandon Lee), Nights in Rodanthe and the controversial Dakota Fanning film Hounddog; as well as television shows such as Matlock, Surface, The WB's Dawson's Creek and One Tree Hill have been produced there. Hundreds of films, documentaries, and television series have been filmed here.