Famous families have always been a part of the Hollywood machine. From the Douglases to the Baldwins, the Fondas to the Garland/Minnellis, these families have seen generations of stars dominate the silver screen. However, there are other clans who have similarly extended their influence throughout generations, yet people may be unaware of how each member connects to the legacy. So some of the following 10 Hollywood dynasties may surprise you.
10. The Coppolas
Legendary director Francis Ford Coppola left an everlasting mark on the movie business with classic pictures such as The Godfather trilogy, Apocalypse Now and Bram Stoker’s Dracula. Furthermore, he is the patriarch of an incredible Hollywood dynasty that has encompassed directors, screenwriters, and actors across three generations. And many of these family members have worked on his films over the years, as well as forging their own paths.
Yes, Francis’ sister Talia Shire is an actress who starred in The Godfather as Connie Corleone and, most memorably, as Adrian Balboa in the Rocky franchise. She was nominated for Best Supporting Actress and Best Actress at the Academy Awards for those roles. And Shire’s son is actor Jason Schwartzman, who has starred in Rushmore, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Saving Mr. Banks.
Sofia Coppola, Francis’ daughter, is an Oscar-winning writer/director in her own right. She won Best Original Screenplay and was nominated for Best Director for Lost In Translation. Later, she went on to direct other critically acclaimed films such as Marie Antoinette and The Bling Ring. Francis’ granddaughter Gia Coppola is also a director, whose upcoming film Mainstream stars Andrew Garfield.
Francis’ nephew has experienced arguably the most mainstream success of the family. The son of August, a literature professor and Francis’ older brother, Nicolas Coppola took on a stage name from the beginning to avoid any accusation of Hollywood nepotism. As Nicolas Cage, he won a Best Actor Oscar for Leaving Las Vegas, before becoming an action star in hits like Face/Off, Con Air and the National Treasure franchise.
9. The Reynolds/Fishers
In Star Wars: The Force Awakens, fans were introduced to the relatively minor character Kaydel Ko Connix. A member of the General Leia Organa’s resistance against the Empire, Connix would return in 2017’s The Last Jedi and 2019’s The Rise Of Skywalker. By this point, eagle-eyed fans may have realized the significance of the actress playing Connix.
That actress is Billie Lourd, daughter of the legendary Carrie Fisher, who played Leia in the Star Wars franchise. Lourd later starred in critically adored 2019 comedy Booksmart, as well as the television series Scream Queens. Her performance in American Horror Story: 1984 impressed creator Ryan Murphy so much that he revealed he would write a new miniseries especially for her to star in.
Even though Fisher died in 2016, Connix and Leia shared screen time in The Rise Of Skywalker through special effects. Lourd wrote a 2019 TIME piece where she explained that she’d wanted to do it for her future children, “So someday they’ll have one more movie to watch that Mommy and Grandma were in together.” She also played Leia for a flashback scene, in which her face was digitally removed and her mother’s added.
What’s more, Lourd has honored the memory of her grandmother, the late star Debbie Reynolds. In 2020 she appeared in Will & Grace as the granddaughter of a character played by Reynolds. Lourd amusingly addressed Reynolds’ view on her career in a 2017 appearance on Late Night with Seth Meyers, joking, “First of all, she gets really upset when I get called ‘Carrie Fisher’s daughter.’ She wants people to call me ‘Debbie Reynolds’ granddaughter.’”
8. The Curtises
When director John Carpenter was casting the role of Laurie Strode for his 1978 slasher film Halloween, he had his sights set on Anne Lockhart, the daughter of Lassie actress June Lockhart. However, Anne couldn’t do it, so Carpenter went with his second choice, TV actress Jamie Lee Curtis. The casting would prove fortuitous for the production, however, when co-writer and producer Debra Hill discovered Jamie Lee also had famous Hollywood parents.
Yes, speaking to Cinefantastique magazine in 1998, Hill said, “I knew casting Jamie Lee would be great publicity for the film because her mother was in Psycho.” Indeed, Jamie Lee’s mother was Janet Leigh, the star who played shower scene victim Marion Crane in Alfred Hitchcock’s 1960 classic. Playing Strode would vault Jamie Lee into “scream queen” status right alongside her mother.
Jamie Lee would go on to have an incredible career. She played Strode four more times and will be back a fifth time in the 2021 sequel Halloween Kills. Furthermore, she’s starred in hit comedies such as Trading Places and A Fish Called Wanda, action movies like True Lies and Blue Steel, and in 2019 appeared in the Oscar-nominated Knives Out.
But who was Jamie Lee’s famous father? None-other-than Hollywood icon Tony Curtis, star of Some Like It Hot and The Defiant Ones. In April Jamie Lee posted on Instagram about the reality of growing up with famous parents. She wrote, “My birth and subsequent growing up was documented for public consumption. My parent’s fame and beauty preceded me. The comparing. The measuring up. Everywhere I went. Everything I did.”
7. The Reitmans
When Ivan Reitman found out that his son Jason had been nominated for Best Director at the Academy Awards for his indie hit Juno, he became very emotional. Speaking to CBS News’ Sunday Morning in 2008, he said, “I suddenly saw his picture and realized that my son got nominated. And I started crying just like I am now, and I had to call him right away.”
It was obviously a special moment for Ivan who, despite being the legendary director of comedy hits like Ghostbusters and Stripes, had never received a nomination himself. In fact, Jason revealed that, as a child, he once asked his father why he never attended the Oscars ceremony. Ivan replied, “You know, if I’m ever fortunate enough to be nominated, I’ll go.”
The 12 year old Jason then asked, “Yeah, but what if I get nominated, will you go? And he said, ‘Yes,’ he was very gracious.” In the end, Jason would be nominated for Best Director again for his 2009 comedy drama Up In The Air. Ivan and Jason aren’t the only Reitmans to have forged thriving careers in the entertainment industry though.
Catherine, Ivan’s daughter, is the creator, executive producer, writer and lead star of the hit Canadian sitcom Workin’ Moms. It was nominated for five Canadian Screen Awards in 2017 and now streams globally on Netflix. Catherine has also appeared in American comedy series such as Black-ish and It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia.
6. The Johnsons
Dakota Johnson is currently one of Hollywood’s premier rising stars. The young actress was the lead in the 50 Shades trilogy, based on E.L. James’ bestselling erotic novels. She has also starred in gangster movie Black Mass, neo-noir thriller Bad Times At The El Royale and indie comedy drama The Peanut Butter Falcon.
Dakota’s parents are also Hollywood stars. Her father is Don Johnson, who became a TV icon in the 1980s when he played James “Sonny” Crockett in Miami Vice. In recent years he has been having a late career surge, with roles in movies as diverse as Knives Out, Book Club and Django Unchained. In 2019 he also played a key part in HBO’s Watchmen television series.
Academy Award nominee Melanie Griffith is Dakota’s mother, and the two women recently starred together in 2020 comedy drama The High Note. Though Griffith’s career has slowed down in the 2010s, she was a Hollywood mainstay in the 1980s and 1990s. Her most famous films would include Body Double, Working Girl and The Bonfire of the Vanities.
Finally, Griffith’s mother and Dakota’s grandmother is Tippi Hedren, arguably Alfred Hitchcock’s most famous blonde bombshell leading lady. She made her screen debut in his 1963 thriller The Birds and then starred in his next film, 1964’s Marnie. In 2012 she revealed how Hitchcock sexually harassed her during the filming of both movies, describing him as, “an unusual genius, and evil, and deviant.”
5. The Skarsgårds
The patriarch of the Skarsgård family is Stellan, a Swedish actor who has been a presence in Hollywood for over 30 years. These days he may be best known as Dr. Erik Selvig in the Marvel Cinematic Universe or as Boris Shcherbina in HBO’s Chernobyl. But he has also been in films as diverse as Good Will Hunting, Ronin and Mamma Mia!.
However, his family really became a dynasty when four of his sons became sought-after actors in Hollywood. His oldest, Alexander, first came to fame as sexy vampire Eric Northman in HBO’s True Blood. He then went on to star in films such as Battleship and The Legend Of Tarzan, before returning to HBO for Big Little Lies.
Gustaf, Stellan’s second oldest son, has starred as the eccentric and dangerous Floki in the hit History Channel show Vikings since 2013. He also appeared in HBO’s Westworld and played Merlin in Netflix’ reimagining of Arthurian legend Cursed. Valter, Stellan’s youngest son, starred in 2018’s Lords Of Chaos and is also a videogame live streamer on Twitch.
Finally, 30 year old Bill may have experienced the most success of all Stellan’s sons. He played Pennywise the Dancing Clown in Andy Muschietti’s phenomenally successful two part remake of Stephen King’s IT. Furthermore, he featured in eye-catching supporting roles in Atomic Blonde and Deadpool 2, as well as lead roles in the television series’ Hemlock Grove and Castle Rock.
4. The Wayans
Supermarket manager Howell Stouten Wayans and his social worker wife Elvira could have had little idea that their family name would eventually become synonymous with Hollywood comedy. Their son Keenan Ivory Wayans is the creator of the seminal sketch comedy series In Living Color, which ran on Fox from 1990 to 1994. It helped launch the careers of stars such as Jamie Foxx, Jennifer Lopez, and Jim Carrey.
Keenan’s younger brother Damon wrote and performed on In Living Color from 1990 to 1992, before becoming a star himself. And this was thanks to films like action comedy The Last Boy Scout and superhero spoof Blankman. Damon would later find great success with the sitcom My Wife and Kids. From 2016 to 2019, he starred as Roger Murtaugh in the TV version of action movie classic Lethal Weapon.
Shawn and Marlon Wayans, the stars of critically derided but hugely successful box office hits White Chicks and Little Man, have often come as a double act. Both of those movies were directed by their older brother Keenan, as was megahit spoof Scary Movie, which they co-wrote and starred in. Marlon even tried his hand outside of comedy with the well-reviewed drama Requiem For A Dream in 2000.
Now the next generation of Wayans has entered the family business. Damon Wayans Jr. played Coach in the long-running sitcom New Girl and Brad Williams in Happy Endings. He has also appeared in films like The Other Guys and Let’s Be Cops.
3. The Russell/Hawns
Hollywood superstars Kurt Russell and Goldie Hawn have been together since 1983. Interestingly, they’ve never married, and this has often been something they are asked about. In 2015, Hawn gave some insight during an episode of the UK talk show Loose Women. She said, “I would have been long divorced if I’d been married.”
Hawn explained, “Marriage is an interesting psychological thing. If you need to feel bound to someone, then it’s important to be married.” But, if you like having independence, “it gives you the freedom to make decisions one way or the other. For me, I chose to stay. Kurt chose to stay, and we like the choice.” The relationship has clearly worked for the couple, as they’ve both had hugely successful careers.
Hawn starred in films such as Private Benjamin, Bird On A Wire, Death becomes Her and The First Wives Club. While her career slowed down in the 2000s and 2010s, her partner has experienced something of a renaissance. Russell’s roles in blockbusters such as Guardians Of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Furious 7 and The Fate Of The Furious have introduced him to a new generation of fans.
Hawn’s daughter from her second marriage, Kate Hudson, is an Academy Award-nominated actress who has starred in Almost Famous, How To Lose A Guy In 10 Days and Bride Wars. Hawn and Russell’s son Wyatt Russell is also enjoying a burgeoning career, having starred in 22 Jump Street and Overlord. He will next be seen in Marvel’s Disney+ series The Falcon and the Winter Soldier.
2. The Chaplins
Fans of Game Of Thrones may not realize that a line can be drawn from the television series all the way back to the greatest star of the silent era, Charlie Chaplin. In the show, the actress Oona Chaplin played healer Talisa Stark, the wife of Robb Stark. In real life, Oona is actually Charlie’s granddaughter and the latest member of the Chaplin dynasty to grace our screens.
Oona’s mother Geraldine was a successful actress in her own right. You see, she played Tonya in David Lean’s classic 1965 epic Doctor Zhivago, for which she received a Golden Globe nomination. In more modern times, she appeared in season three of Netflix’ The Crown and also Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom and A Monster Calls.
Oona’s family connection in the entertainment business goes even further than her famous mother and grandfather, though. Her father is Patricio Castilla, a Chilean cinematographer and her great-great grandfather was actor James O’Neill, the first man to play the Count of Monte Cristo in the 1913 film. The family also worked in theater; her great grandfather was esteemed playwright Eugene O’Neill.
As the latest in a long line of stars, Oona has found a way to be at peace with her family legacy. In 2013 she told Metro, “There’s always been a wealth of talent in my family and that can be overwhelming. The key for me was deciding I deserved to be happy. It’s not about being privileged, it’s about being grateful for the chances I’ve had.”
1. The Hustons
The Huston family is perhaps the ultimate Hollywood dynasty. The patriarch was Walter Huston, who received a Best Supporting Actor Oscar for his role in 1948 western The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. Amazingly, that movie was written and directed by his son John and it landed him the Best Director and Best Screenplay awards. To this day, they are the only father and son duo to win trophies at the same Oscar ceremony.
And John was one of the most acclaimed and iconic directors in Hollywood history, with a string of hits that are all now part of the classic cinema pantheon. He directed The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, The Man Who Would Be King and Prizzi’s Honor, amongst others. During his near five decade career, he was nominated for a staggering 15 Oscars.
John’s daughter Anjelica was directed to a Best Supporting Actress Oscar by her father in Prizzi’s Honor. She is also known for her Best Actress-nominated role in The Grifters and her beloved performance as Morticia Addams in The Addams Family franchise. To a whole generation, however, she will forever be remembered as the terrifying Grand High Witch in Roald Dahl adaptation The Witches.
Anjelica’s half-brother Danny is one of Hollywood’s go-to villains, playing dastardly roles in
blockbusters such as Wonder Woman, X-Men Origins: Wolverine and Angel Has Fallen. Finally, Danny and Anjelica’s nephew Jack is the fourth generation of the family to appear on-screen. He is known for roles in HBO’s Boardwalk Empire, The Irishman and the 2016 Ben-Hur remake.