Count Basie, Jack Nicholson Among New NJ Hall Of Fame Members

TRENTON—Challenging young people to pursue their dreams, the New Jersey Hall of Fame announced the newest class of inductees with legends and luminaries ranging from jazz great Count Basie to President Woodrow Wilson.

Governor-elect Chris Christie unveiled 15 inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame, which include music legend and inventor Les Paul, feminist Alice Paul, architect Michael Graves and baseball pioneer Larry Doby. The list included movie stars Jack Nicholson, Susan Sarandon and Danny DeVito, novelists Judy Blume and Phillip Roth and track and field superstar Carl Lewis.


In addition to Roth, Newark boasted two other Hall of Famers: music legend Frankie Valli and Supreme Court Justice William Brennan. Rounding out the list was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts Oradell resident Wally Schirra.

The Class of 2010 will be inducted at a gala red carpet ceremony on Sunday, May 2, 2010, at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. Tickets will not go on sale to the general public until the spring, but are available now to sponsors and donors. More information can be found on the website

In addition to introducing the Class of 2010, Hall of Fame officials also unveiled the site of their first regional museum, the Auditorium Building of the State Museum in Trenton. Up to now, the Hall of Fame has been a virtual museum, but is now moving forward to open the first major exhibit within the next 12 to 18 months.

“The State Museum is an appropriate site for the first of four regional locations around the state,” explained Don Jay Smith, executive director. “We are also exploring options in Newark, Atlantic City and Asbury Park for the future so that the stories of all of our remarkable inductees can be easily accessible to everyone in the state.”

Smith also outlined future plans for a Mobile Museum which will take exhibits to schools and communities around the state and several Walls of Fame, projects which will be completed as the funds are raised.

New Jersey Hall Of Fame Class Of 2010

Count Basie, Red Bank (1904 – 1984) The “Kid from Red Bank” became one of the leading figures of the swing era and one of the most beloved jazz musicians, band leaders and composers of all time.

Judy Blume,  Elizabeth (1938 – ) A popular author who has won scores of literary awards, including the National Book Foundation Medal and a Library of Congress Living Legends Award; by tackling controversial subjects she has touched a nerve with young readers and has sold more than 80 million copies of her books.

William J. Brennan, Newark (1908- 1997) A Barringer High School graduate who became a highly respected jurist, serving as a U.S. Supreme Court Justice from 1956 to 1990.

Danny DeVito,  Neptune/Asbury Park (1944 – ) actor, director, producer who gained prominence in the TV series ‘Taxi”; founder of two successful production companies, Jersey Films and Jersey Television.

Larry Doby, Paterson (1923 – 2003) Second African-American Major League Baseball player and first in the American League, this Hall of Fame baseball player grew up in Paterson.

Michael Graves,  Princeton  (1934 -) considered to be one of the great American architects of the second half of the 20th Century; recipient of many awards including National Medal of Arts and AIA Gold Medal.

Carl Lewis, Willingboro  (1961 – ) Dominant Olympic athlete and nine-time gold medal winner whose lifetime accomplishments earned him the “Sportsman of the Century” award by IOC, among many other accolades.

Jack Nicholson, Neptune (1937 – ) A Manasquan High School graduate who has become an internationally renowned actor with 12 Academy Award nominations and three wins, seven Golden Globe Awards and a Kennedy Center Honor.

Alice Paul, Mt. Laurel/Moorestown (1885 – 1977) Dedicated to securing equal rights for all women, Paul was a leader in the successful campaign for women’s suffrage that resulted in the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment.

Les Paul,  Mahwah (1915 – 2009) Paul pioneered the development of the solid body electric guitar and was the genius behind recording innovations such as overdubbing, delay effects, phasing, tape delay and multitrack recording; elected to Inventors HOF, Rock & Roll HOF and National Broadcasters HOF.

Philip Roth, Newark (1933 – ) Weequahic High School graduate whose best-selling novels have made him one of the most celebrated living American writers.

Susan Sarandon,  Edison (1946 – ) Edison High School graduate who has become a popular film and television actress known also for her political activism; a five-time Academy Award nominee with one win, she has been honored for her work as an advocate for victims of hunger and HIV/AIDS among many awards.

Wally Schirra, Oradell (1923 – 2007) A graduate of Dwight Morrow High School and NJIT, Schirra was one of the original Mercury 7 astronauts and the only person to fly in all of America’s first three space programs (Mercury, Gemini and Apollo).

Frankie Valli,  Newark (1934 – ) A musical icon, Valli became famous as the front man for The Four Seasons and is in the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame; he had 29 Top 40 hits with The Four Seasons and nine Top 40 hits as a solo artist.

Woodrow Wilson, Princeton (1856 – 1924) The 28th president of the United States also served as president of Princeton University and Governor of New Jersey; awarded Nobel Peace Prize in 1919.

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