NJ Hall of Fame Announces 2016 Inductees

The Hall of Fame’s newest class is rich in figures from the performing arts, including Kelly Ripa, Ray Liotta and Wyclef Jean.

Photo courtesy of Gary Gellman/Gellman Images.

Kelly Ripa, Wyclef Jean, Ray Liotta and Carli Lloyd are the biggest marquee names among the 15 members of the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s Class of 2016, announced today.

The Hall of Fame’s newest class is rich in figures from the performing arts. In addition to TV personality Ripa, rapper Jean and actor Liotta, this year’s inductees include Newark-born singer/actress Connie Francis and pop/rock musician Tommy James, who lives in Cedar Grove.

The new class will be honored at this year’s induction ceremony, May 7 at Convention Hall in Asbury Park.

Well-known as the host of her morning talk show Live! With Kelly (previously Live! With Kelly and Michael and Live! With Regis and Kelly), Stratford-born Ripa won three Daytime Emmy awards for her work on All My Children.  Co-founder of the New Jersey hip-hop group The Fugees, Jean has won three Grammy Awards. Newark native Liotta is best known for his role of Henry Hill in the mafia drama Goodfellas, and won an Emmy as a guest actor on the TV drama ER. Lloyd, who lives in Mount Laurel, made headlines last summer by leading the U.S. women’s national soccer team to victory in the FIFA Women’s World Cup, scoring a hat trick in the final.

This year’s inductees also include writer Carol Higgins Clark (daughter of Class of 2011 inductee Mary Higgins Clark); journalist Connie Chung; Bell Atlantic and PSE&G president Alfred Koeppe; NY Waterway founder and president Arthur Imperatore;  activist Peace Pilgrim; 19th-century military hero Philip Kearny, for whom the city is named; former Olympian and Basketball Hall of Famer Carol Blazejowski; boxer Chuck “The Bayonne Brawler” Wepner; and former New York Giant Rosey Grier.

This year’s Unsung Hero award recipient is yet to be announced.

The official 2016 Public Vote ballot contained 50 nominees — 10 in each of five categories: Arts & Letters, Enterprise, Performance Arts, Public Service and Sports. The public voting, along with input from the Hall of Fame’s Board of Commissioners, determined this year’s class. Since its inception in 2008, almost 100 individuals and groups—including Bruce Springsteen, Thomas Edison, Grover Cleveland and Meryl Streep—have been inducted. Last year’s inductees included satirist Jon Stewart, soccer star Christie Rampone and Yankee Derek Jeter.

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