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Business leaders weigh in on Jersey talent

New Jersey is home to some of the nation’s top talent, and a new poll asked business leaders from across the state to weigh in. 

Meryl Streep at 86th Annual Academy Awards
Meryl Streep at 86th Annual Academy Awards (Michael Buckner, Getty Images)

Frank Sinatra is the best-ever singer from New Jersey, Meryl Streep is the best actor from the Garden State and Yankee catcher Yogi Berra is the state’s best athlete. Those are some of the findings of a ParenteBeard-New Jersey Chamber of Commerce survey of business leaders in the state.

What New Jersey personality would business leaders most like to have dinner with? Most respondents selected either Thomas Edison, 29 percent, or Albert Einstein, 24.5 percent. Sinatra of Hoboken, Jon Stewart of Lawrenceville, Bruce Sprinsteen of Freehold Borough, Streep of Bernardsville and Jack Nicholson of Neptune City were in the top 10.

“It should come as no surprise that business leaders would relish sitting down with two of history’s most exceptional and innovative minds,” said Thomas Bracken, president and CEO of the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce in an emailed press release Tuesday. “Edison and Einstein have inspired leaders for decades. Their reputations helped attract the best minds and talent to New Jersey for generations, which is a big reason New Jersey is one of the nation’s premier research centers today.”

Famously known as the “Chairman of the Board,” Sinatra was chosen by business leaders as the best ever singer/musician with 47 percent of votes, edging out Bruce Springsteen who received 27 percent of the votes. Whitney Houston, Count Basie, Jon Bon Jovi and Dionne Warwick followed Springsteen.

“I think one of the things Sinatra had going for him is the fact that he was around for so long, not only did he record a lot of great records, but he was in movies. He was on television for a long time and he appealed to a very wide and very broad audience, whereas Springsteen is seen as more of a rock and roll star with a little bit more narrow of an audience,” said Ray Zardetto, vice president of communications with the New Jersey Chamber of Commerce.

While several famous actors are New Jersey natives, three time Academy Award winner Meryl Streep was voted top actor from the state. Streep edged out Nicholson and Michael Douglas of New Brunswick with 42.5 percent of the vote. James Gandolfini, Susan Sarandon and John Travolta were among the others mentioned.

Yogi Berra, the winner of 13 World Series titles as either a player, manager or coach, easily took the took top athlete from New Jersey with 39 percent of the votes. Meanwhile, the New York Giants edged out the competition to take the most favorite football team, while the favorite baseball team among business leaders went to the New York Yankees.

When it comes to New Jersey vacation activities, the Jersey Shore was the landslide winner, with 71 percent of the votes.

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