by Francesca Piancone

Life may not begin at 60, but if these folks are any indication, it doesn’t get any less interesting…


Rod Hirsch • Dunellen

Community Leader

A hero supporting our overseas heroes, Hirsch founded “Operation Shoebox” in 2005. It’s a volunteer-based organization dedicated to shipping care packages filled with all sorts of necessities to our military men and women far away from home.


Cathi Rendfrey • Delran

Community Leader

Rendfrey is vigorously involved in women’s rights, directing the Women’s Opportunity Center at the YMCA of Burlington County, which helps displaced homemakers gain economic knowledge through education, networking, outreach and job preparations.



Eric Maskin • Princeton


Maskin won a Nobel Prize in 2007 for his contributions to mechanism design theory, a branch of economics that describes how institutions function in the midst of inefficient markets. Maskin lives with his family in Albert Einstein’s former residence.


Cynthia Meryl • Westfield

Theatre Director

Meryl founded the New Jersey Youth Theatre in Westfield, serving as its Artistic Director and Master Teacher for more than two decades. NJYT offers high-quality theatre arts education at little or no cost to young people with the talent and ambition to make it to Broadway.


Jane Hanson • Montclair

Community Leader

As co-founder of Partners for Women and Justice, Hanson has helped thousands of women and children involved in domestic violence and abuse. The organization offers free legal services from many volunteer lawyers as well as a fulltime staff.


JoJo Starbuck • Madison


A four-time U.S. figure skating champion, Starbuck devotes herself to tutoring the newest generation of ice princesses at the Essex Skating Club.


Max Weinberg • Atlantic Highlands


The E Street Band veteran became a breakout star after teaming with Conan O’Brien. His new group, The Max Weinberg Big Band, plays the hits of the 30s, 40s & 50s.



Gloria Gaynor • Green Brook


Gaynor was the original disco diva, and she holds on to that title by continuing to deliver knockout concerts all over the world. I Will Survive has become an anthem for personal strength and self-discovery.


Bruce Springsteen • Rumson


Springsteen ranks among the most influential songwriters and performers in the history of rock. More important, you never know when he’ll pop on stage at a Jersey Shore club for a surprise set.


Zygi Wilf • Springfield

NFL Owner

A Fairleigh Dickinson grad, Wilf built malls and apartment complexes throughout New Jersey. He headed a group that purchased the Minnesota Vikings in 2005.


Stevie Wonder • Alpine


The master performer continues to churn out new music and electrify audiences after five decades in front of the microphone.



Bruce Springsteen • Rumson


Springsteen ranks among the most influential songwriters and performers in the history of rock. More important, you never know when he’ll pop on stage at a Jersey Shore club for a surprise set.


Zygi Wilf • Springfield

NFL Owner

A Fairleigh Dickinson grad, Wilf built malls and apartment complexes throughout New Jersey. He headed a group that purchased the Minnesota Vikings in 2005.


Stevie Wonder • Alpine


The master performer continues to churn out new music and electrify audiences after five decades in front of the microphone.


Nelson Johnson • Hammonton


While conducting legal research in Atlantic County, he pieced together the seamy history of AC and wrote a book. Maybe you’ve heard of it? Boardwalk Empire.


Southside Johnny Lyon • Ocean Grove


The originator of Jersey Shore Rock, Lyon inspired countless young musicians, including Jon Bon Jovi. His band recently returned from a European Tour to play an east Coast swing that included—where else?—The Stone Pony in Asbury Park.



Steve Forbes • Bedminster


Taking after his father and grandfather, Forbes published his first magazine while an undergrad at Princeton. As CEO of the publication that bears his family name, he is one of the country’s most influential conservative forces.



Sol Barer • Mendham

Organic Chemist

Barer is leading the research into therapies that turn incurable blood cancers into manageable diseases. A Rutgers Ph.D., he ranks among New Jersey’s most acclaimed and honored scientific minds.


Connie Chung • Middletown


The second woman to ever co-anchor a major network’s national news broadcast, Chung has worked for ABC, NBC, CBS, CNN and MSNBC. Did hubby Maury make this list? Read on…


Bob Hurley • Jersey City


Coach Hurley has led St. Anthony’s High in Jersey City to 26 state championships (and counting). He was just the third high school basketball coach to be inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame.


Woody Johnson • Bedminster


Leader/Philanthropist The great-grandson of J&J co-founder Robert Wood Johnson, Woody serves as Chairman and CEO of the company and also owns the NFL Jets. He is an avid supporter of charitable organizations, fundraising for lupus, diabetes and more.



Bettye LaVette • West Orange


 LaVette has been pumping out jaw-dropping blues, jazz, rock and R&B performances for a half-century. Since moving to NJ a decade ago, the Great Lady of Soul has scored a couple of Grammy nominations and performed at the Kennedy Center.


Roy Pedersen • Lambertville

Art Historian

A noted gallery owner, Pederson has been working for a decade on a landmark book about the Impressionist painters of New Jersey. It’ll stir up a hornet’s nest in the art world when it’s published in 2013. Trust us on this one.



Danny DeVito • Interlaken


Whether playing Louie on Taxi or Frank on It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, DeVito has a way of making the most loathsome characters utterly charming.


Deborah Harry • Red Bank


As the front woman for Blondie, Harry was the New Wave diva of the 1970s. She graduated from Hawthorne High and Centenary College, so she’s NJ all the way.



Mel Karmazin • Mantoloking

Entertainment Executive

The co-founder of Infinity Broadcasting in the 1980s, Karmazin pushed sports talk into the cultural stratosphere with WFAN, and later brought Howard Stern to millions of listeners as CEO of Sirius XM Radio.



George Benson • Englewood


 A jazz guitar prodigy in the 60s, Benson launched an epic solo career in the mid-70s with Breezin’. The album went triple-platinum, selling more than three million copies. In 2009, Benson was recognized as a Jazz Master—the National Endowment of the Arts’ highest honor.


Leon Cooperman • Short Hills

Business Leader/Philanthropist

The billionaire head of Omega Advisors devotes a huge percentage of his attention and wealth to charity and education. Cooperman has followed the lead of Warren Buffett and Bill Gates in signing The Giving Pledge.


Peter Kellogg • Short Hills

Business Leader/Philanthropist

Kellogg took over his father’s specialty brokerage at age 30 and transformed it into a Wall Street market-maker. Since selling the company for $6.5 billion in 2000, Kellogg has been a generous supporter of countless causes, from his old high school to the U.S. Ski Team.


Joe Pesci • Lavallette


The quintessential pugnacious Garden Stater, Pesci was a successful child actor on Broadway and TV in the 1950s. He was running a restaurant in the Bronx in the late-70s when he got a call from Robert De Niro to audition for a co-starring role in Raging Bull. The rest, as they say, is history.



Muhammad Ali • Cherry Hill


Ali was the first sports star to use his fame to draw attention to social injustice—and paid a heavy price. All these years later, the three-time heavyweight champ is still revered as both an athlete and activist.


Bonnie McCay • Bridgewater


The Rutgers professor is known for her extensive research focusing on sustainable marine fishery conditions and ecosystems around the world, while stressing the significance of the adaptation of institutions, such as science, law and property.



Daniel Murnick • Bernardsville

Physicist Another Rutgers professor, Murnick pioneered the development of the Laser Assisted Ratio Analyzer—a breath test that detects stomach/intestinal ulcers, which replaces invasive surgery.



Roger Ailes • Cresskill


Say what you will about his politics or his TV network, but long before joining FOX, Ailes was already a legend as a conservative media consultant. He worked for the likes of Nixon, Reagan and Bush I, and engineered Rudy Giuliani’s first mayoral campaign in 1989.



Carolyn Clark • Long Valley

Ballet Director

The American Ballet Theatre performer used her knowledge and love of the dance world to fashion a highly acclaimed company and school in Livingston. It’s been flourishing under her direction since the 1960s.


Ben E. King • Teaneck Musician

King’s recording of Stand By Me had the unique distinction of being a Top 10 single 25 years apart, in 1961 and again in 1986. His nonprofit, The Stand by Me Foundation, reaches out to young people in Bergen County.


Maury Povich • Middletown

TV Personality

The father of tabloid infotainment is married to Connie Chung. They met in the early 80s when both were working in a Washington D.C. newsroom. His self-titled talk show has been pulling huge ratings for more than two decades.   



Pete Dawkins • Rumson

Athlete/Military Leader

Dawkins turned down a scholarship to Yale to attend West Point in the 1950s. Good decision. He won the Heisman Trophy for Army in 1958 and retired with the rank of Brigadier General 25 years later. In between, he attended Oxford on a Rhodes Scholarship and while there taught the Brits an overhand rugby throw dubbed the Yankee Torpedo.


Joyce Carol Oates • Princeton


Oates began writing at age 14 and has been on a straight path of success and determination ever since. Them, one of her first remarkable novels, has been followed by over 50 published works. She has been a creative writing professor at Princeton since 1978.


C.K. Williams • Princeton


 The Newark-born poet won the Pulitzer Prize in 2000 for Repair, his volume regarding forgiveness. Like Oates, Williams teaches creative writing at Princeton.



Alan Alda • Leonia


 During his years as the star of M*A*S*H*, Alda commuted from New Jersey to Hollywood so as not to uproot his family. Six Emmys later, his star continues to burn brightly, with unforgettable turns on series such as The West Wing, 30 Rock and The Big C. Alda also starred in the Broadway revival of Glengarry Glen Ross and the 2011 film Tower Heist.


Bob Lucky • Fair Haven


Engineer Lucky won the coveted Marconi Prize for developing the adaptive equalizer that quadrupled data transmission rates for modems and telephone lines. An expert on the relationship between technology and society, Lucky chairs the group appointed by Gov. Christie to oversee the redevelopment of Ft. Monmouth.


Robert Wilson • Holmdel


Along with Bell Labs co-worker Arno Allan Penzias, Wilson discovered the cosmic microwave background radiation that proved the Big Bang theory, in 1964. They received a Nobel Prize in physics 14 years later.



Thomas Kean • Bedminster Township


Our 48th Governor (1982 to 1990)—as well as the Chairman of the “9-11 Commission”—Kean served as President of Drew University for 15 years. Kean University also bears his family name.


The Amazing Kreskin • North Caldwell


Born George Kresge in Montclair, Kreskin was inspired by comic book hero Mandrake the Magician. Not a psychic or an illusionist, Kreskin nonetheless has an uncanny talent for predicting the future. (He knew you’d be reading this article.)



Michael Graves • Princeton


Renowned for his interior design and commercial and residential buildings, Graves also produced sleek, functional domestic items for Target. He taught for nearly four decades at Princeton and is the director of the firm Michael Graves & Associates.



Danny Aiello • Saddle River


Few actors can play ugly and violent, and also gentle and sensitive, as well as Aiello. Stop and think of the big-time films he’s been in—Moonstruck, Bang the Drum Slowly, Do the Right Thing, Broadway Danny Rose, Pret-a-Porter, The Godfather. Simply amazing.



Wally Broecker • Closter


The man who coined the term Global Warming in the 1970s has authored more than 450 papers and 10 books, including The Great Ocean Conveyor in 2010. It was Broecker who convinced Land’s End billionaire Gary Comer to devote much of his fortune to raising awareness about climate change.


Jim Bunning • Cherry Hill


The author of a perfect game against the Mets in 1964, Bunning followed a Hall of Fame baseball career with more than two decades of service in the U.S. Senate (R Kentucky). Bunning returned to South Jersey after leaving Washington in 2011.


Herwig Kogelnik • Rumson

Electrical Engineer

Among Kogelnik’s influential contributions during 40 years at Bell Labs were distributed feedback lasers, holographic data storage and multichannel optical networks. That last one is what makes the Internet work—take that Al Gore!


James P. “Doc” McGlone • Boonton


The beloved theater director staged more than 250 productions during his tenure at Seton Hall. He established an enduring Theater-in-the-Round tradition on the South Orange campus before retiring in 2011.


Bob McGrath • Teaneck


Known to generations of kids as Bob on Sesame Street, McGrath stands as one of the most beloved and trusted people in the history of children’s television.



Dick Kazmaier • Rumson

Athlete/Business Leader

Kazmaier appeared on the cover of Time in 1951 during a season that saw him win the Heisman Trophy for the Princeton football team. He turned down a chance to play in the NFL, choosing instead to attend Harvard Business School. Kazmaier went on to become one of the most respected figures in the sports marketing and finance industry.


John McPhee • Princeton


McPhee’s first book, A Sense of Where You Are, profiled fellow Princetonian Bill Bradley. Since then his work has garnered countless accolades and awards, including a 1999 Pulitzer for Annals of the Former World. McPhee’s roommate in school was Dick Kazmaier.



Mary Higgins Clark • Saddle River


The Queen of Suspense has pumped out 42 best-sellers. She has been the President of the Mystery Writers of America and served as Chairman of the International Crime Congress.


John Nash • Princeton Junction


The subject of the film A Beautiful Mind, Nash broke new ground on game theory while struggling with paranoid schizophrenia. His mathematical theories have a wide range of applications, from economics to artificial intelligence, and provide an intriguing prism through which to view chance and events.



Bill Jersey • Lambertville

Filmmaker/Artist See

Judith Trojan’s profile of Bill on the facing page.


Clark Paradise • Toms River

Community Leader

Clark and his wife, Jean (81), stand out among the thousands of selfless community volunteers around the state. The Paradises created Your Grandmother’s Cupboard to collect and distribute desperately needed personal-care items (plus food and clothing) to impoverished families in temporary housing.



Bucky Pizzarelli • Saddle River


 Pizzarelli was a guitar virtuoso long before it went electric, earning a seat in Vaughn Monroe’s big band as a teenager in the 1940s. He was voted into the New Jersey Hall of Fame last year.



Yogi Berra • Montclair


One of baseball’s great pressure players—and the author of countless off-kilter quotes—Yogi is a regular institution in his adopted hometown of Montclair.



Frank Lautenberg • Cliffside Park


The oldest member of the U.S. Senate, Lautenberg initially retired but returned to Washington after Bob Torricelli got into hot water. Before entering politics, Lautenberg ran ADP in Roseland.   



Melva Radcliffe • Wall


Yes, you read that right. Radcliffe was born in Paterson in 1901 and is closing in on the state longevity record of 112. She has survived colon cancer and two broken hips. Both of her sisters also reached triple-digits.


Editor’s Note: Is there an extraordinary 60+ New Jerseyan you think should have made this list? Tell us why on our Facebook page – EDGE Magazine (NJ).