Ten Inducted Into New Jersey Hall Of Fame [VIDEO]
Actor Michael Douglas, author Joyce Carol Oates and basketball coach Bob Hurley were among 10 new members inducted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame on Saturday.
Hosted by Governor Chris Christie & his wife Pat, the ceremony also welcomed into the hall during a ceremony at the New Jersey Performing Arts Center were Giants owner Wellington Mara; the late actor-activist Christopher Reeve; jazz singer Sarah Vaughn; media mogul Samuel I. Newhouse; Olympian Milt Campbell; Wild West Show sensation Annie Oakley and condensed soup inventor John Dorrance.
Hurley, who has coached at St. Anthony High School in Jersey City for 39 years, said high school coaches don’t expect such accolades. He’s won 26 state championships and more than 1,000 games during his tenure at the school. “For all of us in high school coaching, I think we share this,” Hurley said.
Oates, a longtime Princeton professor, has earned a National Book Award, a National Humanities Medal and Pulitzer Prize nominations. But she said local awards are especially thrilling. “It’s very nice to receive awards that are close to home,” she said. “Other awards are kind of abstract.”
And Barbara Johnson, Reeve’s mother, said her son would have been excited to be honored as an entertainer. The “Superman” star grew up in Princeton and starred in nearly every stage production at his high school before becoming an advocate for stem-cell research. “He would have loved it,” Johnson said.
Organizers also honored Eric LeGrand, the paralyzed former Rutgers University defensive tackle who recently signed a symbolic contract with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. He received the Unsung Hero Award.
Tampa Bay Buccaneers Coach Greg Schiano, who coached LeGrand at Rutgers and offered him the NFL contract, gave the award to the inspirational former athlete. “I don’t know that there can be a more appropriate recipient,” Schiano said. “You talk about a hero; Eric is a hero.”
David Cassidy performed during the ceremony in tribute to his mother who lives in West Orange.
Douglas, who won Academy Awards for his role as Gordon Gekko in “Wall Street” and for producing “One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest,” said being inducted helped remind him of his roots. He was born in New Brunswick. “Not to mention that two of my dearest friends, Danny DeVito and Jack Nicholson, will not have one up on me anymore,” Douglas said, referring to their previous inductions.
The E Street Band was also set to be honored at the 11 member of the class of 2012, but the group is currently touring with Bruce Springsteen and will be inducted at a later date.
A look at the New Jersey Hall of Fame Class of 2012 by category:
— Annie Oakley. Nutley (1860-1926). The major attraction at Buffalo Bill’s Wild West Show captivated audiences by shooting pistols, rifles and shotguns. Her life was immortalized through
Irving Berlin’s musical “Annie Get Your Gun.”
Arts & Entertainment
— Christopher Reeve. Princeton (1952-2004). Most remembered for his role as “Superman” in the movies, he became a quadriplegic after a horse riding accident and later lobbied on behalf of people with spinal cord injuries.
— The E Street Band. Asbury Park (1974- ). Immortalized as Bruce Springsteen’s band, the group has recorded with a wide range of artists from Bob Dylan to The Grateful Dead.
— Michael Douglas. New Brunswick (1944- ). Actor rewarded with three Golden Globes and two Academy Awards.
— Sarah Vaughn. Newark (1924-1990). She won an Amateur Night performance at the Apollo Theater, opened for Ella Fitzgerald and became one of the greatest jazz singers. Winner of a Grammy Award and the National Endowment for the Arts’ Jazz Masters Award.
— John Dorrance. Cinnaminson (1873-1930). A chemist who went to work for the Joseph Campbell Preserve Co., now the Campbell Soup Co., where he invented condensed soup. He was later the company’s president for 16 years, turning the business into a household name.
— Samuel I. Newhouse. Bayonne (1895-1979). Publisher and media giant who founded Advance Publications, which now owns The Star-Ledger and the magazines Vogue, Vanity Fair and The New Yorker.
— Bob Hurley. Jersey City (1947- ). Amassed 26 state championships and more than 1,000 wins in 39 years at St. Anthony High School. Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2010, he has turned down many college coaching offers.
— Milt Campbell. Plainfield (1933- ). The first African-American to win a gold medal in the decathlon of the Summer Olympic Games, he also played football for the Cleveland Browns and the Montreal Alouettes.
— Wellington T. Mara. East Rutherford (1916-2005). New York Giants owner who was responsible for bringing the team to New Jersey in 1976.
–Joyce Carol Oates. Princeton (1938- ). National Book Award winner and Pulitzer Prize nominee, she is a professor in creative writing at Princeton University, where she has taught since 1978.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.