NEWARK—The stars will shine brightly as 15 New Jersey legends are celebrated at the third annual New Jersey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony to be held on Sunday, May 2 at NJPAC in Newark. Governor Chris Christie and First Lady Mary Pat Christie are co-chairs of the event, which has become New Jersey’s version of the Academy Awards.
This year’s Hall of Fame inductees represent the wide diversity of New Jersey’s population and include jazz great Count Basie, author Judy Blume, Supreme Court Justice William Brennan, actor Danny DeVito, baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby, American architect and designer Michael Graves, Olympic legend Carl Lewis, actor/director Jack Nicholson, suffragist Alice Paul, guitar hero Les Paul, award winning novelist Phillip Roth, popular actress Susan Sarandon, astronaut Wally Schirra, singer Frankie Valli and President Woodrow Wilson. Representatives from the NJHOF expect most if not all of the inductees and/or their families to be present to accept the award.
“With three legendary actors, a rock ‘n roll superstar, a Supreme Court Justice, the father of the electric guitar, and a pioneer in women’s rights, this iconic class of inductees gives New Jerseyans around the world much to be proud of and to celebrate,” said the event’s executive producer and Hall of Fame Foundation Board member Steve Edwards.
When asked about being honored, novelist Judy Blume who was born and raised in Elizabeth, replied, “This Jersey Girl couldn’t be more pleased.” And Frankie Valli, who will be introduced by songwriter and original member of The 4 Seasons Bob Gaudio and Jersey Boys co-producer Joe Grano, said, “I am so privileged to be joining the remarkable people in the NJ Hall of Fame. It is truly an honor to be inducted.”
The New Jersey Hall of Fame was created to honor those Jerseyans who have made significant contributions to the state, the country and the world. With plans underway for regional exhibits in all parts of the state, a mobile museum to take to communities and school districts and Walls of Fame in key locations, the Hall of Fame seeks to present young people with powerful role models, educate people about the state’s history and be a source for learning, inspiration and hope for children.
“Our first two induction ceremonies were filled with surprises,” said NJHOF executive director and ceremony co-producer Don Jay Smith. “Whether it was General David Petraeus presenting our Unsung Hero Award at last year’s event, or Yogi Berra introducing Buzz Aldrin in our first year, the audience has come to expect the unexpected. We can promise that this year’s event will again be an historic tribute to the pride of New Jersey.”
In addition to presenting awards to the Class of 2010, the New Jersey Hall of Fame will present Unsung Hero Awards to two of New Jersey’s finest killed in the line of duty: Detective Mark DiNardo of Jersey City who was slain in a shootout during a robbery attempt and Deputy Fire Chief Jimmy D’heron of New Brunswick who died after rescuing 15 people from burning building. He heroically went back into the inferno to see if there was anyone left inside. The families of these two heroes will accept on behalf of all fallen police officers and fire fighters from New Jersey.
The stage band for the ceremony will once again be the Hubcaps, comprised of great Jersey musicians, joined by some surprise musicians. There will also be a musical tribute to Les Paul featuring the Rusty Paul Group plus some very special guitar guests. Fox newscaster Harry Martin will return as the official announcer for the event, a role he has played since the inaugural ceremony in 2008.
The major sponsors for the New Jersey Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony include the accounting and consulting firm J.H. Cohn LLC, the NJEA, PNC Bank, PSE&G, Schwarz & Simon, Madison Marquette, Comcast, Cablevision, Verizon, Edison Innovation Foundation, Centurion Holdings, Continental Airlines, Short Hills Hilton, Gem Limousine, Advanced Parking Concepts, Flemington Car & Truck Country, Provident Bank, AIA-New Jersey and AT&T. More information and updates on the red carpet ceremony can be found on-line at www.NJHallofFame.org.
The star-studded event at NJPAC will be held on Sunday, May 2, beginning at 5:30 p.m. with red carpet festivities kicking off at 3:30 p.m. The public is invited to come see the celebrities arrive on the red carpet. Tickets to the ceremony cost from $30 to $90 and are available at the NJPAC box office at One Center Street in Newark, on-line at www.njpac.org or by phone through 1-888-GO-NJPAC. More information about the New Jersey Hall of Fame may be found at www.NJHallofFame.org.
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