New Jersey has a long, rich history of producing some of the most legendary entertainers who have ever lived. Whether comedy, film, television or music, we have had so many talented performers that it is mind boggling! Let’s work in that order…
How about comedy? Of course there is overlap with film and television here. In the early days we had the innovative pioneer Ernie Kovacs. Throughout the years Jersey has produced comedic legends like Jerry Lewis, Abbott & Costello, Flip Wilson, Danny Devito, Richard Lewis, Joe Piscopo and Joe Pesci, just to scrape some of the cream off of the top! Today, our buddy Vic Dibitetto has modernized comedy through social media.
This brings us to the movies. Has there ever been a more compelling presence on the big screen than Jack Nicholson? Meryl Streep is one of the greatest actresses of all time. Tom Cruise and John Travolta had a lot more going for them than their good looks. The sultry Susan Sarandon and Jersey Boys Ray Liotta, Bruce Willis and Michael Douglas are all huge successes and immensely talented.
Television is a relatively newer medium, yet the amount of NJ smash successes is unreal. How about Ozzie Nelson from the early black and white days? Who can forget the teen idol phenomenon David Cassidy? Micael Landon was a sensation. Loretta Switt and Alan Alada of “Mash” are both from NJ. Ice-T is a rapper turned TV detective. James Gandolfini redefined television with the groundbreaking “Sopranos”.
Music may be the most fertile of all! Let’s start with jazz legend Count Basie and big band leader Nelson Riddle, who were two of the most influential performers of their eras! Frank Sinatra was in a class of his own, the undisputed Chairman of the board! Les Paul has one of the most famous guitars in the world named after him. Sara Vaughan, Connie Francis and Roberta Flack were wonderful voices who certainly left their stamps on our lives. Frankie Valli and the Four Seasons are the most successful harmony group of all time! Paul Simon is one of the most prolific and gifted songwriters we have ever seen. New Jersey even has it’s own genre, the “Jersey Shore” sound made popular by Southside Johnny and the Asbury Jukes and our very own “Boss”, Bruce Springsteen and the East Street Band. Patti Smith and Debbie Harry of Blondie epitomized the female style of Punk and New Wave. Whitney Houston had one of the biggest voices of all time and Bon Jovi ruled the charts. There are many, many more that we did not mention but this is an amazing lineage of talent!
Check out our youtube video with short clips of all of these and more!
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