Inductees Announced for the 2019 New Jersey Hall of Fame
By Taylor Smith
Governor Phil Murphy held a press conference at Newark Liberty International Airport on Monday, June 10 to reveal the 2019 inductees to the New Jersey Hall of Fame. Among this year’s class are Game of Thrones author and Bayonne native George R.R. Martin. Born in 1948, Martin’s father was a longshoreman. Now residing primarily in Santa Fe, N.M., Martin claims to still be a huge fan of the New York Jets, New York Giants, and New York Mets.
Other additions to the New Jersey celebrity roster include Seinfeld star Jason Alexander; TV personality Martha Stewart (born in Hudson County’s Jersey City); longtime Star Ledger sports columnist Jerry Izenberg; Jaws author Peter Benchley (who is being inducted posthumously); Olympic gymnast Laurie Hernandez; and restaurateur, musician, and philanthropist Tim McLoone.
Well known within the Princeton community, Peter Benchley first lived in Pennington and later resided with his wife and family in Princeton. Benchley claimed that the idea for a novel about a man-eating shark was inspired by newspaper reports of several great white sharks caught in the 1960s off Long Island, N.Y., and Block Island, R.I., by Montauk charter boat captain Frank Mundus. Jaws was published in 1974 and sat on the New York Times Best Seller list for 44 weeks. Film director Steven Spielberg read the book and soon after bought the rights. The film’s success spawned the term “summer blockbuster.”
According to the New Jersey Hall of Fame’s website, “The accomplishments of Garden State citizens spans the pages of nearly every volume of American history. Until now, they have never existed side-by-side, in one place. Their stories offer boundless hope and inspiration for millions of New Jerseyans.”
New Jersey residents who have lived and/or worked in New Jersey for a minimum of five years can recommend a nominee at https://njhalloffame.org/recommend-a-njhof-nominee/. Proud Garden State residents can indicate why a particular Jersey native deserves to be among the permanent Hall of Fame.