USA Famous People of New Jersey

New Jersey Biographies

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Paul Robeson -The first black all-American football player, famous singer and actor; born in Princeton. Paul LeRoy Bustill Robeson (April 9, 1898 – January 23, 1976) was an internationally renowned African-American basso profundo concert singer, scholar, actor of film and stage, All-American and professional athlete, writer, multi-lingual orator and lawyer who was also noted for his wide-ranging social justice activism. A forerunner of the civil rights movement, Robeson was a trade union activist, peace activist, Phi Beta Kappa Society laureate, and a recipient of the Spingarn Medal and Stalin Peace Prize.

Robeson achieved worldwide fame during his life for his artistic accomplishments, and his outspoken, radical beliefs which largely clashed with the colonial powers of Western Europe and the Jim Crow climate of the pre-civil rights United States, thus becoming a prime target during the McCarthyist era.Despite being one of the most internationally famous cultural figures of the first half of the 20th century, persecution by the US government and media virtually erased Robeson from mainstream US culture and subsequent interpretations of US history, including civil rights and black history.• Paul Robeson Books • Paul Robeson Discography

Edward J. Rosinski inventor, Gloucester County • Edward J. Rosinski Books
Philip Milton Roth author, Newark • Philip Milton Roth Books
Antonin Scalia jurist,Trenton • Antonin Scalia Books
Norman Schwarzkopf army general, Trenton • Norman Schwarzkopf Books
Kevin Spacey actor, South Orange (born July 26, 1959) is an American actor, director, screenwriter, producer, and crooner. He grew up in California, and began his career as a stage actor during the 1980s, before being cast in supporting roles in film and television. He gained critical acclaim in the early 1990s, culminating in his first Academy Award for The Usual Suspects (Best Supporting Actor), followed by a Best Actor Academy Award win for American Beauty (1999). His other starring roles in Hollywood include Seven, L.A. Confidential, Pay It Forward, and Superman Returns in a career which has eventually earned him Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. Since 2003, he has been artistic director of the Old Vic theatre in London.

He was born Kevin Spacey Fowler in South Orange, New Jersey to Kathleen A. Spacey (December 5, 1931 – March 19, 2003), a secretary, and Thomas Geoffrey Fowler (June 4, 1924 – December 24, 1992), a technical writer. He has two older siblings: a sister, Julie, and a brother, Randy. He attended Northridge Military Academy from which he was expelled, Canoga Park High School (in tenth and eleventh grades), and then Chatsworth High School in Chatsworth, California, where he graduated valedictorian of his class.[3][4] At Chatsworth High, he starred in the school's senior production of The Sound of Music, playing the part of Captain Georg von Trapp, opposite Mare Winningham's character, Maria. While in high school, he took his mother's maiden name, "Spacey", originally a Welsh name, belonging to his great-great-grandfather (spelled "Spacy"), as his acting surname. Several reports have incorrectly suggested that he took his name in tribute to actor Spencer Tracy, combining Tracy's first and last names.• Kevin Spacey Books • Kevin Spacey Movies

Ruth St. Denis dancer, choreographer, Newark • Ruth St. Denis Books
Paul Simon (1941 - ) Popular singer in the 1960s made famous with songs like “Mrs. Robinson;” born in Newark. The story of Paul Simon, whose evocative lyrics have articulated the fears, dreams and everyday dilemmas of several generations. It gives insights into Paul Simon's life and music, from his roots to the 21st century, dealing with the years he partnered Art Garfunkel, his subsequent solo career, and how he later went on to embrace experimentation with world music and develop an interest in musicals and film. Paul Simon's passion for politics and his involvement in world issues is addressed, along with his perennial sense of insecurity and troubled relationships with women. There is also analysis and discussion of Paul Simon as a lyricist, through the views of contemporary songwriters and music critics such as Sir Tim Rice and Noel Redding as well as from academics on both sides of the Atlantic. • Paul Simon Books • Paul Simon Discography
Frank Sinatra (1915 - 1998) Actor and Singer starting in the 1940s; born in Hoboken. To me, as someone who lived thru this era and read many books on Sinatra, none has captured the essence of the man and the times he lived in as Richard Havers has done. All aspects of Sinatra's life are discussed; the music, the movies, the concerts and shows, his friends and his loves, good and bad, in a fair, unbiased, nonjudgmental manner

This is a big book that contains a lot of information and pictures that you will not find anywhere else. It can be read by casually leafing through the pages and enjoying the sidebars and photos, or it can be read carefully from beginning to end to reveal the real Sinatra. If you take the latter approach you will not only better understand what made Sinatra tick, you will also better understand the times he lived in. • Frank Sinatra Books • Frank Sinatra Movies • Frank Sinatra Discography

Bruce Springsteen; born in Freehold. Bruce Frederick Joseph Springsteen (born September 23, 1949), nicknamed "The Boss", is an American singer-songwriter. He records and tours with the E Street Band. Springsteen is widely known for his brand of heartland rock infused with pop hooks, poetic lyrics, and Americana sentiments centered on his native New Jersey.

Springsteen's recordings have tended to alternate between commercially accessible rock albums and somber folk-oriented works. Much of his status stems from the concerts and marathon shows in which he and the E Street Band perform intense ballads, rousing anthems, and party rock and roll songs, amongst which he intersperses whimsical or deeply emotional stories.

His most successful studio albums, Born to Run and Born in the U.S.A., epitomize his penchant for finding grandeur in the struggles of daily life in America, and the latter album made him one of the most recognized artists of the 1980s within the United States. Because of his support for the presidential campaigns of Senator John Kerry and President Barack Obama, Springsteen has gradually become identified with liberal politics. He is also noted for his support of various relief and rebuilding efforts in New Jersey and elsewhere, and for his response to the September 11th attacks, on which his album The Rising reflects. • Bruce Springsteen Books • Bruce Springsteen Discography

Amos Alonzo Stagg football coach, West Orange Amos Alonzo Stagg (August 16, 1862 – March 17, 1965) was an American collegiate coach in multiple sports, primarily football, and an overall athletic pioneer. He was born in West Orange, New Jersey, and attended Phillips Exeter Academy. Playing at Yale, he was an end on the first All-America team, selected in 1889. Stagg became the first paid football coach at Williston Seminary, a secondary school, in 1890. This was also Stagg's first time receiving pay to coach football. He would coach there one day a week while also coaching full time at Springfield College. He moved on to coach at the University of Chicago (1892-1932), and the College of the Pacific (1932-46), after he was forced to retire from Chicago at the age of 70. During his career, he developed numerous basic tactics for the game (including the man in motion and the lateral pass), as well as some equipment. Stagg played himself in the movie Knute Rockne All American released in 1940. From 1947 to 1952 he served as a co-head coach with his son at Susquehanna University in Pennsylvania. In 1924, he served as a coach with the U.S. Olympic Track and Field team in Paris. Known as the "grand old man" of college football, Stagg died in Stockton, California, at 102 years old. • Amos Alonzo Stagg Books
Alfred Stieglitz (January 1, 1864 – July 13, 1946) was an American photographer and modern art promoter who was instrumental over his fifty-year career in making photography an accepted art form. In addition to his photography, Stieglitz is known for the New York art galleries that he ran in the early part of the 20th century, where he introduced many avant-garde European artists to the U.S. He was married to painter Georgia O'Keeffe. "Alfred Stieglitz (1864-1946) is perhaps the most important figure in the history of visual arts in America. That is certainly not to say that he was the greatest artist America has ever produced. Rather, through his many roles – as a great photographer, as a discoverer and promoter of photographers and of artists in other media, and as a publisher, patron, and collector – he had a greater impact on American art than any other person has had." 

"Alfred Stieglitz had the multifold abilities of a Renaissance man. A visionary of enormously wide perspective, his accomplishments were remarkable, his dedication awe-inspiring. A photographer of genius, a publisher of inspiration, a writer of great ability, a gallery owner and exhibition organizer of both photographic and modern art exhibitions, a catalyst and a charismatic leader in the photographic and art worlds for over thirty years, he was, necessarily, a passionate, complex, driven and highly contradictory character, both prophet and martyr. The ultimate maverick, he inspired great love and great hatred in equal measure."

Eight of the nine highest prices ever paid at auction for Stieglitz photographs (as of 2008) are images of Georgia O'Keeffe. The highest-priced photograph, a 1919 palladium print of Georgia O'Keeffe (Hands), realized US$1.47 million at auction in February 2006. At the same sale, Georgia O'Keeffe Nude, another 1919 print by Stieglitz, sold for $1.36 million • Alfred Stieglitz Books

Meryl Streep actress, Summit Mary Louise "Meryl" Streep (born June 22, 1949) is an American actress who has worked in theatre, television, and film. She is widely regarded as one of the most talented and respected movie actors of the modern era.

Streep made her professional stage debut in 1971's The Playboy of Seville, and her screen debut came in the made-for-television movie The Deadliest Season in 1977. In that same year, she made her film debut with Julia. Both critical and commercial success came soon with roles in The Deer Hunter (1978) and Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), the former giving Streep her first Oscar nomination and the latter her first win. She later won an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Sophie's Choice (1982).

Streep is a two time Oscar winner for her performances in Kramer vs. Kramer (1979), and Sophie's Choice (1982). With fifteen Academy Award nominations, she is the most nominated actor in the history of the Academy Awards. She has also won six Golden Globe awards and has again received more nominations than any other actor in the history of the award: twenty three. Her work has also earned her two Emmy Awards, two Screen Actors Guild Awards, a Cannes Film Festival award, three New York Film Critics Circle Awards, five Grammy Award nominations, a BAFTA award, and a Tony Award nomination. • Meryl Streep Books • Meryl Streep Movies

Albert Payson Terhune journalist, author, Newark • Albert Payson Terhune Books
Dave Thomas restaurateur, Atlantic City • Dave Thomas Books
John Joseph Travolta (born February 18, 1954) is an American actor, dancer and singer. He first became known in the 1970s, after appearing on the television series Welcome Back, Kotter and starring in the box office successes Saturday Night Fever and Grease. Travolta's career re-surged in the 1990s, with his role in Pulp Fiction, and he has since continued starring in Hollywood films, including Face/Off, Ladder 49 and Wild Hogs.

Travolta has twice been nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actor. The first, for his role in Saturday Night Fever and the second for Pulp Fiction. He won the Golden Globe Award for Best Actor - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy for his performance in Get Shorty.

Travolta, the youngest of six children, was born and raised in Englewood, New Jersey, an inner-ring suburb of New York City. His father, Salvatore Travolta, was a semi-professional football player turned tire salesman and partner in a tire company. His mother, Helen Cecilia (née Burke), who was 42 when Travolta was born, was an actress and singer who had appeared in The Sunshine Sisters, a radio vocal group, and acted and directed before becoming a high school drama and English teacher. His father was a second-generation Italian American and his mother was Irish American; He grew up in an Irish-American neighborhood and has said that his household was predominantly Irish in culture. His family was Roman Catholic. • John Travolta Books • John Travolta Movies

William Henry Vanderbilt financier, New Brunswick • William Henry Vanderbilt Books
Sarah Vaughan singer, Newark Sarah Lois Vaughan (March 27, 1924 – April 3, 1990) was an American jazz singer, described by Scott Yanow as having "one of the most wondrous voices of the 20th century". She had a contralto vocal range. 

Nicknamed "Sassy" and "The Divine One", Sarah Vaughan was a Grammy Award winner. The National Endowment for the Arts bestowed upon her its "highest honor in jazz," the NEA Jazz Masters Award, in 1989.

Sarah Vaughan's father, Asbury "Jake" Vaughan, was a carpenter by trade and played guitar and piano. Her mother, Ada Vaughan, was a laundress and sang in the church choir. Jake and Ada Vaughan migrated to Newark from Virginia during the First World War. Sarah was their only natural child, although in the 1960s they adopted Donna, the child of a woman who traveled on the road with Sarah Vaughan.

The Vaughans lived in a house on Brunswick Street, in Newark, New Jersey, for Sarah's entire childhood. Jake Vaughan was deeply religious and the family was very active in the New Mount Zion Baptist Church on 186 Thomas Street. Sarah began piano lessons at the age of seven, sang in the church choir and occasionally played piano for rehearsals and services. • Sarah Vaughan Books • Sarah Vaughan Discography

Dionne Warwick actress, singer, East Orange (born December 12, 1940) is an American singer, actress, activist, United Nations Global Ambassador for the Food and Agriculture Organization, former United States Ambassador of Health, and humanitarian. She is best known for her partnership with songwriters and producers Burt Bacharach and Hal David. According to Billboard magazine and Joel Whitburn's Top Pop Singles 1955-2009 book, Dionne Warwick ranks as the 30th most popular hit maker of the entire the rock era based upon the Billboard Hot 100 Pop Singles Charts. She also ranks as one of the 10 all-time biggest Easy Listening/Adult Contemporary hit makers of all time.

Warwick was born Marie Dionne Warrick to parents Mancel Warrick, who began his career as a pullman porter, chef, a gospel record promoter for Chess Records and later a certified public accountant; and Lee Drinkard Warrick (1921-2005), manager of a renowned family gospel group and RCA recording artists The Drinkard Singers in East Orange, New Jersey. Dionne began singing gospel as a child at the New Hope Methodist Church in East Orange. She performed her first gospel solo at the age of six and frequently joined The Drinkard Singers. Warwick's aunt Emily (Cissy) Drinkard Houston (Whitney Houston's mother) and sister, the late Delia (Dee Dee) Warrick also performed with the family group. Other family members include Dionne's brother, Mancel Warrick, Jr., who was killed in an accident in 1968 at the age of eighteen. • Dionne Warwick Books • Dionne Warwick Films • Dionne Warwick Discography

William Carlos Williams physician, poet, Rutherford • William Carlos Williams Books
Edmund Wilson literary critic, author, Red Bank • Edmund Wilson Books
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