15 Acting Dynasties That Prove Talent Runs in the Family
by Jennifer Lafferty
It’s no secret that many stars have roots in showbiz—mother-daughtor duo Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson come to mind—but some celebrity roots are deeper than others. In a few cases, the acting lineage stretches back several generations, as with the Barrymores or the Chaplins. Check out these family dynasties with three or more generations of entertainers.
Chris Pine’s parents, Robert Pine and Gwynne Gilford, have appeared on numerous TV series throughout the years, even working together on the police drama CHiPs. But their showbiz dynasty began with Chris’s maternal grandmother Anne Gwynne, who acted mainly in 1940s-era horror films.
Pictured: Chris and Robert Pine
American Horror Story star Emma Roberts is the daughter of Oscar-nominated actor Eric Roberts and the niece of A-lister Julia Roberts. However, her show business roots also include grandparents Betty Lou and Walter Grady Roberts, who were both actors and playwrights.
Pictured: Julia and Emma Roberts
It’s no wonder Austrian actor Christoph Waltz has already won two Oscars, considering he comes from a prestigious theatrical family. Waltz’s lineage includes his parents, who worked in theater, and his maternal grandmother, Viennese Burgtheater actress Maria Mayen.
Pictured: Christoph Waltz and Maria Mayen
Few actors can claim a showbiz heritage as long and impressive as Drew Barrymore’s. Her theatrical roots began at least four generations ago. Her father John Drew Barrymore was an actor, but her paternal grandfather was the iconic stage and film actor John Barrymore.
Pictured: Drew, John Drew, and John Barrymore
Jurassic World star Bryce Dallas Howard started her acting career with films that were helmed by her father, actor-turned-director Ron Howard, but some of these movies also featured the work of Ron’s father, actor and writer Rance Howard.
Pictured: Bryce Dallas and Ron Howard
Sarah Sutherland is famous for playing Catherine Meyer on Veep, but she’s also well-known for being the daughter of “24” star Kiefer Sutherland and the granddaughter of veteran actor Donald Sutherland, whose most recent work includes The Hunger Games franchise.
Pictured: Kiefer and Sarah Sutherland
It’s well known that Dakota Johnson is the daughter of accomplished actors Melanie Griffith and Don Johnson, but her talent and sex appeal can also be traced back to her grandmother, Tippi Hedren of Hitchcock’s The Birds and Marnie.
Pictured: Dakota Johnson and Melanie Griffith
The Carradine clan is full of successful actors, starting with John Carradine (The Grapes of Wrath). Three of his sons—David, Keith, and Robert—were all accomplished actors, and Keith (Madam Secretary) is father to actress Martha Plimpton of Raising Hope.
Pictured: Robert, Christopher, Keith, John, Bruce, and David Carradine, Barbara Seagull, and Free Carradine
Oscar-winning Boyhood actress Patricia Arquette descends—along with actor siblings David, Rosanna, Alexis, and Richmond—from a well-known family of entertainers that includes her father, Lewis Arquette, and grandfather, comedian Cliff Arquette, who created the popular early television character Charlie Weaver.
Pictured: Alexis, Rosanna, Richmond, Patricia, and David Arquette
Versatile actress Kate Winslet is the offspring of a British theater family. Her parents were both stage actors; her maternal grandparents ran a repertory theater; and her uncle, Robert Bridges, was an accomplished stage and screen actor.
Pictured: Kate Winslet
Zoe Kravitz of the Divergent franchise comes from an eclectic showbiz family. Her father is singer/actor Lenny Kravitz, her mother is actress Lisa Bonet, and her paternal grandmother was Roxie Roker, who played Helen Willis on TV’s The Jeffersons.
Pictured: Lenny and Zoe Kravitz
The most famous member of the Chaplin family was, of course, movie legend Charlie Chaplin, whose parents were music hall entertainers. In his 1992 biopic Charlie’s mother was portrayed by his own daughter, actress Geraldine Chaplin.
Pictured: Charlie Chaplin
Bridget Fonda, known for 1990s flicks like Single White Female, is the third generation of the Fonda screen actor dynasty, featuring her father Peter (Easy Rider), as well as her aunt Jane (Monster-in-Law), and her grandfather, classic movie great Henry Fonda.
Pictured: Peter and Bridget Fonda
Among the most illustrious theatrical dynasties in Great Britain is the Redgrave family. Acclaimed actor Michael Redgrave (Heidi), his Oscar-winning daughter Vanessa, and granddaughter Joely Richardson (The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo) all come from the same bloodline.
Pictured: Vanessa Redgrave and Joely Richardson
Tyler & Jason Ritter
It’s common knowledge that Tyler Ritter of the short-lived series The McCarthys and brother Jason (Parenthood) are the sons of late comedy genius John Ritter, but they are also the grandsons of singing cowboy actor Tex Ritter.
Pictured: Tyler, Jason, and Tex Ritter