13 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Descendants of Famous People
From the dawn of time, key historical figures shaped the world in terms of politics, scientific discoveries, timeless literature, and breathtaking art. They left a lasting impact that transcends time, influencing generations of people. Regardless of age, there isn’t a person in the world who has yet to hear of these iconic names. At the same time, Hollywood celebrities have impacted the world in different ways through critically acclaimed films, music, and art.
With the rise of Hollywood in the early 1900s, stars became world-famous and influenced future generations of performers. It might come as a surprise, but some of the most important historical figures are distant relatives of your favorite movie stars, musicians, and reality TV personalities.
13 Celebrities You Didn’t Know Were Descendants of Famous People
1. Abraham Lincoln and Tom Hanks
Abraham Lincoln abolished slavery, leading the Union to victory over the Confederacy in the American Civil War. Often considered one of America’s greatest Presidents, Lincoln served from 1861 until his shocking assassination in 1865 at Ford Theatre. Lincoln’s third cousin, four times removed, is two-time Academy Award-winner Tom Hanks.
Hanks is related to Lincoln through his mother’s side. Often regarded as one of the finest actors of his generation, Hanks has starred in critically acclaimed movies Philadelphia, Forrest Gump, Sleepless in Seattle, and Saving Private Ryan.
2. Thomas Jefferson and Marilyn Monroe, Jennifer Lawrence, and Paris Hilton
The Founding Father, Thomas Jefferson, served as the third president of the United States from 1801 to 1809. He was a key figure in the American Revolution and the primary author of the Declaration of Independence. The famous yet controversial President has a large family tree with shocking descendants.
Jefferson is the 14th cousin, six times removed, of iconic movie star Marilyn Monroe. Furthermore, he’s first cousin, seven times removed, of the Academy Award-winning actress Jennifer Lawrence. If that wasn’t shocking enough, Jefferson is the 11th cousin, five times removed, of socialite and reality star Paris Hilton. Jefferson has a long list of distant relatives.
3. William Bradford and Jane Austin, Edward Norton, Clint Eastwood, and Alec Baldwin
In 1620, William Bradford escaped England on the Mayflower and moved to the Plymouth Colony to avoid persecution from King James I of England. Bradford eventually became the Governor of the Plymouth Colony. Bradford’s descendants are some of history and Hollywood’s most influential figures.
Best known for writing Pride & Prejudice, iconic author Jane Austen is the 4th great-granddaughter of Bradford. Modern-day Hollywood stars such as critically acclaimed actor Edward Norton, are also related to Bradford. In the 1970s, Bradford’s 10th great-grandson, Clint Eastwood, became one of Hollywood’s most enduring stars and filmmakers. Plus, Hollywood legend and 30 Rock star Alec Baldwin is Bradford’s 9th great-grandson.
4. Elizabeth II and Benedict Cumberbatch, Cara Delevingne, George W. Bush, and John Cena
From 1952 to 2022, Elizabeth II ruled as Queen of England for 70 years until her death. As a member of the Royal Family, she has several famous relatives, including her son King Charles III and grandsons, Prince William and Prince Harry. She also has a few notable Hollywood stars as relatives.
Best known for his starring roles in Sherlock and Doctor Strange, Benedict Cumberbatch is Elizabeth’s 7th cousin, one time removed by Sir William Bowes. Furthermore, she’s the 7th cousin, three times removed, of supermodel Cara Delevingne. Surprisingly, Elizabeth’s 11th cousin, one time removed, is the former President of the U.S. George W. Bush. She was also the 12th cousin of actor and WWE wrestler John Cena.
5. Jane Austen and Anna Chancellor
Jane Austen released four novels during her lifetime but only had moderate success. After she died in 1817, Austen’s work found a wider audience, and she soon became one of the greatest authors. Austen wrote several novels, notably Pride & Prejudice.
English actress Anna Chancellor is Austen’s great-grand niece eight generations removed. Their lives came full circle In 1995. Chancellor portrayed Caroline Bingley in the BBC made-for-television series Pride & Prejudice. Chancellor is also related to the famous actress Helena Bonham Carter.
6. George Burroughs and Walt Disney, George H.W. Bush, Marilyn Monroe, and Princess Diana
In the 1690s, mass hysteria ran wild as the Salem Witch trials convicted and prosecuted innocent people for crimes of witchcraft. In 1692, George Burroughs became the first minister to be executed for witchcraft. Despite his tragic death, Burroughs’s descendants became world-famous celebrities and politicians.
His 6th great-grandson Walt Disney created Mickey Mouse and the Disney company. Burroughs’s other famous relatives include former President George H.W. Bush, iconic actress Marilyn Monroe, and Princess Diana.
See more about - 19 Of The Most Famous Families In The World
7. Edward III and Jake Gyllenhaal, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Michael Douglas, and Hilary Duff
Edward III was King of England for fifty years, from 1327 to 1377, until his death. Edward III built up England’s army while shaping the government. In addition to being the grandson of King Edward I and great-grandson of King Henry III, Edward III’s famous descendants feature famous siblings, a teen idol, and a legendary actor.
Best known for her role as Lizzie McGuire, Hilary Duff is Edward’s 10th great-granddaughter. Edward’s also related to Hollywood stars and siblings Jake Gyllenhal and Maggie Gyllenhaal. Acting talent runs in Edward’s family tree as actor Michael Douglas is a distant cousin.
8. Francis Cooke and Kristen Wiig and Cindy Crawford
In 1620, pilgrim Francis Cooke boarded the small boat known as the Mayflower and headed to the Plymouth Colony. He played an essential role in developing New England and the surrounding area.
Cooke’s family tree has grown substantially over the decades since his arrival. Comedian and actress Kristen Wiig is Cooke’s 12th great-granddaughter while Cooke’s 11th great-granddaughter is iconic supermodel Cindy Crawford.
9. Charles Dickens and Harry Lloyd
Born in 1812, English writer Charles Dickens is one of the most famous authors in history. Many of his classic works, such as a Christmas Carol, Oliver Twist, Great Expectations, and A Tale of Two Cities, are still popular today.
While Dickens’ legacy lives on through his writing, his descendant Harry Lloyd is creating his own legacy. English actor Harry Lloyd first rose to fame in BBC’s Robin Hood. Later, Lloyd gained widespread fame for his roles in Doctor Who and as Viserys Targaryen in Game of Thrones.
10. William Brewster and Chevy Chase, Seth Macfarlane, and Paget Brewster
William Brewster boarded the 100-foot ship, the Mayflower, in 1620. Brewster quickly became a community leader in the New World due to his seniority. He played an essential role in the growth of the colony and New England. His impact continues to this day through his many descendants.
Best known for his role in the National Lampoon’s Vacation series, comedian and actor Chevy Chase is Brewster’s 11th great-grandson. Humor runs in Brewster’s family as Family Guy creator Seth Macfarlane is also Brewster’s 11th great-grandson. Furthermore, actress Paget Brewster shares the same last name as William. Paget is best known for her role in the critically acclaimed series Criminal Minds.
11. King Henry II and Brad Pitt and Paris Hilton
Born in 1133, King Henry II of England’s reign lasted from 1154 to 1189 until his death. He was a ruthless king motivated to restore his grandfather Henry I’s legacy. Later, Henry II’s son rebelled against their father in an attempt to steal the throne.
Of course, not all his descendants want to be King of England. Some are happy to rule over Hollywood. Iconic Hollywood actor Brad Pitt is Henry’s 25th cousin. The Queen of the socialites, Paris Hilton, is also related to King Henry through her father, Rick Hilton.
12. Richard Warren and John Ritter, Charlie Day, and Taylor Swift
Richard Warren was another passenger on the famous Mayflower in 1620. While Warren’s long journey took him to Massachusetts, his family tree would spread across America. In fact, several of his descendants became the biggest stars in Hollywood and music.
In the late 70s and early 80s, Warren’s 10th great-grandson, actor John Ritter, became a household name with his role in Three’s Company. Warren’s 11th great-grandson, Charlie Day, became world-famous for his role in It’s Always Sunny. However, none compare to Warren’s 9th great-granddaughter and top-selling solo musician, Taylor Swift.
13. King John and Humphrey Bogart
When the youngest son of King Henry II of England, John, was born, most suspected he’d never become king or even inherit any land. However, John became his father’s favorite when the other brothers became impatient and revolted against their father. After Richard III, John finally became king.
King John has several world-famous descendants, notably iconic actor Humphrey Bogart. He’s best known for his role in the classic film, Casablanca. At one time, Bogart was Hollywood’s biggest star. In other words, you could say he was the King of Hollywood.
See more about - 15 Sets Of Famous Brothers