Although celebrities are famous in their own right, quite a few of them have ancestors that made impressive impacts on history and helped to change the world! While we may know many of these stars from their time in front of the camera or behind a microphone, many of their ancestors founded countries and won wars among other impressive feats. Take a look to see which of these celebrities have ancestors you would have never imagined.
Robert Pattinson Has A Frightening Ancestor
Actor Robert Pattinson first made waves by playing Cedric Diggory in Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. However, his career really took off when he starred as the vampire Edward Cullen in the Twilight franchise, making him one of the world's highest-paid stars. Since then, he has turned to more serious roles to prove that he's an actor to be taken seriously.
While Pattinson may have played a vampire, he has an ancestor who helped inspire the vampire myth. He is a distant relative to Vlad the Impaler, who is the inspiration behind Bram Stoker's Dracula.
Armie Hammer Is A Descendant Of A Cherokee Chief
Armie Hammer scored his first leading role as Billy Graham in the 2008 film, Billy: The Early Years. However, he rose to fame for his portrayal of the Winklevoss twins in David Fincher's The Social Network in 2010. From there, his career took off, and he has become a heartthrob and sought-out actor.
Besides being the great-grandson of oil tycoon Armand Hammer, the actor is also related to Cherokee Chief Kanagatucko. This chief was an advocate for peace during the French and Indian and Seven Years' War. Kanagatucko was also a spiritual leader in his tribe, earning the name "The First Beloved Man."
Johnny Depp's Ancestor Made History
Johnny Depp is a jack of all trades and is known best as an actor and a producer, and musician. Over the course of his career, he has won a Golden Globe for Best Actor and has been nominated for three Academy Awards for Best Actor.
He is also related to Elizabeth Key Grinstead. Elizabeth is Depp's eighth great-grandmother and was one of the North American colonies' first people to sue for freedom and win. This impressive woman won her freedom, and her infant son, John, on July 21, 1656.
Dakota And Elle Fanning Come From Royalty
Dakota and Elle Fanning are American actresses. Dakota came into prominence at the young age of seven and has been featured in several successful films over her career. Elle is Dakota's younger sister and is also the youngest person to serve as a jury member at the Cannes Film Festival.
Aside from being Hollywood royalty, the two sisters hail from true English royalty. The two can trace their maternal lineage back to the 14th-century ruler King Edward III. Kate Middleton also shares this ancestry, which makes the sister and her distant cousins.
Tom Hanks Is Related To Several Notable Leaders
One of the most popular actors in Hollywood, Tom Hanks, is known for his ability to execute a wide range of roles. His films have grossed almost $10 billion worldwide, making him the fourth-highest-grossing actor in North America. Hanks is also a respected filmmaker, and for all his work, was awarded the Presidential Honor of Freedom.
Hanks is related to Abraham Lincoln, being his third cousin, four times removed. He's also distantly related to Herbert Hoover and King John of England.
Zooey Deschanel Is Related To An Abolitionist
Zooey Deschanel is best recognized for her deadpan roles in movies such as The Good Girl, Elf, Yes Man, 500 Days of Summer, and more. On top of her film roles, she is also known for her role as Jess Day on New Girl, for which she received Emmy and Golden Globe nominations. She is also a successful musician, establishing the band She & Him.
Her 4th great Grandmother, Sarah Henderson Pownall, was an abolitionist who was active in the Underground Railroad before the Civil War.
Brooke Shields Has Numerous Powerful Ancestors
An American actress and model, Brooke Shields started her modeling career as a child before earning her first leading role in Louis Malle's Pretty Baby in 1978. In her teenage years, she would continue modeling as well as starring in films such as The Blue Lagoon and Endless Love.
After attending Princeton University, she appeared in minor roles in films and some TV roles. It's possible that her good looks can be attributed to her connection to royalty. Shields' paternal grandmother, Marina Torlonia, was an aristocrat and member of the famous Torlonia Italian noble family. She's also distantly related to King Henry IV, the first Bourbon King of France.
Sarah Jessica Parker's Ancestor Was A Fearless Young Man
Sarah Jessica Parker is an actress, designer, and producer. For her role as Carrie Bradshaw on the HBO series Sex and the City, she was awarded numerous accolades with Bradshaw eventually being named one of the greatest female characters in American television.
Although Bradshaw may not be much of an outdoor adventurer herself, her 4th great-grandfather, John Hodge, surely was. In 1849, he made an impressive 2,300-mile journey across the United States to strike his fortune during the California Gold Rush. He was just 24 years old when he successfully reached California.
Hilary Duff Is An 18th Cousin To Royalty
In her youth, Hilary Duff achieved widespread fame as the title character in the Disney television series Lizzie McGuire. Duff would appear in a series of films for young people before transitioning to more mature roles. Her acting and successful music career eventually brought her into the fashion and business world.
Duff, at one point, was the "queen of teens," but she isn't the only member of the family to hold the title of queen. Interestingly, Duff is an 18th cousin to both Queen Elizabeth II and King Edward III.
Cindy Crawford's Ancestor Was The First Holy Roman Emperor
An American actress, model, and businesswoman, Cindy Crawford's early success in modeling turned her into an international star, eventually leading her to television and film roles. Between the 1980 and 90s, she was one of the most popular supermodels globally and could be found frequently in many magazines.
In 2013, Crawford learned that her ancestors were made up of English nobility from the middle ages and that she is a descendant of Charlemagne, the King of the Franks, King of the Lombards, and the Emperor of the Romans.
Bill Paxton Is Related To An American Revolution Hero
Bill Paxton was best known for films such as Titanic, The Terminator, Commando, Apollo 13, Aliens, Tombstone, and countless others. Throughout his career, he earned several accolades for his work until his untimely death in 2017, with his final film appearance being in The Circle.
Incredibly, the actor's fourth great-grandfather was named Benjamin Sharp, who played a major role during the American Revolution. Sharp began his military service in 1755 and went on to fight at the Battle of King's Mountain. The battle was won by mountaineers, along with Sharp, who were mostly untrained soldiers, although the victory has been described as a turning point in the war.
Jim Parson's Relative Was An Impressive Doctor
Jim Parsons is best known for playing Sheldon Cooper on the CS sitcom The Big Bang Theory between 2007 and 2019. He received four Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actor in a Comedy Series and a Golden Globe for Best Actor. In 2018, Forbes estimated his salary to be around $26.5 million, making him the world's highest-paid television actor. He has also worked on Broadway and had supporting roles in films.
His 3rd great grandfather was Dr. Jean Baptiste Hacker, who was an expert in yellow fever. Furthermore, Hacker published an insightful article on the topic in 1854 in the New Orleans Medical and Surgical Journal.
Jake And Maggie Gyllenhaal Have Numerous Respected Ancestors
Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal are two well-respected actors that have both been in notable movies throughout the years, even acting alongside one another in 2001's Donnie Darko. On top of both of their parents being directors and involved in the film industry, those aren't the only family members in Hollywood they are related to.
The Gyllenhaal siblings are also descendants of King Edward III of England, connecting them to other titans in the film industry, including Audrey Hepburn, Michael Douglas, and Humphrey Bogart.
George Clooney Is Distant Relatives To "Old Abe"
George Clooney has made a name for himself as a beloved actor, director, producer, and screenwriter. To date, he has received three Golden Globe Awards, two Academy Awards, and an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award. From 2006 to 2009 Clooney was included on Time's list of the hundred most influential people. He's also known for his economic activism and is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.
Considering Clooney's attraction to activism, perhaps this came from his distant ancestor, Abraham Lincoln. His maternal great-great-great-great-grandmother, Mary Anne Sparrow, was the half-sister of Nancy Lincoln, the mother of acclaimed President Abraham Lincoln.
Angelina Jolie Hails From French Royalty
Angelina Jolie is an actress, filmmaker, and humanitarian. Over the years, she has won an Academy Award, three Golden Globes, and at numerous points was Hollywood's highest-paid actress. Today, she is considered to be one of the most influential and powerful women in the entertainment industry.
While Jolie may be considered one of the queens of Hollywood, she also comes from royalty. Her lineage traces back to Philip II, the 12th century King of France, and therefore Marie of France. Jolie is also supposedly the 26th cousin of Queen Elizabeth II.
Matt Damon's Great-Uncle Is Connected To One Of His Films
One of the most respected actors of his time, Matt Damon has starred in countless iconic films such as Good Will Hunting, The Departed, and Ford v Ferrari, with Forbes ranking him as one of Hollywood's most bankable stars. One of his most notable roles, however, was as Private Ryan in Steven Spielberg's Saving Private Ryan.
Interestingly enough, Damon's great-uncle was Lieutenant Colonel Key Fay, who was a soldier during World War II. He was part of the 5th Armored Division of the Army that was part of the Utah Beach invasion in France, which occurred one month after the Omaha Beach invasion that was featured at the beginning of Saving Private Ryan.
Paris Hilton Has More Than Enough Famous Ancestors
Paris Hilton is a model, actress, socialite, media personality, and businesswoman. She is the granddaughter of Conrad Hilton, the founder of Hilton Hotels. Over the years, Hilton has dabbled in numerous different projects and forms of media and is credited with reviving the "famous for being famous" phenomenon throughout the 2000s.
However, Paris isn't the only person in her lineage that's famous. She's the 20th cousin to King Henry II of England. This also makes her related to Bette Davis, F. Scott Fitzgerald, and even Brad Pitt!
Clint Eastwood Has A Common Ancestor With Many People
Clint Eastwood is a jack of all trades, being an incredibly successful actor, director, composer, and producer. He became an international star as "The Man With No Name" in the Spaghetti Western Dollars trilogy. His following roles would help establish him as an icon of masculinity.
Eastwood is also a descendent of King Henry I of England. Because of this, it also means that he shares blood with former politicians such as President Franklin Pierce and First Lady Nancy Reagan. It also links him to Bill Gates and Sigourney Weaver.
Brad Pitt Comes From Kings
Brad Pitt is one of the most recognizable men in Hollywood, with some of his most notable films being Fight Club, the Ocean's 11 series, Troy, Legends of the Fall, and more. He has earned numerous recognitions throughout his career and owns his own production company titled Plan B Entertainment.
Pitt's lineage can be traced back to his 12th-century ancestor, King Henry II, who ruled over England for five years. This connection also makes him the Queen of England's 25th cousin.
Tilda Swinton's Ancestor Was A Medieval Revolutionary
Tilda Swinton is a Scottish actress that is known for acting in both independent arthouse films as well as major blockbusters. She has received numerous awards for her work worldwide, such as in 2020, when she was named a recipient of the British Film Institute Fellowship in "recognition of their outstanding contribution to film or television culture."
Her ancestor was famous in Britain for his own reason, and that was for fighting against them. Swinton is related to Robert the Bruce of Scotland, who fought against King Edward I of England for control over Scotland back in the 1300s.