Famous New Jerseyans we lost in 2017
As each year winds down we tend to take stock of our memories. The personal accomplishments as well as setbacks, then those collective memories we share. The big news events, the joys and agonies of the teams we follow, etc.. As 2017 nears its close, here's a list of famous people from New Jersey we lost this year.
J. Geils, musician
February 20, 1946 - April 11, 2017
John Warren "J" Geils Jr. was known as the leader of The J. Geils Band. He was a guitarist and is not to be confused with their lead singer Peter Wolf. They were known for such hits as "Love Stinks", "Centerfold", "Freeze Frame" and more. He grew up in Morris Plains, New Jersey. His father worked at Bell Labs as an engineer and was a huge jazz fan. His father's musical taste influenced his direction.
Charlie Murphy, comic actor
July 12, 1959 - April 12, 2017
He was the older brother to Eddie Murphy. Perhaps best known as a cast member and writer on Chappelle's Show, he also starred in movies like "Jungle Fever", "Harlem Nights", "Night At The Museum" and others. He was a resident of Tewksbury, New Jersey and sadly passed away from leukemia at the age of 57.
John F. Russo, politician
July 11,1933 - August 12, 2017
He was a longtime former state senator and Senate president in Ocean County, New Jersey. He served in the NJ Senate from 1974 to 1992. He died at age 84 after a battle with esophageal cancer.
Jerry Lewis, comedian, actor, humanitarian
March 16, 1926 - August 20, 2017
Nicknamed the "King of Comedy", his partnership with Dean Martin way back in the 40's and 50's was the highlight of his career. He had multiple medical issues throughout his life including diabetes, pulmonary fibrosis, prostate cancer, and a very long history or heart disease having had his first heart attack at the young age of 34. Yet he lived to be 91 years old. He was born in Newark, New Jersey.
Jim Whelan, politician
November 9, 1948 - August 22, 2017
Well known in south Jersey he served as the mayor of Atlantic City as well as a state assemblyman and a state senator. He died at age 68 of a heart attack while at his home in Atlantic City.
Frank Vincent, actor
April 15, 1937 - September 13, 2017
Known for playing tough guy parts, this actor was in "Raging Bull", "Goodfellas", "Casino", and in the HBO series "The Sopranos". If you're from Jersey you gotta know Frank Vincent who had the classic Goodfellas line, "Now go home and get your f'ing shine box!" Not born in our state but grew up in Jersey City, NJ and lived out his final days in Nutley. He died at age 80.
Chuck Low, actor
July 21, 1928 - September 18, 2017
Ironically passed away only five days after his fellow "Goodfellas" actor Frank Vincent, Chuck Low got his start through knowing Robert Deniro. Deniro got him a part in "The King Of Comedy" and once even had Low as his landlord. He played hapless Morrie Kessler in "Goodfellas" and his character starred in his own commercial for Morrie's Wig Shop. He died at age 89 in Allendale, New Jersey.
Earle Hyman, actor
October 11, 1926 - November 17, 2017
He did the voice of Panthro on ThunderCats but was most known for playing Cliff Huxtable's father Russell on "The Cosby Show". Having never married and having no children he died at age 91 at the Lillian Booth Actors Home in Englewood, New Jersey.
David Cassidy, singer
April 12, 1950 - November 21, 2017
Mostly famous for playing Keith Partridge on "The Partridge Family", David Cassidy always wanted to be known as a more serious artist. He was raised in West Orange, New Jersey. He passed away at 67 of liver failure. After his death his daughter revealed his eerie final words, "So much wasted time."
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