Some family ties are more far-fetched than others (Barack Obama is Brad Pitt’s distant cousin and Kevin Bacon’s wife, Kyra Sedgwick, is a cousin of late model Edie Sedgwick), but the connections are there. Indeed, entertainers often beget entertainers, as evidenced in broods like the Fondas, Redgraves, and Baldwins, among numerous others.
A majority of these famous relatives are likely among your most recognizable character actors, but all of them are more interested in setting themselves apart from their loved ones rather than milking the nepotism card.
Yes, the Coppola clan is huge and spreads far and wide, but there are still a few surprise family members in the mix. Consider Francis Ford, the cinematic patriarch of the family (or the “Don,” if you will). There’s Francis’s sister, Talia Shire; his daughter, director (and onetime actress) Sofia Coppola; and nephew Nicolas Cage. But there’s also Shire’s own children, which include actor and Wes Anderson favorite Jason Schwartzman (who’s also shown up in cousin Sofia’s movies), and Robert Schwartzman, who played love interest to Anne Hathaway in The Princess Diaries and is lead singer of the band Rooney. If you add in the married ties, you’d be wise to be good to them if you’re working within their family business.
Jennifer and John Aniston
She’s a top-tier Hollywood actress and paparazzi favorite, and he’s Victor Kiriakis from Days of Our Lives. When Jennifer Aniston started out, it was her father who had more acting traction, playing one of Salem’s more prominent villians. These days, John has taken a back seat on Days to his daughter’s higher profile, but the two will always have their blood relation to bond over.
Emily and Zooey Deschanel
As Dr. Temperance “Bones” Brennan on the hit Fox show Bones (co-starring David Boreanaz), Emily is an adorable know-how, but outside of work, she’s also older sister to Zooey, whose own acting talents span between television and major films. Zooey is also an accomplished musician/singer-songwriter who’s currently working on her next album as part of the duo, She & Him, which she co-fronts with singer M. Ward. Born to director and Academy Award-nominated cinematographer Caleb and actress Mary Jo, the sisters have managed to stand on their own merit to build their careers.
Rashida and Quincy Jones
Rashida has raised her profile ever since her guest turn on The Office, recently starring in the Paul Rudd movie, I Love You, Man and co-starring in the highly anticipated TV show Parks and Recreation from Office creators Greg Daniels and Michael Shur. The thirty-three-year-old is just beginning to gain her place in Hollywood even though she’s the daughter of actress Peggy Lipton and iconic producer Quincy Jones. Thanks to her raw talent, Rashida is doing just fine making a name for herself.
Jessica and Kate Capshaw
Jessica heated things up with Sara Ramirez’s Dr. Torres on Grey’s Anatomy this season, but what you may not know is that she’s the real-life daughter of Kate Capshaw and step-daughter to Steven Spielberg. Kate is best known for her role in Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom and has only occasionally acted since the 1990s, but keep an eye out for Jessica, who seems to have a good grip on her career path without pulling the family strings.
Virginia and Michael Madsen
Virginia started out as a budding star in the eighties, followed by a career comeback in the early 2000s for her tender portrayal of a waitress who takes a chance on a failed writer in Sideways. Michael slowly rose to fame in the late eighties and early nineties, often playing the tough guy, only to find himself in the company of Quentin Tarantino’s favorite character-actor circle. You couldn’t come up with two different actors, but real-life siblings they are. And yet the Madsens continue to make their individual impacts in their work and prove to be a solid addition to the industry.
When it comes down to it, following in the family footsteps isn’t so out of the ordinary for anyone, famous or otherwise. According to the book Roots of Success: Why Children Follow in Their Parents’ Career Footsteps, by David N. Laband and Bernard F. Lentz, kids may choose to follow in their parents’ career paths simply based on the inside knowledge they gain being in close proximity to Mom and Dad’s workplace. So basically being Kirk Douglas’s son probably puts you in a better position to succeed in Hollywood than being John Doe’s.
Add to the fact that we’re talking careers in show business and it’s pretty easy to see why we end up with everyone from nieces and nephews to second cousins getting into the family business. In other words, don’t be surprised when that trailer hits for that future romantic comedy starring Suri Cruise and Shiloh Jolie-Pitt, with musical score by Apple Martin.