More Culture:

April 20, 2023

Jill Biden, Paul Rudd among nominees for 2023 New Jersey Hall of Fame

Anthony Bourdain, Joe Walsh and Janet Evanovich are also included on the ballot; public voting is open through May 19

New Jerseyans have the opportunity to choose their hometown heroes over the next month as the New Jersey Hall of Fame has announced its 2023 nominees. 

Members of the public can vote for up to 10 of the 50 nominees in entertainment, arts, business, public service and sports through Friday, May 19 using this online form. The final inductees will be announced in July, and the annual induction ceremony will be held at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center in Newark. The ceremony will be streamed on the Hall of Fame's YouTube channel.

This year's performing arts nominees include Paul Rudd, a Passaic native who gained mainstream success as an actor in 1995 romantic comedy "Clueless." Over his more than three-decade career, Rudd has become a household name, known for his roles in popular films like "Ant Man," Baz Luhrmann's "Romeo + Juliet" and the "Anchorman" franchise. He most recently joined Will Ferrell on the AppleTV+ black comedy "The Shrink Next Door." 

Anthony Bourdain, a New York City native who spent much of his childhood in Bergen County, was a celebrity chef best known for his ability to find connections between international cuisine and the human condition. His television shows — including "A Cook's Tour," "No Reservations," "The Layover" and "Parts Unknown" — helped him garner success as a chef and writer. He died in 2018 while filming an episode of "Parts Unknown" in Paris.

Other performing arts nominees include Parliament-Funkadelic leader George Clinton, Oscar-winning director Brian De Palma, "All About Eve" actress Celeste Holm, 5th Dimension vocalist Marilyn McCoo, Oscar-winning actress Eva Marie Saint, American roots singer-songwriter Phoebe Snow, 1970s pop singer Tony Orlando and Grammy-winning Eagles guitarist Joe Walsh. 

Leading the pack of public service nominees is First Lady Jill Biden, a Hammonton native who grew up in Willow Grove. She has worked as an English professor at Northern Virginia Community College since 2009. A former high school teacher, Biden is the founder of the Biden Breast Health Initiative and has written two memoirs and a children's book. 

The full list of public service nominees includes former Secretary of State George Shultz, longtime U.S. Congressman Peter Rodino, former Assemblyman Steve Adubato and four former New Jersey governors: Christine Todd Whitman, William Cahill, William Livingston and Charles Edison. Richard Stockton, a Founding Father and namesake of Stockton University, and Michael Chertoff, co-author of the Patriot Act, were also nominated.

George Segal, a New York City native who moved to South Brunswick with his wife at the age of 22 and remained there for the rest of his life, was a pop artist and sculptor whose work is housed in museums and public spaces across the country. A National Medal of Arts recipient, his 1992 sculpture "Street Crossing" can be found on the campus on Montclair State University in Essex County. 

Other arts and letters nominees include bestselling novelist Janet Evanovich, historian Thomas Fleming, former CNN and HLN newscaster Susan Hendricks, Pulitzer-winning nonfiction writer John McPhee and Col. John Stevens III, the inventor of the first U.S. steam train. Poet and essayist Amiri Baraka, Pulitzer-winning composer George Theophilus Walker, New Jersey photographer George A. Tice and journalist Edmund Wilson were also cited.

Sal Paolantonio, a New York City native now living in Moorestown, has been a Philadelphia-based bureau reporter for ESPN since 1995. He was previously an Eagles beat reporter for the Inquirer and has published several books about the Eagles, former Mayor Frank Rizzo and football history. He was inducted into the All Sports Museum of Southern New Jersey earlier this year. 

The full list of sports nominees include NFL sportscaster Jim Nantz, Olympic champion figure skater Dick Button, former Dallas Cowboys wide receiver Drew Pearson, former L.A. Dodgers pitcher Orel Hershiser, BMX Hall of Famer Kathy Schachel, former New Jersey Devils general manager Lou Lamoriello, former New York Giants running back Tiki Barber, former NFL commissioner Paul Tagliabue and former WNBA player Sue Wicks. 

Peter Cancro, a Point Pleasant native, founded Jersey Mike's Subs in 1956 after working at a neighborhood sandwich shop as a teenager. The company has nearly 2,000 franchise locations in the United States, Canada and Mexico, serving made-to-order sandwiches and some breakfast items. Cancro still serves as the company's president and CEO. 

Other enterprise and business nominees include George Cooney, a Clio Award-winning creative; Lillian Gilbreth, a psychologist and educator; Janice Huff, chief meteorologist at WNBC; Denise Morrison, former president and CEO of Campbell Soup Co.; Mario Perillo, operator of an international tourism business; Dr. Leon G. Smith, an infectious disease specialist; Finn Wentworth, a commercial real estate investor; celebrity chef Dennis Foy; and Josh Weston, the former CEO of ADP. 

Previous inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame include Chelsea Handler, Antonin Scalia, Alexander Hamilton, Fran Lebowitz, Eli Manning, George R.R. Martin, Martha Stewart, Laurie Hernandez, Gloria Gaynor, Steve Forbes and Carli Lloyd. For more information about the Hall of Fame, check out its Instagram