Famous People From Paramus Nj
Charles Samuel Joelson
John Bartow Prevost
Gary Saul Stein
Steven H. Temares
Yoojin Grace Wuertz
Famous People From Paramus NJ
Joe BenignoCurrently residing in Mahwah, New Jersey, Joe Benigno, a famous New Jersey radio personality is a Paramus native. Before his meteoric rise through the New Jersey radio ranks, Joe was a frequent caller to the WFAN going by the moniker “Joe from Saddle River”. His radio career has spanned two decades and he has released a book titled “Rules for New York Sports Fans” .
Galit ChaitShe was an award winning and world class competitive ice-dancer. Although she was born in Israel, Chait was raised in New Jersey and it is where she got her start in the world of ice-dancing at the age of 8. She broke into the mainstream ice dancing world at the age 17 where she competed in the U.S National competition for ice-skating in 1992. At the 1994 championships, she collided with another competitor and ultimately placed 6th in the competition. In 2002, she won bronze at the Ice Dancing World Championships. She retired in 2007 and stepped into a new phase and a role as a coach, mentoring and coaching the award-winning duo of Alexandra and Roman Zaretsky.
Lizabeth CohenThis award-winning, trail-blazing academic is a Paramus, New Jersey native. She was born and grew up in Paramus New Jersey. Lizabeth Cohen’s work entails a critical look at American Culture, gender issues and popular culture, among other things. She is the dean of Harvard’s Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study and Howard Mumford Jones Professor of America at the same university. She has won the Bancroft Prize in 1991 for her seminal work Making a New Deal and the Constance Rourke Prize for an article published in the America Quarterly.
Joseph ConiglioThis infamous individual was at one point the darling of the New Jersey having risen up from humble origins to become senator for the great people of New Jersey. For all his infamy, he did a lot of good sponsoring substantial and very high impact legislation that is still felt today. Among the laws he sponsored include the tough restrictions in the ‘Don’t call’ Act that enforces very huge fines for telemarketers who call for unsolicited deals. His infamy is as a result for his conviction for extortion for which served 20 months in jail.
Paul ContilloOne Paul Contillo brings to mind the concept that age is just but a number when the call to serve the public comes to you. At 84, Contillo served in the State Assembly as the representative for the people of the state of New Jersey. At the time, he was one of the few sages or oracles at the Capitol. His storied career in public service started in 1971 where he was elected as councilman and it was not until 1983 when he set his sights for the New Jersey seat in a special election. He served until 1993 when he was unseated by James Kroner. It would be another two decades before he would put his hat in the ring and ran for the senate once more. He finally bowed out of the senate in 2014, barely a year into his ultimate term. He finally retired from politics all together from then on.
Stacey DashAlthough born in the Bronx, New York, Stacy Dash moved to Paramus where she stayed until she graduated from Paramus High School in 1995. She is cousin to record producer, Damon Dash. This stunningly beautiful and bodacious on-screen siren has courted her share of controversy especially with her politics. At one time, she took on BET in regard to the 2016 Oscars boycott and called for the end of ‘Black History Month’, earning a lot of criticism in the process. Her views and politics notwithstanding, there is no denying Stacey Dash is very talented and her body of work is growing by the day.
Matt GhaffariMatt Ghaffari is a form amateur wrestler, MMA fighter and professional wrestler who was raised in Paramus, New Jersey. He holds the title for the only American Greco-Roman wrestler to have four world and Olympic medal champions. In other words, as a heavyweight wrestler, Ghaffari was really good. Afterwards, he tried his hand in MMA. His career in this sport was short-lived, bowing out after one fight that nearly resulted in him losing his left eye in 2002. From then on, he has toured the professional wrestling circuit and he is signing for Pro-Wrestling ZERO-ONE in 2002.
Jamie GoldJamie Gold has moved around a lot. Although he is currently based in Malibu, he moved to Paramus with his mother after his parents divorced and graduated from Paramus High School. He then moved to New York after graduating where he studied for a BA in State University of New York. All the while he was working as a talent on the side since he was 21. He is known for being a world-class poker player with his highest ever placing at the World Series of Poker being a win at the 2006 tournament. That win, however, was dogged with controversy over Gold’s sponsorship that culminated with Crispin Leyser, one of his partners filing a lawsuit that was ultimately settled out of court. After his huge win in 2006, he has split his time playing poker and running his businesses.
Charles Samuel JoelsonHe was an American lawyer and politician. Charles Samuel Joelson served as the Representative of the 8th District since 1961 to 1969 before resigning and being appointed to the bench of the New Jersey Superior Court. His route to public service started out with him practicing law after graduating and passing the bar in 1940. He then enlisted for the Navy in 1942 as an intelligence officer. His first attempt to run for public office was right after the war where he lost his bid to become the rep for the 8th District in a rather neck and neck election. After his loss, he served as counsel for Paterson City for the years 1949 to 1952 before being appointed deputy Attorney General in 1954.
When he was elected as the Rep in the 1960 election and subsequently sworn in, he is credited with enacting legislation that saved many school libraries by dedicating a huge chunk, approximately a billion dollars plus, to the development and sustaining of public libraries. He then quite his congressional seat and occupied the bench of the Superior Court of New Jersey in 1969. It was a position that he would serve in for 15 years before calling it quits in 1984.
Charles Samuel Joelson would pass away at the ripe old age of 83 in August 18, 1999.
Howard LorberHe is a prominent businessman and investor. Howard Lorber was born in The Bronx before moving to Paramus as a young boy. He then went on to join the Long Island University. Presently, he is the President and CEO of Vector Group, an impressive and very profitable holding company with extensive holding with the most notable one being Douglas Elliman, a huge real estate agency. He is the chairman of this subsidiary and he also holds seats at various boards.
Bob MenendezHe is the current Senator for the great of people of New Jersey. Menendez is a Democrat and was elected to the New Jersey after filling a seat vacated by the departure of Jon Corzine in 2006, a position he has held to-date. He started in public service by first running for a seat in the Union City School District’s Board of Education at the very young age of 20 in 1974. He decided to run for mayor of Union City in 1986 where he won. In 1988, he ran for the Representative of the 33rd District while still serving as mayor. A seat he won. He would serve in this position before going for the senate seat in 2006.
His tenure as senator has been dogged with some controversy with an indictment for corruption in 2015 threatening to blemish his otherwise stellar career. His trial ended with a mistrial in 2017. In 2018, however, the Justice Department dropped all charges against Senator Menendez.
Dean ObeidallahThis famous New Jersey comedian wears many hats. He is not only a comedian but also a radio presenter and an occasional contributor to CNN, The New York Times and Newsweek. He was born in Lodi but grew up in Paramus. Before going into comedy fulltime, it is worth noting that Obeidallah had graduated with a J.D from Fordham and practiced law for almost five years. His first recorded foray into the stand-up comedy world was at the NJ Bar Association stand-up comedy show. He then went on to perform stand-up in New York and since then has won a couple of awards for his body of work with most especially the ‘Spirit of Bill Hicks’ award in 2005.
George OlsenAlthough originally from Portland, Oregon, George Olsen ultimately settled in Paramus. He was a band leader for several bands throughout his life. He initially found his first band in the University of Michigan. After graduating from the university, Olsen and his band would make forays into Broadway and later on in the movies. His bands were known for being very prolific in their music churning out over 100 tunes that to this day play in the background in a restaurant in Paramus named after him. Olsen passed away in 1971.
Ken OringerThis award-winning Boston-based chef was born and raised in Paramus. Ken Oringer attended Bryant College and then Culinary Institute of America. One interesting titbit about his time at the Culinary Institute of America was that his classmates voted him ‘most likely to succeed, a prophecy that has come to pass as he has established a successful restaurant and even won an award for his work. He has been nomadic plying his trade in New York when he was starting out, then in Providence Rhode Island, followed by Greenwich before finally settling on Cambridge Massachusetts and ultimately setting up his business. Oringer won the prestigious James Beard Foundations award for the best chef in North East in 2001.
Lauren PassarelliBorn in 1960, Lauren Passarelli would wear many hats especially in the music industry when she would come of age. Today, she is not only a songwriter but professor of guitar, musician, recording engineer and author. In 1982, she would earn the distinction of being the first woman to graduate Berklee as guitar major. She is also part of The Beatles tribute group, All Together. At the moment, she is also professor of music at Berklee as well.
John Bartow PrevostWhen it comes to contributing to the legal fraternity, Paramus is among the best contributors to this field. It has a very rich history and John Bartow Prevost is part of that rich, legal history. Born in 1766, he would earn the distinction of being the first Superior Court judge of the territory of New Orleans.
Prevost started out his career as a recorder of New York City. He was appointed Supreme Court judge by Thomas Jefferson in 1804. He would serve until 1808 when he would then retire to practice law and undertake several assignments under James Munroe. He would then move to Peru where he would live out the rest of his years before passing away in 1825.
John RobertsonParamus continues to churn out superb sportsmen and John Robertson is one among many. He has a glittering resume as a collegiate player garnering the Jerry Rice Award and Offensive Rookie of the Year as a freshman. He played for Villanova for over 3 years and has lived all his life in Paramus. At the moment, he is a free agent.
Ira RubinHe was a professional, contract bridge player. Although he lived in The Bronx for much of his youth, Ira Rubin moved to Paramus in 1968. He would live there until his untimely demise in 2013 at the age of 82.
Rubin learned to play bridge in the 1930s. He learned it from German refugees who were camped at Lake Placid. His love for the game was so intense that he perfected his craft until he was able to play professionally while still in high school. One of the things he was widely known for while playing bridge was his intense and ice-cold manner while playing a round of bridge. Throughout his sparkling career, Rubin would accumulate 23 titles and the biggest title of them all, The Bermuda Bowl of 1976.
Gary Saul SteinAlthough a Newark native born in 1933, Gary Saul Stein moved to Paramus in 1956. He graduated from Duke University in the same year with Juris Doctor. He was appointed New Jersey Supreme Court judge, occupying the seat vacated by then retiring Sidney M. Schreiber. Most vocal critics of his Stein’s appointment alluded to his lack of experience as a judge and his prolonged absence from practicing law. Nonetheless, his appointment was ratified and he presided over a couple of landmark cases. He retired in 2007.
He is widely published opinion writer with 365 works under his belt. At the moment he serves as a director in various boards, namely The Valley Hospital in Ridgewood and Drew University.
Kazbek TambiHaving played as midfielder in the MLS, Kazbek Tambi has enjoyed a storied career both as player and coach. Originally from Paterson, Tambi currently lives in Paramus. He has played soccer since high school to the top level with his first club duty at the Columbia University. He played there from 1979 to 1983. Tambi was the captain of the 1983 team that reached the Final Four. He also captained the U.S. Men’s National Team in the 1983 Pan-American Games. In 1984, he was drafted to the New York Cosmos and then Minnesota Strikers. He would then play for the New York Express before finally settling on the New Jersey Eagles, where he would play until his retirement in 1988. He then started his coaching career first by being assistant coach for Seton Hall Men before finally being coach for New Jersey Stallions Women, U.S U-16 Girls Team and Seton Women.
Steven H. TemaresHe is the CEO of Bed, Bath and Beyond. Temares was born in The Bronx but moved to Paramus, which would be his home for the years to come. Prior to his meteoric rise within Bed, Bath and Beyond, Temares was a real estate lawyer. He was employed by Bed, Bath and Beyond as General Counsel and Director of Real Estate in 1992 before being promoted as a C.O.O. in 1997 before finally being its C.E.O. in 2003. Besides that, he is part owner of Sky Blue F.C, woman’s soccer team that plays in the National Women’s Soccer League.
Theodore TrautweinHe was a American judge who rose within the judiciary ranks, first as a county judge in 1964, then a District Judge and finally Appellate Court judge in 1981. He was famous for jailing a New Jersey reporter for refusing to hand over his notes and reveal his sources for a trial that Trautwein was presiding over. His landmark judgment and consequent squashing of the First Amendment Right that protects freedom of the press, has earned him and the infamous murder trial of “Dr. X”. This judgment kicked up an avalanche of protection measures for journalists protecting their sources during trial. He passed away in 2000.
TrixterMost rock fans in New Jersey have probably heard of Trixer, a glam metal band that was popular in the 80s and early 90s. Unfortunately, glam metal rarely had takers and quickly dwindled in popularity prompting the band to disband in 1993. The band would later reunite in 2007 and would tour the world in the years that would follow. In 2016, they graced the famous Rockingham Festival that is held annually in Nottingham. Trixter had a few works that were in Top 100 billboard like “Surrender” 1991 and “One in a million” 1991.
Connie WagnerConnie Wagner is known for her role as the Representative for the 38th Legislative district. A post she held from 2008 to 2013 when she had to step down so that she could move to Florida. However, she had a phenomenal career as a member of the Paramus Borough Council. She managed to clinch the Democratic nomination for the 38th legislative district seat fell vacant after its holder, Bob Gordon ran for the New Jersey Senate seat.
Yoojin Grace WuertzRevered for her seminal work, Everything Belongs To Us, Yoojin Grace Wuertz was raised in the Paramus and Ridgefield Park areas. She was born in Seoul, South Korea but moved to the U.S with her family at the age of 6. She is a Yale and New York University alumnus earning a B.A in English and M.A in Fiction Writing respectively. Although she wanted pursue a career as an academic, she dropped out from a Ph.D program in University of California for a full-time career in writing. Paramus is proud of this budding literary siren.
Elaine ZayakElaine Zayak is one of the many American Sporting treasures. She was an award-winning skater, with the 1982 Championship top spot under her belt. Born in Paramus, New Jersey, Elaine got into skating by chance after a horrific lawn mower accident robbed her of three toes. Although, it was part of her of physical therapy, she grew to love it and applied herself to being one of the best ice skaters of her time. Under the tutelage of the legendary Peter Burrows and Marylynn Geiderman, she entered the World Junior Championships in 1979 which she conquered placing first. As a result of her exemplary career, Zayak was inducted in the U.S Figure Skating Hall of Fame in 2003. A year later, she was inducted into the New Jersey Sports Hall of Fame in 2004. Nine years later, she was inducted into the National Polish-American Sports Hall of Fame. Nowadays, Zakaya is an ice skating teacher in Hackensack.