They say fame is genetic, but it surely can’t be, can it? No, it isn’t, but having a famous parent can afford you the opportunities and connections in life to become famous yourself. It’s not a huge surprise many celebrities and politicians come from dynasties. Let’s take a look who they are.
Talent certainly runs in the family, with both Laura and her famous father having Academy Award nominations each. A frequent collaborator with David Lynch, Dern’s most recognizable role is probably as the female lead of Jurassic Park. Dern’s career in both television and film is enviable, with few getting to experience the wealth and quality of projects she’s had a part in.
Laura’s father is Bruce Dern, an equally celebrated actor; though he did manage to win an Oscar where Laura did not. Dern’s professional acting career is approaching sixty years in total, having worked with famous directors like Alfred Hitchcock and Quentin Tarantino. Even at the age of 80, Bruce is working hard to do what he loves the most; acting.
Juliet enjoyed early success starring opposite Johnny Depp in Tim Burton’s Ed Wood, but she didn’t gain significant recognition until appearing in the cult hit TV series Buffy the Vampire Slayer. Since then she’s been ingrained in all things geek and regularly gets voice over work for animation. Not only does she enjoy a varied and vibrant career, but she also directs documentaries.
Juliet’s father, Martin, has himself had a very eclectic career, first starting out as a newspaper cartoonist before turning to acting. Having worked with the likes of Hitchcock, Robert DeNiro, Al Pacino, and Matt Damon in his sixty-year acting career, there’s very little acting ground he hasn’t already trodden. He even has an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor!
Even without knowing Colin’s last name, you can clearly see the resemblance between him and his father. Colin has been determined to make a name for himself in acting without having to rely on his family name and has turned out fairly impressive performances in both film and television. Most notably, Colin has been impressing audiences in the first season of the TV version of Fargo.
It’s Forrest Gump himself! Considered one of the most famous and likable actors around, Tom Hanks has been a feature of Hollywood for decades and decades. Hanks is a father of four, and apart from Colin, he also has a son called Chet who was an aspiring rapper with a level of notoriety around the Hollywood social circle.
She’s a screenwriter, a director, and (to the chagrin of audiences who saw Godfather Part III) an actress. To her credit, she has established a reputable name for herself as a director. She peaked early, with Lost in Translation being possibly her finest work, but it stands the test of time as a soulful film that makes her father proud. I’m sure you can guess exactly who he is.
Francis Ford Coppola
Yes, the director of The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now, The Conversation, and much to our collective dismay, Jack. Much like his daughter Sofia, Coppola peaked very early with many of his best films being made during the 1970s while Coppola was in his 30s. Still, Francis Ford Coppola is rightfully considered one of the best contemporary American directors still alive today.
This Yale graduate is one smart cookie, and funny too, considering her success in improvised comedy. Williams is multi-talented, to say the least. So who’s her famous father? We’ll save that for the next page, but you’ll be surprised. Allison is most recognizable on television for appearing in HBO’s Girls, but she’s a lot easier to find online performing in Funny or Die sketches.
Lantern-jawed news anchor Brian Williams is Allison’s father. Bet you didn’t see that coming, did you? The talented comic actress smartly decided on another career path in life from her father. That’s one way to avoid comparisons, I guess. Brian is an award-winning journalist, who got himself in trouble for falsely claiming his helicopter during a 2003 trip to Iraq was hit by a rocket.
Nicole didn’t have the best start in life. Her parents couldn’t afford to keep her, and so they turned to a famous friend of theirs to look after their daughter, who eventually adopted her as his daughter. A turbulent and troubled childhood tortured poor Nicole for some time, but eventually, she matured and grew beyond her rough start in life to become a responsible parent herself.
Who knew Lionel Richie was big-hearted enough to take in an adopted daughter? The singer and songwriter rose to fame as part of the Commodores, before he split off into a solo career that sent his fame stratospheric. Most recently, Richie wowed audiences at a live performance at Britain’s premiere music festival, Glastonbury.
George W. Bush
Remember this guy? It felt like only yesterday where he made a rousing speech on education and asked the vital question “is our children learning?” All jokes aside, the ‘W’ in George W. Bush was necessary because he had a famous father he was named after who also happened to have been a US President. It must have been quite something to be able to follow in his father’s footsteps.
George H.W Bush
The H stands for Herb, by the way. The Bush family are a political dynasty, or rather were a political dynasty (sorry, Jeb!). As Vice President under Ronald Reagan, George Sr was considered the power behind the throne. It seems ironic that when his son became President, the same situation was happening with his Vice President, Dick “Darth Vader” Cheney.
The Star Wars fan’s favorite. Fisher has had one hell of a life, as I’m sure many tabloid fans may know. Her family life was turbulent, to put it mildly. It’s no surprise she became something of a wild child, especially once she found fame playing Princess Leia. Fisher’s bad behaviour on the set of the Star Wars films is well documented, by herself in her autobiography no less!
Fisher’s mother is actress and singer Debbie Reynolds, who rose to fame herself as a music star. Her first big break was predictably in a musical, and what a musical it was. She was one of the stars of Singin’ in the Rain, which as I’m sure you’re aware was a gigantic hit. She married Eddie Fisher, Carrie’s father. Eddie was arguably the cause of Carrie’s bad behavior, too.
The name may throw you off, but Eva’s face is certainly familiar if you look close enough. Not guessed who her famous mother is yet? Well, you’ll just have to wait for the next page to find out who she’s related to. Eva primarily has had a career on television, first starting out in television hosting before moving on to acting in shows such as Californication and The Mindy Project.
Yes, Susan Sarandon is Eva Amurri’s mother. Why the name difference? That’s because Sarandon’s husband in the 80s was Italian director Franco Amurri, and Eva was given (and has continued to use) his last name. Susan Sarandon has enjoyed a very fruitful career in showbiz for nearly fifty years, having starred in movies such as Thelma & Louise and Lorenzo’s Oil.
Jamie Lee Curtis
The original scream queen. Jamie Lee Curtis became an icon for starring as Laurie Strode in John Carpenter’s horrifying Halloween, which arguably gave birth to the slasher flick genre. Curtis has had an amazing career in film over four decades, starring in A Fish Called Wanda, True Lies, and Freaky Friday, and more. Who’s her famous parent, though?
That’s right, the Some Like It Hot star is Jamie Lee Curtis’ father. The life of Tony Curtis sure was a weird one, but considering he was at the height of his fame during Hollywood’s heyday, that’s no surprise. Curtis drew the ire of critics in his early career for getting roles based on his looks alone, but film historians agree that he improved significantly once his career really took off.
What’s this, another famous parent? Psycho star Janet Leigh is Jamie Lee Curtis’ mother. That’s quite a combination. Considering Jamie Lee Curtis made her debut in a fairly low-rent slasher flick, she definitely worked her way up to the top without any help from her parents. Oddly enough, you can’t see any familial resemblance in either of her parents. Genetics are weird like that.
The star of The Office and Parks and Recreation is something of a comedy powerhouse. You’d almost expect comedy to be in her blood, but who exactly are her famous family? They aren’t comedians, that’s for sure. Her famous father may not have given her the comedy chops she’s used to succeed, but it certainly inspired her love of music.
The legendary musician and music producer Quincy Jones is Rashida’s father. For sixty years, Jones has been a tremendous mover and shaker in the music industry. Although he started as a humble jazz arranger, music history could have been changed forever had he not produced music with Michael Jackson. You can thank Jones for some of the best songs, ever.
One of the most exciting young actors in the business, and also the owner of the most intense set of eyebrows in Hollywood. Collins has mainly stuck to film acting, but will shortly be branching out into television for the second time with Amazon series The Last Tycoon, which is vaguely based on the F. Scott Fitzgerald book The Love of the Last Tycoon.
I can feel it coming in the air tonight, oh lord. Obviously, British musician Phil Collins is the father of Lily. The multi-award winning Collins is something of a controversial figure in the music world. Despite his success, he’s had years of bad press. Justified or unjustified, the overarching point we can all agree on is that Phil Collins is a music genius without compare.
This major Hollywood actor has a famous father you wouldn’t expect. While most children of celebrities tend to live in the shadow of their more famous parents, Pine is certainly one who has more than excelled his father’s career. That’s not a knock on his father exactly, it’s just that Pine has found a new level of success that his papa never quite got to.
The CHiPs and Days of our Lives star is indeed Chris Pine’s father. You may think we sold Pine Sr. short a little on the previous page, and you’re probably right. Robert Pine achieved plenty of fame on television during his busiest years, and it’s likely more fame than any of us will ever experience. His son certainly has done well for himself, though.
Ashley Judd has a had a weird career. She’s been in amazing, legendary projects, and she’s been in truly terrible ones too. Still, you have to wonder if acting is even really her passion considering her change in priorities lately. An avid political and social activist (much like her famous mother), Judd has spun further and further away from acting and into the realm of politics.
The country singer is indeed the mother of Ashley Judd. With five Grammy Awards to her name, you can’t argue that Naomi has had influence over the music industry. Although forced into retirement thanks to a longstanding illness, Naomi seems to have found a new lease of life as an activist and motivational speaker, advocating for research into liver disease.
The outgoing President of the United States. Politics is in Obama’s blood, as you’ll soon find out. Born in Hawaii (not Kenya, as President-Elect Donald Trump claims), Barack made a name for himself in Chicago as a community organizer, eventually becoming a state legislator, and later Chicago’s senator. For a guy who came from a broken home, he’s done okay for himself.
Barack Obama Sr
Though you may not have realized it, the Obama family are a political dynasty in their own right. Obama Sr was a senior economist within the Kenyan Government, having studied in Hawaii and later at Harvard University. The story of Barack Obama Sr is an interesting one, and while it did end sadly, the life of Obama Sr very much informed the direction his son would take.
Officially one of the coolest people in Hollywood, Bridges has been acting since he was only an infant. It wasn’t until 1970 that Bridges began acting for real, and boy was he a prolific worker, seemingly desperate to step out of the shadow of his father. By the 80s, Jeff was his own man and has continued to make films that set him apart from most other Hollywood actors.
Jeff certainly inherited his work ethic from Lloyd. While Jeff was especially prolific during the 70s and 80s, Lloyd was equally as busy during the 40s and 50s. This made Lloyd fairly absent for a lot of Jeff’s early life, but there doesn’t appear to have been any long-lasting ill will between the two. Although they are both very distinct actors, it seems they have many shared similarities.
His father’s genes run strong in Jake, as you can likely tell from his appearance. Jake hasn’t really reached the career highs of his father, though he made a damn good attempt at it. Unfortunately Jake was always going to be stuck in the shadow of his larger than life father. Jake had a couple big credits to his name, however, having worked with the likes of Steven Spielberg in the past.
Look at those teeth! You can certainly see where Jake gets his choppers from. Busey first rose to huge stardom for his Academy Award nominated performance in The Buddy Holly Story as its titular character. Busey is an oddity in Hollywood, after a motorcycle accident left him with little to no mental filters for speaking what’s on his mind. At least you know he’s being honest.
There’s kind of a trend for the kids of famous film actors to make their name in television instead. Just look at Colin Hanks. Scott Caan is clearly following that example with Golden Globe nominated performance in Hawaii Five-0. Scott was also part of an ill-advised rap group during the 90s, so at least there’s that… distinction…. to set him apart from his father.
James Caan’s career reads like a list of the greatest films ever created. It’s no wonder that Scott wisely decided to sidestep a film career and work in television instead. The Academy Award nominated Caan was, of course, Sonny Corleone in The Godfather, a role that still defines him to this very day. Even at 76, he’s still working hard, taking on four film projects in 2014 alone.
Johnson is just starting out in Hollywood, but she’s certainly managed to gain a foothold in major movies such as Black Mass, as well as attaching herself to a franchise like 50 Shades of Gray. That’s not bad for someone her age. Is this flourishing career because of who her parents are? Probably not, but it doesn’t hurt to have family with existing Hollywood connections.
Dakota Johnson’s mother is Melanie Griffith, the Academy Award nominated actress is famous for films such as Something Wild and Working Girl. While we doubt she’s an overbearing “stage mom”, Melanie has probably given her daughter plenty of pointers on how to get ahead in Hollywood. With many years of experience in film, it seems fitting she’d pass down her knowledge.
Dakota Johnson’s other famous parent is the actor Don Johnson. Johnson was the star of Miami Vice, which made him a television icon during the 1980s. If Melanie Griffith was giving Dakota pointers about what to do with her career, you can be sure Don was doing the same. Hopefully they weren’t giving out contradictory advice, that’d be a potential disaster!
Although largely retired from acting, Paltrow is still a familiar name for audiences. The peak of her career was during the late 90s when she won an Oscar for Shakespeare in Love, and has most recently been a fixture in the Iron Man movies. So, who’s Gwyneth Paltrow’s famous parent? I personally had no idea until doing the research for this article so the answer may surprise you.
Yes, Blythe Danner is Gwyneth Paltrow’s famous mother. The resemblance isn’t quite that strong, and the lack of a consistently family name makes it a little hard to link the two unless you do the research. Danner is a famous actress in her own right thanks to a fifty-year career in film, theater, and television. You may recognize her from the “Meet the _” series opposite Robert DeNiro.
Bryce Dallas Howard
Bryce Dallas Howard is one of the newest movers and shakers in Hollywood and has currently managed to attach herself to the Jurassic Park franchise for the next few sequels. It’s no secret who her famous film director father is, though the only resemblance between the two is their hair color and a shared family name.
Happy Days star and Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard is clearly Bryce’s father! Those red haired genes are pretty damn strong, and very striking on both father and daughter. Ron actually gave Bryce her passion for acting, having given her small cameo roles in around four of his films, including Apollo 13 and A Beautiful Mind.
What is there to say about Charlie Sheen that hasn’t been said already? Charlie has been a much loved fixture of film, and later television, for decades. A bit of an “episode” a few years back did change the perception of him in public considerably, though. As for a famous parent, it’s very well established who his celebrity papa is. For those not aware of who Charlie’s father is, read on.
Legendary actor Martin Sheen is obviously Charlie’s father! Born Ramon Estevez, Sheen took a stage name after a suggestion from a casting agent. Apart from the name, clearly the two have a striking resemblance to each other. Considering Sheen’s other kids have gone on to be fairly well-adjusted individuals, it’s a shame that Charlie tarnished the family name being a party boy.
This film superstar comes from a very recognizable lineage from the heyday of Hollywood. That’s a pretty large shadow to step out from, and you have to admit Michael has done a great job of being his own man rather than a pale imitation of his father. Known for bold, expressive performances, Michael Douglas is a man who has nothing to prove. Not even to his dad.
At 100 years old, Kirk Douglas is still going strong. Born in New York to a poor immigrant family, Kirk became one of the first real “movie stars” during the first boom of Hollywood. Kirk is also an avid political activist, advocating against the “Hollywood Blacklist” that barred professionals with left-wing sympathies working in the film business. This love of activism is shared with his son.
Anybody with quick access to Wikipedia could discover that Richardson is part of an acting dynasty. Joely began acting quite young, starting out as an extra at the age of three in a film directed by her father, Tony Richardson. Her most famous parent isn’t her father; however, it’s her mother. I did say she was part of an acting dynasty, not a directing one.
If you are even slightly aware of the history of modern British theater, the name Vanessa Redgrave should jump right out at you. Making a name for herself in the Royal Shakespeare Company, Redgrave quickly made the jump to Broadway and London’s West End. Before long she had won an Oscar and has collected no less than six Academy Award nominations in total.
It’s unknown whether Arkin himself wanted to get into acting as a young man, or if his famous father nudged him in that direction, but the younger Arkin has been acting since he was barely 13 years old. Since then, he’s gone on to have a near-fifty year career in film and television, while also finding the time to appear both on and off Broadway in numerous theater productions.
Seems starting young runs in the family after all. The elder Arkin began acting by the age of 10, starting his professional career at just 22. Arkin is one of six people who has earned an Academy Award nomination for their first performance on screen, which was just the beginning of his Oscar nomination success. In 2006, Arkin finally won an Oscar for Best Supporting Actor.
Ed Begley Jr.
It doesn’t take a genius to figure out who Ed Begley Jr’s famous father is, but let’s save the details for the next page. The actor has an enormous six Emmy nominations for medical comedy-drama St. Elsewhere. Although he’s eased off the acting work recently, he’s taken up caused close to his heart which includes environmental activism and fighting systemic institutional racism.
Ed Begley was one of the original great actors on radio. Having made his start in Broadway, Begley found radio an easy career segway to make. As television and film rose in popularity, Begley ended up moving into acting in these mediums too. Although it took him until he was 60, Begley finally got the credit and recognition he deserved with an Academy Award.
If there’s one thing Capshaw knows how to do, it’s wearing a lab coat. The actress appears to be somewhat typecast, with her two best-known roles being doctors in medical dramas. Jessica has found her niche, at least. Capshaw is certainly a well-trained actress, having attended London’s finest drama school, RADA. I wonder where she got the money for tuition…
Although Kate herself isn’t particularly famous, you may know her incredibly famous (and wealthy) husband. Kate is married to none other than Steven Spielberg. The pair first worked together while she was the female lead in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom, and they clearly hit it off. Jessica Capshaw is Spielberg’s step-daughter, which we’re sure has many, many benefits.
Here’s another fine example of a child born into celebrity who’s managed to step out of the shadow of their parent. Amanda took the challenge of her famous father’s legacy head on and proved herself to be a great actress by wowing critics early on in her career. With Tony Awards and BAFTA and Emmy nominations, Amanda Plummer is completely her own woman.
To just put emphasis on how large a shadow Amanda had to step out of, her father Christopher is an actor with sixty years of experience. In that time he has won Tony Awards, Emmys, Golden Globes, and an Academy Award for his performances. It was no small feat for Amanda to establish herself as an individual, rather than forever being eclipsed by her father.
Emma has a lot to live up to. Not only does she have a famous father, but also an aunt who is even more famous than her dad. That can be pretty intimidating. Despite a relatively lengthy list of roles in film, Emma has done well for herself on television, becoming a series regular in two of the American Horror Story offshoots, and is currently the lead in Scream Queens.
Academy Award nominee Eric Roberts is Emma’s father and Julia Roberts is his sister and Emma’s aunt. I guess we had another acting dynasty on our hands and we didn’t even know it. Although his fame has been up and down in the past, Eric Roberts is a character actor directors have come to rely on for his solid performances. You could say he’s a somewhat unsung hero.