March 2010 - Go Elizabeth!
Did you know that Elizabeth was the birthplace of several Hollywood Stars and the setting for numerous Movies and Television Shows?

Among the actors making their natal début in town were….

Dick Vosburgh, born 1929, was an accomplished comedy writer who wrote for such huge stars as Bob Hope and Dean Martin. He is also the father of actress Tilly Vosburgh. Daniel Hugh Kelly, born 1952, starred in such films as Cujo and Star Trek: Insurrection as well as in numerous television shows. Elizabeth Pena, born 1961, whose film credits include La Bamba and Down and out in Beverly Hills has also appeared in many television hits. Debralee Scott, born 1953, of American Graffiti and Police Academy 3 fame also has an impressive list of television roles. Thomas Mitchell, born 1892, best known as Uncle Billy from It’s a Wonderful Life has had a distinguished acting career that spanned decades and Tom Colicchio, born 1962, is head judge of the popular television cooking show, Top Chef.

So if you were born in Elizabeth and have aspirations of becoming a star of motion pictures or television, rest assured you’ll be in good company…see you in Hollywood!

Speaking of Hollywood, did you know that several scenes from the popular HBO Miniseries, The Soprano’s were filmed in Elizabeth? It’s true, the first season of the Sopranos included scenes filmed at local businesses such as Manolo’s, Centanni’s Prime Meats and Elizabeth General Hospital, while the Turnpike “Elizabeth 13A” sign is featured prominently in the opening of the show.

And most recently…the Academy Award nominated and Golden Globe winning Film, “The Wrestler” starring Mickey Rourke and Marissa Tomei was filmed right here in Elizabeth and contained more than five minutes worth of footage at the Vintage Mode Store at 1055 Elizabeth Avenue. Rourke won the Golden Globe for Best Actor and was nominated for an Academy Award along with his co-star, Tomei, who was nominated for Best Supporting Actress. The Avenue’s “five minutes of fame” occurred in a scene where Rourke asks Tomei advice about a gift for his college aged daughter. Tomei replied, “I know the place, it’s a great little Vintage shop in Elizabeth, I think on Elizabeth Avenue.” The scenes then cuts to Rourke waiting outside the store for her to arrive before they shop for and eventually find some gifts in the Elizabeth Avenue store. “Not a day goes by that a customer doesn’t come into my store and tell me they saw Vintage Mode in The Wrestler,” said Young Pak, owner. “It was a true honor to have the movie filmed here and a day I will never forget,” said Pak.

Many Television and Movie sites were highlighted in the 2009 Tour de Elizabeth annual bicycle event that passed by where many of the movies or TV shows were filmed. The nearly 400 riders were treated to colorful signage denoting those sites, including HBO’s hit series, “The Sopranos.” (Manolos Restaurant, 91 Elizabeth Avenue) Academy Award nominated movie, “The Wrestler” (Vintage Mode) and TV shows such as Sci Fi Channel’s Ghost Hunters and Law and Order (County Courthouse). Other sites included; “The Devils Advocate (Elizabeth General Hospital-Al Pacino, Keanu Reeves), “Far from Heaven” (Dennis Quaid), “War of the Worlds” (Tom Cruise), “Sweet and Lowdown (Ritz Theater, 1135 E. Jersey Street-Woody Allen, Sean Penn, Uma Thurman), “The Perfect Holiday” (Jersey Gardens Mall, Queen Latifah) and Jersey Drive (Front Street).

The posters were designed by children from the Art Departments of Ms. Anna DiGeronimo from School 31 (S. Elmora Avenue) and Christine DeMattia from the Ronald Reagan School on Newark Avenue.