It’s a Hall of a list.
Musicians Wyclef Jean, Connie Francis, Tommy James, TV’s Kelly Ripa and actor Ray Liotta are the class of 2016 performing arts inductees into the New Jersey Hall of Fame.
Journalist Connie Chung (Middletown); author Carol Higgins Clark (Washington Twp.); basketball player Carol Blazejowski (Elizabeth); boxer Chuck Wepner (Bayonne); football player Rosey Grier (Roselle); businessmen Alfred Koeppe (Manasquan) and Arthur Imperatore (Fort Lee); teacher Peace Pilgrim (Egg Harbor City) and Army officer Philip Kearny (Kearny, the town was named after him) also are in the Class of 2016.
“Induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame is the highest civilian honor that our State can bestow on someone,” said John Keegan, chairman emeritus of the NJHOF Foundation Board, in a statement released on Tuesday, Jan. 17. “It’s a celebration of New Jersey and its greatest achievers, and a recognition of role models for our next generation. This is New Jersey’s version of the Academy Awards, so attendees can expect some surprise celebrity appearances.”
The induction ceremony will take place Sunday, May 7 at Convention Hall in Asbury Park.
Jean, Newark, is the founder of the Fugees and Francis, also of Newark, was one of pop’s biggest stars in the early ’60s with hits like “Where the Boys Are.” James, whose hits include “Hanky Panky” and “I Think We’re Alone Now,” is a native of Michigan who now lives in Cedar Grove.
Liotta, born in Newark and grew up in Union, is best known for his role in the gangster classic “Goodfellas” and Ripa, born in Stratford, moved from soap operas to talk shows.
Musicians Kool and the Gang; comedian Jon Stewart; baseball player Derek Jeter; soccer player Christine Rampone; college basketball coach Dick Vitale; author James Fenimore Cooper; Fox Studio founder William Fox; philanthropists Lewis Katz and Bernard Marcus; Medal of Honor recipient Jack H. Jacobs; U.S. Senator Frank R. Lautenberg; and Morgan Stanley executive and motivational speaker Carla Harris were inducted last year.
The Hall presently does not have a permanent home.
Chris Jordan: firstname.lastname@example.org