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New Jersey has a rich history of contributing talent to the entertainment world, whether through theatre, television, movies or radio. In fact, no other category is as well-represented by Jerseyans as entertainment. All lists contain links when possible. I have included a separate category for Music.

Bud Abbott
William "Bud" Abbott - b. 1895 d. 1974
Asbury Park, NJ
The straight man in the world-famous comedy duo of Abbott and Costello, and one of 2 non-players inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame (the other being Lou Costello, see below).

Edie Adams
Edie Adams - b. 1927 d. 2008
Tenafly, NJ

Born in Pennsylvania, raised in Tenafly, Adams was a Tony Award winning actress, and comedienne. Married to fellow Jerseyan Ernie Kovacs until his death. She also earned a vocal degree from Juilliard.

Alan Alda
Alan Alda - b. 1936
Leonia, NJ

Born Alfonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in New York City, Alda is perhaps best known for his role as Hawkeye Pierce in the TV show M*A*S*H, but has done numerous other film and television productions. He commuted from LA to his home in New Jersey every weekend for 11 years while starring in "M*A*S*H. His wife and daughters lived in NJ, and he did not want to uproot the family to LA, especially because he did not know how long the show would last.

Jason Alexander
Jason Alexander - b. 1959
Newark, NJ
Born Jay Greenspan in Newark, Jason Alexander grew up in Livingston, NJ, and is best-known for playing "George Costanza" on the television series "Seinfeld".

John Amos
John Amos - b. 1941 (?)
Newark, NJ

Film, television and stage actor, perhaps best known for his roles in Good Times and Roots.

Joan Bennett
Joan Bennett - b. 1910 d. 1990
Fort Lee, NJ
Hollywood actress, with most of her film career being in the 1930s and 1940s. Later appeared in Dark Shadows, the 1960s Gothic Horror soap opera, as family matriarch Elizabeth Collins Stoddard.
Credit for the correction to Tom Meyers, Fort Lee.

Jason Biggs
Jason Biggs - b. 1978
Pompton Plains, NJ
Born in Pompton Plains and raised in Hasbrouck Heights, Jason Biggs is probably best known for his roles in the "American Pie" movies, although he has appeared in numerous other films.
Thanks to Scott for this suggestion.

Vivian Blaine
Vivian Blaine - b. 1921 d. 1995
Newark, NJ

Born Vivian Stapleton, Ms. Blaine is best known for her role in the Broadway and movie versions of the production of "Guys and Dolls". She also had numerous roles in other movie and television programs.
Suggestion courtesy of Nat Bodian.

Robert Blake
Robert Blake - b. 1933
Nutley, NJ

Born Michael Gubitosi, Blake began a film career as one of the Little Rascals, but is perhaps best known for playing Baretta on TV.

Zach Braff
Zach Braff - b. 1975
South Orange, NJ

Perhaps best known, at this time, for his role on the TV show "Scrubs". Braff has branched into writing and directing with the very well-done movie "Garden State".

Avery Brooks
Avery Brooks - b. 1948
New Brunswick, NJ

Born in Indiana, Brooks is a highly-regarded actor and director. Brooks is a tenured professor of Theater Arts at the Mason Gross School of the Arts at Rutgers University in New Jersey.
Thanks for this suggestion goes to John A. Santana.

Roscoe Lee Browne
Roscoe Lee Browne - b. 1925 d. 2007
Woodbury, NJ

Well-known character actor, with a very distinctive low voice, which led to numerous voiceover jobs as well. Also a champion track star, teacher of French...

Tisha Campbell
Tisha Campbell-Martin - b.1968
Newark, NJ

Born in Oklahoma City, raised in Newark, Tisha Campbell is a noted television, film and stage actress.
Thanks to Tiffany Price for this suggestion.

David Copperfield
David Copperfield - b. 1956
Metuchen, NJ
Born David Kotkin, Copperfield has become a world-famous magician. At age 12, he was the youngest person ever admitted to the American Society of Magicians.

Lou Costello
Lou Costello - b. 1906 d. 1959
Paterson, NJ
Born Louis Francis Cristillo, the second and clown half of the famous comedy duo of Abbott and Costello. Costello's hometown of Paterson has a city park dedicated to his memory.

Joseph Cross
Joseph Cross - b. 1986
New Brunswick, NJ

An up and coming young actor, has been in numerous movies and television programs.
Thanks to Mark for this suggestion.

Tom Cruise
Tom Cruise - b. 1962
Glen Ridge, NJ

Born in Syracuse, NY, as Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, the actor better known as Tom Cruise attended 15 schools in 14 years, before his family settled in Glen Ridge. Recent years have seen Cruise focus more frequently on action movies.

Vincent Curatola
Vincent Curatola - b.1953
Englewood, NJ

Perhaps best known for playing the character 'Johnny Sack' on "The Sopranos", Mr. Curatola worked as a mason before his wife convinced him to return to school to pursue a career in acting.

Joe Dante
Joe Dante - b. 1946
Morristown, NJ

Director and producer of films, perhaps the best known being "Gremlins".

Hope Davis
Hope Davis - b. 1964
Englewood, NJ

A Tenafly High School graduate, Davis has appeared in numerous movies, including American Splendor, opposite Paul Giamatti.
Thanks for this suggestion to John Brennan.

Sandra Dee
Sandra Dee - b. 1942 d. 2005
Bayonne, NJ
Born Alexandra Zuck, Sandra Dee's film career was at its peak in the 1950s and early 1960s. She was the original Gidget.

Brian De Palma
Brian De Palma - b. 1940
Newark, NJ

Noted film director, credited with such films as Carrie, Body Double and The Untouchables.

Danny DeVito
Danny DeVito - b. 1944
Neptune, NJ
As a producer, director, actor and important Hollywood personality, DeVito is immediately recognizable wherever he goes. His work on the television series Taxi will live forever.

Peter Dinklage
Peter Dinklage - b. 1969
Morristown, NJ

Born in Morristown and raised in Mendham, Dinklage got his big break in the independent feature film "The Station Agent" that was set in New Jersey.

Michael Douglas
Michael Douglas - b. 1944
New Brunswick, NJ
Well-known television and film actor, as well as a movie producer. Oh yes, son of Kirk Douglas.

Kirsten Dunst
Kirsten Dunst - b. 1982
Point Pleasant, NJ

Still a young actress, Kirsten Dunst has been gradually making her mark. Ignore her at your peril. But seriously, Ms. Dunst has the chops to be the real thing. To be honest, I did not know she was NJ until recently.

Christine Ebersole
Christine Ebersole - b. 1953
Maplewood, NJ

Born in Chicago, Illinois, Tony-award winner Ebersole has been in films, television and has recently returned to the stage on Broadway.

Madge Evans
Madge Evans - b. 1909 d. 1981
Oakland, NJ

Born in New York, stage and screen actress Madge Evans moved to Oakland with her husband, playright Sidney Kingsley, where they lived for many years.

Vera Farmiga
Vera Farmiga - b. 1973
Passaic, NJ

Born in Passaic, raised in Clifton, Farmiga, who had intended to be an optometrist, has seen her career take off in recent years.

Thanks to Bill Lewis for this suggestion.

Josh Flitter
Josh Flitter - b. 1994
Ridgewood, NJ

Obviously a young actor, but already has quite a bio.

Calista Flockhart
Calista Flockhart - b. 1964
New Brunswick, NJ

Born in Illinois, Calista Flockhart's family moved to New Jersey where she attended high school in Medford, NJ. Also studied acting at Rutgers University in New Jersey. Best known as the lead role in the TV show "Ally MacBeal".

Thanks for this suggestion goes to Chris Holzhauer.
Thanks to Elizabeth Carmichael for the High School catch.

John Forsythe
John Forsythe - b. 1918 d. 2010
Penns Grove, NJ
Born John Lincoln Freund, actor, known for the voice of Charlie in Charlie's Angels and Blake Carrington in Dynasty. His distinctive voice has led him to many narration jobs as well.

James Gandolfini
James Gandolfini - b. 1961
Westwood, NJ

A graduate of Rutgers University, Gandolfini, whogrew up in Park Ridge, is perhaps best known for his work as Tony Soprano on the ultra-popular HBO series The Sopranos. He has also appeared on over 20 films and plays.

Janeane Garofalo
Janeane Garofalo - b. 1964
Newton, NJ
Actress and comedian, Garofalo grew up in Madison, NJ. Her family moved to Houston in her senior year in high school.

Paul Gleason
Paul Gleason - b. 1939 d. 2006
Jersey City, NJ

A veteran character actor, most well-known for roles in "Trading Places" and "The Breakfast Club". He appeared in numerous film and television productions. You may not know the name, but you sure as heck know the face.

Savion Glover
Savion Glover - b. 1974
Newark, NJ
Tap dancer and choreographer Savion Glover has been called by Gregory Hines "...perhaps the best tap dancer ever."

Ed Harris
Ed Harris - b. 1950
Englewood, NJ

Born in Englewood and raised in Tenafly, an accomplished and intense actor, known for both supporting and lead roles.

Anne Hathaway
Anne Hathaway - b. 1982
Millburn, NJ

Born in New York and raised in Millburn, began her career in television but has recently been in several very well-reviewed and received movies.

Sterling Hayden
Sterling Hayden - b. 1916 - d. 1986
Montclair, NJ

Actor and author, perhaps best known as the character Gen. Jack D. Ripper in the movie Dr. Strangelove.

Robert Hegyes
Robert Hegyes - b. 1951 d. 2012
Perth Amboy, NJ

Born in Perth Amboy but raised in nearby Metuchen, Hegyes is perhaps best known for his role on the TV show "Welcome Back Kotter". Attended college in New Jersey, and has also been in numerous other television shows.
Thanks to Stephanie Meechan for this suggestion.

Celesta Holm
Celeste Holm - b. 1917 d. 2012
Schooley's Mountain, NJ

Born in New York City, Ms. Holm appeared in many films and in TV programs. You most likely recognize her with the exclamation "Oh yeah, I know her!"

Linda Hunt
Linda Hunt - b. 1945
Morristown, NJ

Oscar-award winning actress, with an extensive list of movie and theater credits.

Stanley Kamel
Stanley Kamel - b. 1943 d. 2008
South River, NJ

Actor perhaps best known as the psychiatirst in Monk.
Thanks to Dewey for this suggestion.

Brian Keith
Brian Keith - b. 1921 d. 1997
Bayonne, NJ

Born Robert Keith, he was a well-known television and film actor, perhaps best known for his work in "Family Affair". Also a decorated World War 2 veteran.

Phyllis Kirk
Phyllis Kirk - b. 1927 d. 2006
Plainfield, NJ
Born Phyllis Kirkegaard, an actress with an extensive filmography, but perhaps best known for her role in the film "House of Wax".

Ernie Kovacs
Ernie Kovacs - b. 1919 d. 1962
Trenton, NJ
Writer, director, actor, artist, but perhaps best known for his comedy and his early television comedy show. Tragically killed in a car crash in California.

Jane Krakowski
Jane Krakowski - b. 1968
Parsippany, NJ

Born Jane Krajkowski, versatile actress, known for her work on the TV shows "Ally McBeal" and "30 Rock", but also a Tony award winner for her role in the musical "Nine".

Michael Landon
Michael Landon - b. 1936 d. 1991
Collingswood, NJ

Born Eugene Orowitz in Queens, NY, his family moved to New Jersey when he was 5 years old. Best known for his roles in the TV shows "Bonanza" and "Little House on the Prairie".
Thanks to Tim Pascucci for this suggestion.

Nathan Lane
Nathan Lane - b. 1956
Jersey City, NJ

Noted stage and film actor, perhaps best known for his role as Max Bialystock in the staged version of The Producers.

Frank Langella
Frank Langella - b. 1940
Bayonne, NJ
Noted film and stage actor.

Jerry Lewis
Jerry Lewis - b. 1926
Newark, NJ
Born Joesph Levitch in Newark, an actor, writer, comedian, director, producer and all around busy person. One half of the comedy duo (Dean) Martin and (Jerry) Lewis.

Richard Lewis
Richard Lewis - b. 1947
Englewood, NJ

Born in Brooklyn, raised in Englewood, this comedian/actor has appeared in several TV shows and has a long-running stand-up comedy career.
Thanks to Joanie for this suggestion.

Ray Liotta
Ray Liotta - b. 1955
Newark, NJ
Actor Ray Liotta has been in daytime soaps and movies, including a gig portraying fellow Jerseyan Frank Sinatra.

Bill Maher
Bill Maher - b. 1956
River Vale, NJ
Born in New York, but raised in New Jersey, comedian/satirist/political commentator Maher is well-known for his intelligent yet funny late night TV show "Real Time".

Camryn Manheim
Camryn Manheim - b. 1961
Caldwell, NJ

Born Debra Frances Manheim, Camryn grew up in Illinois. This Emmy Award-winning actress has appeared in numerous television programs in addition to several film projects.

John C McGinley
John C. McGinley - b. 1959
Millburn, NJ

Born in New York City, McGinley was raised in Millburn. The owner of quite an extensive filmography and many credits on television, including "Scrubs".
Thanks for this suggestion goes to Peggy Bell.

Bob McGrath
Bob McGrath - 1932
Teaneck, NJ
Born in Illinois, McGrath is perhaps best known for his role on Sesame Street.

Thomas Mitchell
Thomas Mitchell - b. 1892 d. 1962
Elizabeth, NJ

Well-recognized character actor, perhaps best known as Scarlett O Hara's father in Gone With the Wind and as Uncle Billy in It's a Wonderful Life.
Thanks to John for this suggestion.

Jay Mohr
Jay Mohr - b. 1970
Verona, NJ

Actor and comedian, also a guest sportswriter for Sports Illustrated.
Thanks to Nick Frez for this suggestion.

Ozzie Nelson
Ozzie Nelson - b. 1906 d. 1975
Jersey City, NJ

Band leader during the 1930s, perhaps better known for the radio and TV show The Adventures of Ozzie and Harriet.

Bebe Neuwirth
Bebe Neuwirth - b. 1958
Princeton, NJ
Born Beatrice Neuwirth, an actress, singer, dancer, perhaps best known for playing "Lilith" on the TV shows Cheers and Frasier, however she has made a very successful career on Broadway.

Phyllis Newman
Phyllis Newman - b. 1933
Jersey City, NJ

Tony Award-winning actress (1962), also a game show panelist and breast cancer survivor.

Thanks to Jersey Guy for this suggestion.

Jack Nicholson
Jack Nicholson - b. 1937
Neptune, NJ
Although born in New York City, multi-Oscar winner Nicholson grew up on the Jersey Shore, graduating from Manasquan High School.

Joe Pantoliano
Joe Pantoliano - b. 1951
Hoboken, NJ

A well-known and busy character actor, "Joey Pants" as he is known, has appeared in many movies and television programs, and has also appeared on Broadway.
Thanks to John Brennan for this suggestion.

Piper Perabo
Piper Perabo - b. 1978
Toms River, NJ

Born in Dallas, Texas, raised in Toms River, where her father was a professor at Ocean County College. Has appeared in numerous movies.
Thanks to Kayla for this suggestion.

Joe Pesci
Joe Pesci - b. 1943
Newark, NJ
Oscar-winner Pesci has been appearing in movies for 20 years, though he has really only broken through in the past 10 years.

Joe Piscopo
Joe Piscopo - b. 1951
Passaic, NJ

Actor and comedian, a one-time cast member of Saturday Night Live, known for his impression of fellow NJ person Frank Sinatra.

Keshia Knight Pulliam - b. 1979
Newark, NJ

Born in Newark, Keshia attended Rutgers Prep in Somerset, among other schools. Perhaps best known as "Rudy" on The Cosby Show, she has appeared in several movies.
Thanks to Mahogany Hendricks for this suggestion.

Tara Reid
Tara Reid - b. 1975
Wyckoff, NJ

Tara got her career started as a child actor at age 6. Since then, she has starred in many movies, though her movie career has stalled at this time.

Suggested by Anthony Genchi.

Dan Resin
Dan Resin - b. 1931 d. 2010
Secaucus, NJ

Born in Indiana, Dan Resin lived in New Jersey (Union City, Secaucus, Wayne) for the past 50 years. Perhaps best known as the Ty D Bol Man, and Dr. Beeper in "Caddyshack".

Anne Revere
Anne Revere - b. 1903 d. 1990
Westfield, NJ

Born in New York, this Academy Award winning actress was raised in Westfield. She was also a direct descendant of Paul Revere.
Thanks to Mike Gordeuk for this suggestion.

Christina Ricci
Christina Ricci - b. 1980
Montclair, NJ

Born in Santa Monica, California, the family moved to Montclair, where Christina attended elementary, middle and high school. Has made various movies, not easy to pigeonhole, which will probably be good for her career.

Kelly Ripa
Kelly Ripa - b. 1970
Stratford, NJ

Actress, but perhaps best known currently as co-host with Regis Philbin of the morning TV show Live with Regis and Kelly.

Paul Rudd
Paul Rudd - b. 1969
Passaic, NJ
Born in Passaic and raised in Kansas, Rudd is an extremely busy TV, film and stage actor.

Eva Marie Saint - b. 1924
Newark, NJ

Movie actress playing several memorable leading lady roles, including opposite Marlon Brando in "On The Waterfront" and Cary Grant in "North By Northwest".

Laura San Giacomo
Laura San Giacomo - b. 1962
Denville, NJ

Born in West Orange and raised in Denville, San Giacomo has appeared in film and perhaps more famously television.

Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon - b. 1946
Edison, NJ

Born as Susan Tomalin in New York City, Sarandon is as well-known for her activism as she is for her filmography. Graduated from Edison High School.

John Sayles
John Sayles - b. 1950
Hoboken, NJ
Born in Schenactady, New York, Sayles lives in Hoboken. Well-respected independent filmmaker, Sayles has directed the films Return of the Secaucus Seven, Eight Men Out and Lone Star.

Natalie Schafer
Natalie Schafer - b. 1900 d. 1991
Red Bank, NJ

A stage and film actress, perhaps best known for her role as Lovey Howell on Gilligan's Island.
Thanks to Tim Pascucci for this suggestion.

Dore Schary
Dore Schary - b. 1905 d. 1980
Newark, NJ

Writer, director, producer in Hollywood and on Broadway. Also buried in New Jersey.

Roy Scheider
Roy Scheider - b. 1932 d. 2008
Orange, NJ
Film star who grew up in New Jersey, best known for his roles in Jaws and The Seven-Ups.

Kevin Smith
Kevin Smith - b. 1970
Red Bank, NJ

Filmmaker/director, best known for his Clerks films and the movie Dogma. Smith has set many of his films in New Jersey.
Thanks to Kelly for this suggestion.

Tasha Smith
Tasha Smith - b. 1971
Camden, NJ

Actress, activist and entrepreneur, with her own acting studio.

Mira Sorvion
Mira Sorvino - b. 1967
Tenafly, NJ

Harvard educated, Oscar-winning actress Mira Sorvino is the daughter of veteran actor Paul Sorvino.

Kevin Spacey
Kevin Spacey - b. 1959
South Orange, NJ
Multi-Oscar winner Spacey moved with his family to California while still a young child. Spacey is also an accomplished stage actor and impressionist.

John Spencer
John Spencer - b. 1946 d. 2005
Little Falls, NJ

Some sources claim Spencer was born in New York City, others say Paterson. Born John Speshock and raised in Little Falls, NJ, until the age of 16 before going to a performing arts school in Manhattan. Perhaps best known for his work on television's "The West Wing", until his untimely death in 2005.

Thanks to T. Capalbo for the additional data.

Jon Stewart
Jon Stewart - b. 1962
Lawrence Township, NJ

Born in New York as Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz, but raised in New Jersey, Stewart is considered one of America's top social and comedic voices. From his anchor chair of Comedy Central's "The Daily Show with Jon Stewart," he "has breathed new life into a show that hadn't even seemed to need it," said The New York Times.

Meryl Streep
Meryl Streep - b. 1949
Summit, NJ
Multi-Oscar winner Streep is considered by some to be the finest actress of her generation. Her 12 Oscar nominations placed her in a tie with the legendary Katherine Hepburn.

Loretta Swit
Loretta Swit - b. 1937
Passaic, NJ
Emmy Award winning actress, best know as "Hot Lips" Houlihan on the TV show "M*A*S*H".

Norma Talmadge
Norma Talmadge - b. 1893 d. 1957
Jersey City, NJ

A model, but better known as an actress during the Silent Era.

John Travolta
John Travolta - b. 1954
Englewood, NJ
Actor who had his career resurrected with an Oscar nomination in Pulp Fiction. Travolta also starred in television (Welcome Back, Kotter) and movies such as Grease and Saturday Night Fever.

Lee Van Cleef
Lee Van Cleef - b. 1925 d. 1989
Somerville, NJ

Character actor, perhaps best known for his many supporting roles in Westerns in the 1960s. Van Cleef mostly played villains, but was versatile enough to play heroes(?) in movies and TV.

Uncle Floyd
"Uncle" Floyd Vivino - b. 1951
Paterson, NJ
All around performer, last of a dying (dead?) breed. Floyd has been in movies and on television. His show is a real vaudeville throwback. Also well-known for his piano playing.

Patrick Warburton
Patrick Warburton - b. 1964
Paterson, NJ

Perhaps best-known for playing David Puddy on Seinfeld, Warburton has had many other roles and has also done numerous voiceovers.

Jack Warden
Jack Warden - b. 1920 d. 2006
Newark, NJ

Born John Lebzelter in Newark, Jack Warden was an Emmy award winning actor in films and television, best known for his many character roles. He tried his hand at professional boxing before joining the US military, turning to acting after World War 2 was over.

Alice White
Alice White - b. 1904 d. 1983
Paterson, NJ

Born in Paterson as Alva White, the family moved to California when she was young, growing up in Los Angeles. Her career began during the silent era, when she was compared to Clara Bow, and continued into the 40s.

Bruce WIllis
Bruce Willis - b. 1955
Penns Grove, NJ

Born in West Germany, Willis grew up mostly in Penns Grove. Has had numerous roles on television and in movies, as well as music performance.

Flip Wilson
Clerow "Flip" Wilson - b. 1933 d. 1998
Jersey City, NJ
Actor, comedian, hosted a successful TV variety show in the 1960s and 70s.

Robert Wuhl
Robert Wuhl - b. 1951
Union, NJ

Comedian, writer and actor, possesses a very recogonizable face.

Jane Wyatt
Jane Wyatt - b. 1910 d. 2006
Campgaw, NJ

Born in New Jersey but raised in New York City, actress perhaps best known for her roles as the mother on "Father Knows Best" and as Mr. Spock's mother in several Star Trek productions.

Ian Ziering
Ian Ziering - b. 1964
Newark, NJ

Born in Newark but raised in West Orange, Ian Ziering is perhaps best known for his role on the TV show Beverly Hills 90210. Also has several movies and other television shows to his credit.

Thanks to Peggy Bell for this suggestion.

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