NJ Hall of FameApr 12, 2022 03:42PM ● By Joe Nicastro
Enterprise | Oradell (1923-2007)
Wally Schirra was born in Hackensack and raised in Oradell, graduating from Dwight Morrow High School and attending the New Jersey institute of Technology. He finished his BS in aeronautical engineering at the US Naval Academy. A trained fighter pilot, he flew more than 90 combat missions in the Korean War and was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross and the Air Medal for his service. Schirra was chosen as one of the original seven American astronauts and in 1962 became the fifth American in space. He is the only person to fly in all of America’s first three space programs – Mercury, Gemini, and Apollo. He logged almost 300 hours in space and was awarded the NASA Distinguished Service Medal posthumously. His wit and engaging personality manifested itself to the world when he played “Jingle Bells” on his harmonica while on a Gemini mission in space. After retiring from the service, he became a popular CBS News Consultant and he was co-anchor with Walter Cronkite and Arthur C. Clarke in covering the first Apollo landing on the moon. In later years, Wally co-authored “The Real Space Cowboys” with Ed Buckbee and contributed to the bestselling book “In the Shadow of the Moon.” He died on May 3, 2007.
Arts & Entertainment | Neptune (1937- )
Jack Nicholson was raised in Neptune and graduates from Manasquan High School before heading to California to pursue an acting career. He found initial success as a writer and director. A break landed him a part in “Easy Rider” and he never looked back, becoming a hugely successful actor, director, and producer. One of the most honored actors of all time; he has earned more Oscar nominations with six Awards, a long list of critics groups’ awards and Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Film Institute. He is the only person to be in two State Halls of Fame, the California Hall of Fame and now the New Jersey Hall of Fame. We are proud to remind the world that Jack Nicholson was nurtured here in New Jersey.
General | Elizabeth (1938- )
With more than 80 million books sold and translated into 31 languages, Judy Blume is one of the most influential and best known authors of books for young readers. Growing up in Elizabeth, New Jersey, Judy spent her childhood making up stories, a talent she turned into a remarkable career. Not only is she beloved by readers young and old, she is applauded by the critics who have bestowed many honors on her including the Library of Congress Living Legends Award, the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters, and the American Library Association’s Lifetime achievement Award. Judy also is a longtime advocate of intellectual freedom and works tirelessly to protect the freedom to read. She serves on many boards and foundations, including the National Coalition against Censorship. Now, 28 books and many years later, the shy student from Elizabeth is now a member of the New Jersey hall of Fame.
Sports | Paterson (1923-2003)
Larry Doby grew up in New Jersey and became the pride of Paterson. A star high school athlete, Larry joined the Newark Eagles in the Negro Leagues at only 17. After two years of military service during World War II, he signed with the Cleveland Indians just 11 weeks after Jackie Robinson broke baseball’s color barrier with the Brooklyn Dodgers. As the American League’s first black player, Larry Doby endured bigotry and prejudice with class, becoming a seven-time All-Star, leading the Indians to a World Series title and finishing second MVP second black manager in the Major Leagues. Widely respected as a talented athlete and manger, he had a profound influence on the game and was voted into the Baseball Hall of Fame in 1998. Today’s induction into the New Jersey Hall of Fame shines as a well deserved spotlight on a role model for the ages: Larry Doby.
Historical | Mt. Laurel/Moorestown (1885-1977)
Alice Stokes Paul was the architect of some of the most outstanding political achievements on behalf of women in the 20th century. Born on January 11, 1885 to Quaker parents in Mt. Laurel, New Jersey, Alice Paul dedicated her life to the single cause of securing equal rights for all women. She founded the National Woman’s Party in 1914 and led the first picketers to the White House gates in the name of women’s suffrage. When women won the right to vote in 1920, Paul turned her focus to the Equal Rights Amendment (ERA) which she authored in 1923. She worked for women’s rights internationally and founded the World Woman’s Party in 1938 with its headquarters in Geneva, Switzerland. Paul then succeeded in getting a sexual discrimination clause written into Title VII of the 1964 Civil Rights Act. She lobbied Representatives to pass the ERA from her wheelchair in a nursing home in Moorestown, until her death in 1977. Though the ERA has yet to be ratified, her legacy lives on through the work of the Alice Paul Institute. Based at her childhood home, Paulsdale in Mount Laurel, NJ, API’s educational programs, tours and events fulfill its mission to preserve Alice Paul’s legacy to develop future leaders.