Nepotism is the practice among those with power or influence who favor relatives or friends, especially by giving them jobs. That pretty much sums up Hollywood and the film industry, does it not? Favoritism and preference are as common in Hollywood as going on diets and waiters that are really aspiring actors. Nepotism in Hollywood isn’t all bad – it’s led to some of the most famous families in film industry history. There are vaudeville veterans who paved the way for their children to be stars and there’s no shortage of producers and directors who provided their families with every talent they could wish for.
These are the most important families in Hollywood history, who made a real dent in the industry in which their power is still felt today. Hollywood moguls, unforgettable stars, and behind-the-scenes big heads are the ones who really make the town turn. It’s because of them that Hollywood is what it is today.
The Warner Brothers: The End of the Silent Film Era
It would be impossible to talk about the history of Hollywood without mentioning the Warner Brothers. Brothers Harry, Albert, Sam, and Jack Warner together built one of the first major Hollywood studios. And it was all thanks to one dog.
Photo shows left to right, Major Albert Warner, vive-president, J.L Warner, production head and H.M Warner president of Warner Brothers Inc. (Photo by Los Angeles Examiner/USC Libraries/Corbis via Getty Images)
Once they incorporated their company in 1923, they found a trained German Shepherd whose name was Rin Tin Tin. The dog became a breakout box-office success, making it financially possible for the brothers to take some risks. Their first big risk was with the release of the first “talkie” film in 1927, ‘The Jazz Singer.’ It was the first movie with talking, which marked the end of the silent film era.
Making History with Their Films and Talent
It all paid off in the end as the sound era began, and the Warner Brothers to this day continue to be one of Hollywood’s key studios. Their studio was one of the Big Eight studios during Hollywood’s Golden Age, making stars out of their contract actors.
The Jazz Singer is a 1927 American musical film and the first motion picture with synchronized dialogue sequences. Directed by Alan Crosland and produced by Warner Bros, with its Vitaphone sound-on-disc system, the movie stars Al Jolson. (Photo by: Universal History Archive/UIG via Getty Images)
You might recognize the legendary names Bette Davis, Humphrey Bogart, and Errol Flynn. The studio produced classic films like ‘Casablanca’ (1942), ‘A Streetcar Named Desire’ (1951), ‘My Fair Lady’ (1964), and ‘Bonnie and Clyde’ (1967). If those aren’t groundbreaking films, then what is?
The next family is more modern, yet equally as influential…
The Kardashians: A New Form of Hollywood Celebrity
Robert Kardashian was the Kardashian family patriarch, and he was a relatively low-key member of the memorable media spectacle that was the O.J. Simpson trial in 1995. It was only after his death in 2003 that his wife and their children went on to eventually become household names.
(clockwise from top left) Burton Jenner, Khloe Kardashian, Bruce Jenner, Kris Jenner, Kim Kardashian, Brandon Jenner, Brody Jenner, Kourtney Kardashian, Robert Kardashian, Jr. and Cassandra Jenner of the celebrity Jenner and Kardashian families featured in the TV show ‘Keeping Up With The Kardashians’ pose for a family portrait in 1993 in Los Angeles, California . (Photo by Maureen Donaldson/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
The Kardashians essentially created a new form of Hollywood celebrity. You could say they were the right family at the right time at the right place. They rode the wave of social media that was coming up strong in the early 2010s.
The Fame Equation
The Kardashians changed the fame equation. It was through their reality-TV show and the consequent individual business ventures each member pursued that were able to publicize and monetize their lives.
Kim Kardashian, Khloé Kardashian , Kendall Jenner, Kylie Jenner and Kourtney Kardashian attend Apple Store Soho Presents Meet The Developers at Apple Store Soho on September 14, 2015 in New York City. (Photo by Jamie McCarthy/WireImage)
Under the guidance of “momager” Kris Jenner, the kids Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, Rob, and Kris’s daughters from her second marriage, Kylie and Kendall Jenner, the family members transformed themselves from socialites into media tycoons. Try to find someone who hasn’t heard of the Kardashians…Yeah, exactly.
The next Hollywood family has produced some of the most legendary films in movie history…
The Coppolas: Defined Hollywood
The Coppola family tree spreads wide, but its roots are founded on the patriarch, director Francis Ford Coppola. Coppola defined the 70s with his heavy hitters ‘The Godfather’ (1972), ‘The Conversation’ (1974), and ‘Apocalypse Now’ (1979).
Sofia Coppola and Francis Ford Coppola attend the New York Public Library 2018 Library Lions Gala at the New York Public Library at the Stephen A. Schwarzman Building on November 5, 2018 in New York City. (Photo by Dominik Bindl/Getty Images)
Coppola also worked with fellow film titans Akira Kurosawa and Jean-Luc Godard at his American Zoetrope studio, which was co-founded with George Lucas in 1969. Their studio produced ‘The Virgin Suicides,’ which was the first film made by Coppola’s daughter, Sofia Coppola.
The Coppola Family Tree
Sofia Coppola really followed in her father’s footsteps, making remarkable films that really made heads turn. She won an Oscar for writing her second film, ‘Lost in Translation.’ Her brothers also made an impact on the movie industry.
James Caan, Francis Ford Coppola and Al Pacino speak onstage during the panel for ‘The Godfather’ 45th Anniversary Screening during 2017 Tribeca Film Festival closing night at Radio City Music Hall on April 29, 2017 in New York City. (Photo by Kevin Mazur/Getty Images for Tribeca Film Festival)
Roman Coppola is a Golden Globe-winning filmmaker, and Gian-Carlo Coppola was a film producer whose daughter, Gia Coppola, debuted her own film, ‘Palo Alto,’ in 2013. Francis Coppola’s sister, Talia Shire, is an Oscar-nominated actress whose son is famous actor Jason Schwartzman. And then Francis’s brother, August, was actually a film academic and executive whose son is an Oscar-winning actor. You might have heard of him. His name is Nicolas Cage.
Next, a family whose fame started due to the dad’s hit 90s TV show.
The Smiths: From Sitcom Star to Blockbuster Magnate
Will Smith is yet another household name. From his early 90s rap music turned sitcom career, he changed the way people looked at sitcom stars. He made an unheard-of leap back then from sitcom stardom to blockbuster status. He even set a record in the process.
Jada Pinkett Smith, Will Smith, Willow Smith, Jaden Smith and Trey Smith attend the VH1 ‘Dear Mama’ taping at St. Bartholomew’s Church on May 3, 2016 in New York City. (Photo by Donna Ward/Getty Images)
In 2008, he became the only actor in history to make 8 consecutive movies that grossed over $100 million in the national box office. In 1997, Will married Jada Pinkett, the star of over 30 films, including ‘Girls Trip.’ The two paved the way for their talented children to make their own impact in the industry.
The Smith Kids
Will and Jada gave their kids the world. Jaden and Willow both began their careers starring in movies alongside their parents. You might remember Jaden co-starring with Will in the unforgettable true story depiction “Pursuit of Happyness.’ (And yes, they spelled it with a “y”).
Actor Will Smith, his son Jaden and wife Jada Pinkett Smith attend a charity lunch in aid of The Prince’s Trust prior to the UK premiere this evening of ‘The Pursuit of Happyness’ at the Dorchester Hotel on January 8, 2007, in London, England. (Photo by Claire Greenway/Getty Images)
The Smiths co-produced Jaden’s breakout hit, a 2010 remake of the original movie ‘The Karate Kid.’ And after Willow’s debut hit single, “Whip My Hair,” went platinum in 2010, she instantly became the youngest artist to be signed to Jay-Z’s record label. Both of the Smith teens, as well as their parents, continue to work as actors and musicians, defining the Hollywood dynasty for the generations to come.
Do you know who Selznick and Mayer are? They’re the names behind some of the most famous films…
David O. Selznick and Louis B. Mayer: An Influential Union in Hollywood History
David O. Selznick was the son of silent-movie producer Lewis Selznick. He was already making his way to the new sound era scene in Hollywood when he formed one of the greatest unions of Hollywood families in history in 1930.
From left to right, producer David O. Selznick (1902 – 1965), London manager J. C. Squire, director George Cukor, Irene Mayer Selznick and scriptwriter Howard Easterbook arrive at Paddington Station in London from Plymouth, 11th May 1934. (Photo by E. Phillips/Fox Photos/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
He married Louis B. Mayer’s daughter Irene. Selznick left MGM Studios for Paramount and then RKO but then went back to MGM in order to work with his father-in-law at MGM in 1933. Selznick was given a job as vice president and became head of his own production unit. At the time, Mayer was one of the most powerful studio heads in Hollywood.
History in the Making
Mayer managed “more stars than there are in heaven.” In 1927, Mayer assembled 36 founders from various areas of the film industry to build the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. Yes, this is the organization responsible for the Academy Awards.
Margaret Mitchell, author of Gone With the Wind, speaks with cast member and David Selznick, the producer. Vivien Leigh, who played Scarlett O’Hara; Clark Gable, who appeared as Rhett Butler; and Olivia De Havilland, who portrayed Melanie Wilkes; all listen closely to the author at the premiere of the film on December 16, 1939.
So to say that Mayer made history would be an understatement. Mayer’s guidance at MGM paid off for Selznick as he eventually left the studio in 1935 to head his own independent studio, Selznick International Pictures. He went on to produce ‘A Star Is Born’ (1937), ‘Rebecca’ (1940), and ‘Gone with the Wind’ (1939. The movie is placed in the top ten of the American Film Institute’s list of the top 100 American films since the list’s inception in 1998.) Later, his son Daniel Selznick became a film producer, too.
We’ve all seen the next family, who are as relevant today as they were in the beginning…
The Baldwins: Four Talented Brothers
The four Baldwin brothers are best known for their acting contributions to the film industry. The eldest, Alec, has experienced the most mainstream success of all the brothers, getting an Oscar nomination for ‘The Cooler.’ He also got three Emmys, three Golden Globes, and seven SAG Awards for his role on NBC’s ‘30 Rock.’
(L-R) Actors and brothers Billy, Stephen, Alec and Daniel Baldwin arrive for the Lotus Cars Launch event on November 12, 2010 in Los Angeles, California. AFP PHOTO/VALERIE MACON (Photo credit should read VALERIE MACON/AFP/Getty Images)
His brothers Daniel, William, and Stephen were all discovered by Oliver Stone, who cast them in his 1989 movie ‘Born on the Fourth of July.’ Together, they’ve all gone on to appear in about 300 films and TV shows. The brothers have become fathers to famous daughters: Alec and Kim Basinger have a daughter Ireland, Stephen’s daughters are Hailey and Alaia, and William’s daughter Jameson are relishing in their modeling contracts.
The Fondas: American Heroes
The Fonda story begins with the patriarch Henry Fonda, who made his Hollywood debut in 1935. He appeared in over 80 films, many of which, like ‘The Grapes of Wrath’ (1940) and ‘My Darling Clementine’ (1946), put him in his place as the archetypal American hero.
Henry Fonda sits with his daughter Jane Fonda, and his wife Shirlee Fonda at a party that Jane hosted in his honor at Gallagher’s on W 52nst Street in Manhattan on March 26, 1974. (Photo by Paul J. Bereswill/Newsday via Getty Images)
Yet it was until he was 76 years old that he received his first best-actor Academy Award for 1981’s ‘On Golden Pond.’ In the film, he starred alongside his daughter Jane. As well all know, Jane became one of Hollywood’s most desired faces in the industry.
She became her own version of the American Heroine…
Jane Fonda: an Icon of Her Time
Jane rose to stardom as a successful actress in popular movies like ‘Barefoot in the Park’ (1967) and ‘Barbarella’ (1968). She won two Oscars, for 1971’s ‘Klute’ and 1978’s ‘Coming Home.’ She wasn’t only into movies – she made herself known as a political activist and essentially a feminist icon.
American actors Henry Fonda (1905 – 1982, centre), his son Peter Fonda and daughter Jane Fonda, circa 1963. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Her brother, Peter Fonda, was a well-known figure in the 60s counterculture scene, rising to stardom in the landmark 1969 film ‘Easy Rider,’ which he actually co-wrote, produced, and starred in. He also received an Academy Award nomination for his role in ‘Ulee’s Gold’ (1997). Peter’s daughter, Bridget Fonda, and Jane’s son, Troy Garity, are both actors and continue to take their family legacy into its third generation.
The Marx Brothers: From Vaudeville to Film
There are five Marx Brothers: Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and Gummo. Yes, those were their actual names and they were all successful even before Hollywood began. The brothers were stars of vaudeville back in the early 1900s, having starred in celebrated Broadway shows.
Hollywood, California: Caught hands down are the four Marx Brothers of film fame as they leave their fingerprints for posterity or something at Grauman’s Chinese Theater in Hollywood, California. Left to right, Harpo, Groucho, Zeppo, and Chico Marx.
Their Broadway appearances eventually earned them enough power to move on to film. They started out experimenting with early talkies and then moved on to work under contract with Paramount Studios.
It was then that they made three of the most respected comedies of all time…
The Beginning of the Comedy Scene
The Marx Brothers starred in some of the most respected comedies in movie history: ‘Monkey Business’ (1931), ‘Horse Feathers’ (1932), and ‘Duck Soup’ (1933). Their character-driven humor was revolutionary at the time, with all their hilarious one-liners and satirical shots at serious subject matter of the time.
Comic actors Chico, Harpo and Groucho Marx star in the 1935 Marx Brothers comedy ‘A Night at the Opera’, directed by Sam Wood for MGM. (Photo by Movie Poster Image Art/Getty Images)
It was this groundbreaking humor that influenced every generation of comedians who came after, from Lucille Ball to Woody Allen and even to Judd Apatow. In his later years, Groucho dominated two more mediums with his successful radio show-turned-TV quiz show ‘You Bet Your Life’ (1947-1961).
The Barrymores: From the 19th to the 21st Century
It all started in 1874 when Maurice Barrymore moved to New York City from England to make his Broadway debut with actress Georgiana Drew, who was the daughter of an acting family. The two married in 1876 and had three children, Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore.
The three Barrymores, Lionel, Ethel and John as they appeared the only time together professionally in 1932 in one of the earliest talking motion pictures, ‘Rasputin and the Empress’, 1932. (Photo by PhotoQuest/Getty Images)
Each child found his own path to fame. Lionel endured a long-acting and directing career on stage and on screen, with roles in movies like ‘Grand Hotel’ (1932), ‘Key Largo’ (1948), ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ (1946), and 1931’s ‘A Free Soul’ (which he won an Oscar for).
Eventually, America’s sweetheart Drew was to come out of this family saga…
From Theater to Film
Ethel Barrymore had a renowned career in theater, being a founding supporter of the Actors’ Equity Association, and even today still has a theater named after her on 47th Street in New York City. John Barrymore went on to be the most celebrated Shakespearean stage actor in the world during the 1920s.
Child actress Drew Barrymore with her mother, Jaid Barrymore, and her half-brother, John Blyth Barrymore, at a tribute to her grandfather, actor John Barrymore (1882 – 1942), in the centenary year of his birth, 6th June 1982. (Photo by Tom Gates/Archive Photos/Getty Images)
He also starred in popular movies, such as ‘Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde’ (1920), ‘Sherlock Holmes’ (1922), and ‘Don Juan’ (1926). John’s son, John Drew Barrymore, became an actor too, but the family legacy is was carried on by his daughter. Actress, producer, and director Drew Barrymore has starred in over 50 films and owns her own production company, Flower Films.
The Murdochs: From Print and Broadcast Media to Film
When Rupert Murdoch came to Hollywood, he acquired a then-struggling studio called 20th Century Fox in 1985. By then, he already dominated print and broadcast media in his home countries Australia and Britain.
President John F. Kennedy meets with Zell Rabin and Rupert Murdoch, the Australian-born publishing tycoon.
He came in an era that saw old Hollywood studios being absorbed by massive corporations. And Murdoch was a symbol of that change, shaping a studio that would end up producing two of the top-grossing movies of all time.
Can you guess which two movies?
Twentieth Century Fox
Twentieth Century Fox not only produced the Blockbuster hits ‘Titanic’ (1997) and ‘Avatar’ (2009), it also reshaped the independent film business with the launch of Fox Searchlight, which produced films like ‘Little Miss Sunshine’ (2006).
Rupert Murdoch with his sons Lachlan Murdoch (L) and James Murdoch (R) arrives at St Bride’s Church for a service to celebrate his marriage to Jerry Hall on March 5, 2016 in London, England. (Photo by Max Mumby/Indigo/Getty Images)
As of 2013, the studio is now known as 21st Century Fox. Murdoch’s son Lachlan Murdoch is a co-executive chair at 21st Century Fox, and his other son James Murdoch acts as the C.E.O.
Dore Schary and Jeremy Zimmer: Generations Apart
Grandfather Dore Schary and his grandson Jeremy Zimmer have made their mark on the movie industry in different ways and in different generations. Schary was a screenwriter-turned-V.P. of production at RKO Studios. He then became head of production and president of MGM Studios in the 1940s and 50s.
UTA CEO Jeremy Zimmer speaks onstage during the 15th Annual Chrysalis Butterfly Ball at a Private Residence on June 11, 2016 in Brentwood, California. (Photo by Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images for Chrysalis)
Zimmer serves as the co-founder and C.E.O. of United Talent Agency, which was established in 1991. Schary worked on over 300 movies, including ‘An American in Paris’ (1951), ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ (1954), and ‘Father of the Bride’ (1950). He won an Oscar in 1939 for the screenplay he wrote for ‘Boys Town.’
Making Way for Zimmer
It was during the anti-Communist scare of the late 1940s and 1950s that Schary refused to deny work to those blacklisted and accused of the Communist “Hollywood 10.” Decades later, Schary made an introduction that gave his grandson, Zimmer, a job in the mailroom of the William Morris Agency when he was 19.
Robert Taylor is seated, studying the script of the movie ‘Above and Beyond’ with MGM chief, Dore Schary. USA, 1952. (Photo by Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images)
Today, Zimmer is the C.E.O. of U.T.A. and oversees one of the biggest talent agencies in the world, with a list of clients, including Harrison Ford, Wes Anderson, Joel and Ethan Coen, Channing Tatum, and Angelina Jolie, to name a few.
The Garland/Minnellis: A Marriage That Bore Fruit
During the 26 years that he worked with MGM, Vincente Minnelli directed some of the most fantastic movie musicals in history. He won an Oscar for 1958’s ‘Gigi’ and made other classics like ‘An American in Paris ‘(1951), ‘The Band Wagon’ (1953), and ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ (1944).
Vincente Minnelli (1903-1986), American director. (Photo by Jean-Regis Rouston/Roger Viollet/Getty Images)
It was on the set of ‘Meet Me in St. Louis’ that he met his first wife, Judy Garland, who was a vaudeville star at the time and was signed to MGM at the age of 13.
Judy went on to play a role that defined her career…
A Star Was Born
When Judy Garland was 16, she played the role that would define her career: Dorothy in ‘The Wizard of Oz.’ Garland and Minnelli were married for six years, during which they had one child, Liza, who was born in 1946.
American film star, Judy Garland (1922 – 1969) with her husband, film producer, Sid Luft and their children, Liza (14), Lorna (7) and Joe (5) at their home in Chelsea, London. (Photo by Chris Ware/Keystone Features/Getty Images)
Liza was only three years old when she made her first on-screen appearance, opposite her mother in ‘The Good Old Summertime.’ She eventually received an Oscar for her starring role in ‘Cabaret,’ and her remarkable music, stage, and film career earned her the desired EGOT: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and four Tony Awards.
Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford: A Power Couple
Douglas Fairbanks was hailed as “The King of Hollywood” for his daring takes in silent films like ‘The Mark of Zorro’ (1920), ‘The Thief of Bagdad’ (1924), and ‘Robin Hood’ (1922). It was when he married America’s first sweetheart, Mary Pickford, in 1920 that the two became Hollywood’s first power couple.
Douglas Fairbanks, Sr., Mary Pickford, and Charlie Chaplin at a World War I Victory Bond Rally. Pickford wears a suit designed by Lady Duff-Gordon (Lucile) for the film The Little American.
Pickford came from an acting family (her sister, Lottie, and brother, Jack, were stars, too), and in the early movie days, Pickford pushed for movie stars to be billed under their own names.
Mary and Douglas went on to join another famous character to create an organization…
They Wanted Some of Their Own Power
The couple, alongside Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith co-founded United Artists in 1919. They were trying to break away from the all-too-powerful studio system and have control of their own interests. Pickford and Fairbanks were also two members of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Actress Marlene Dietrich with actor Douglas Fairbanks, Jr. and actress Hedy Lamarr attend an event in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by William Grimes/Michael Ochs Archives/Getty Images)
Fairbanks was elected as its first president. Fairbanks had a son with his first wife, named Douglas Fairbanks Jr., who enjoyed his own successful acting career in the 1920s to the 1940s. He and his wife Joan Crawford were another power couple.
The Hustons: Talkie Film Stars
One of the first stars of “talkie” films was Walter Huston who starred in over 50 films and received an Oscar for his role in 1948’s ‘The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.’ The film was directed by his son, John and the two became the first father and son duo to win Oscars for the same movie.
American actors Tim Holt, Walter Huston (L) with his son director and screenwiter John Huston on the set of his movie The Treasure of the Sierra Madre. (Photo by Sunset Boulevard/Corbis via Getty Images)
John wrote and directed some of the most legendary movies that featured great stars, including ‘The Maltese Falcon’ (1941), ‘The African Queen’ (1951), and ‘The Misfits’ (1961). John won two Oscars and directed his daughter Anjelica to win an Oscar of her own in ‘Prizzi’s Honor’ (1985).
The family legacy lives on…
Into the 4th Generation
Anjelica’s half-brother, Danny Huston, has appeared in films by Hollywood giants like Martin Scorsese, Sofia Coppola, Tim Burton, and Ridley Scott. Her brother Tony largely stayed away from the limelight after writing some well-received screenplays, including Oscar-nominated “The Dead” (1987).
Actress Anjelica Huston (C), posing with her brother Tony Huston (L) and sister Allegra Huston, receives an Honorary Degree at the National University of Ireland, Galway’s ‘Honorary Degree Conferring Ceremony’ at the Beverly Hilton Hotel on May 6, 2005 in Beverly Hills, California. (Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images)
Tony’s son, Jack, brought the family into its fourth generation, with roles on the hit HBO series ‘Boardwalk Empire’ and the movie ‘American Hustle.’
The Fisher/Reynolds: A Power Pair
Musician and actor Eddie Fisher married actress Debbie Reynolds in 1955, making the couple a golden pair. Eddie was king of the 1950s pop charts at the height of his crooning career, and Debbie just finished her acclaimed breakout role in ‘Singin’ in the Rain’ (1952).
American singer Eddie Fisher, wearing a tuxedo, stands with arm around his wife, American actor Debbie Reynolds (R) and smiles while looking at British-born actor Elizabeth Taylor, smoking a cigarette, Las Vegas, Nevada. The next year Fisher left Reynolds and married Taylor. (Photo by Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
The union ended quite abruptly in 1959 as Eddie had an affair with, and eventually married, Debbie’s friend Elizabeth Taylor. As a result of the scandal, Eddie’s career never quite recovered.
But Debbie went on to relish in her limelight…
Carrie Fisher Reaped the Benefits
Debbie went on to enjoy a full film and stage career, including the Academy Award-nominated role in 1964’s ‘The Unsinkable Molly Brown.’ However, she found it difficult to beat her “branding” as the rejected wife. You probably know of Eddie and Debbie’s daughter, Carrie Fisher, who began her acting career at 18 in ‘Shampoo’ and landed one of the most iconic roles as Princess Leia in the ‘Star Wars’ series.
(L-R) Todd Fisher, Debbie Reynolds, Carrie Fisher and Joely Fisher ‘Wishful Drinking’ – Los Angeles Premiere at Linwood Dunn Theater at the Pickford Center for Motion Study on December 7, 2010 in Hollywood, California. (Photo by Jonathan Leibson/FilmMagic)
Carrie also enjoyed her own career as a writer and stage performer. Carrie’s brother, Todd, is also a producer as well as a cinematographer, who curates the rest of his mother’s extensive movie memorabilia collection. Todd and Carrie’s half-sisters, Joely and Tricia Leigh Fisher, are actresses and singers. And Carrie’s daughter, Billie Lourd, is carrying on the family tradition with a seemingly promising acting career.
The Zuckers: Comedy Creators
Brothers David and Jerry Zucker began their legacy in sketch comedy, eventually revolutionizing the comedy spoof genre with their childhood friend Jim Abrahams. The trio (known as “ZAZ”) broke out with the 1977 cult classic ‘The Kentucky Fried Movie’ (which they wrote) and made comedy history with their 1980 hit ‘Airplane!’ (See where Airplane and other successful comedies are ranked in our article “The 50 Best Comedies Ever“.)
American directors Jim Abrahams, David and Jerry Zucker at the Deauville film festival. (Photo by Sergio Gaudenti/Sygma via Getty Images)
The trio also created the ‘Naked Gun’ series and was responsible for establishing Leslie Nielsen’s career as a figure of deadpan comedy. David also had solo projects, including ‘BASEketball’ (1998), ‘Scary Movie 3’ (2003), ‘My Boss’s Daughter’ (2003), and ‘Scary Movie 4’ (2006). Jerry turned to drama, directing 1990’s Academy Award-winning ‘Ghost,’ ‘First Knight’ (1995), and produced 2011’s ‘Friends with Benefits.’
The next family influenced Hollywood giants like Martin Scorcese…
The Bergman/Rosellinis: An Affair to Remember
Director Roberto Rossellini was a major figure in the Italian neorealist movement, influencing major directors beyond Italy’s borders, including Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard, and Martin Scorsese. But Rossellini received Hollywood’s attention, fitting right in when he had an affair with a famous actress.
Ingrid Bergman, Swedish actress, with her husband Roberto Rossellini and the twins Ingrid and Isabella celebrating son Robertinoïs birthday – 1953 (Photo by ullstein bild/ullstein bild via Getty Images)
Rossellini had an affair with Academy Award-winning Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman. She starred in classics like ‘Casablanca’ (1942) and ‘Notorious’ (1946). She was already a major Hollywood starlet when she and Rossellini began an extramarital relationship on the set of the 1950 film, ‘Stromboli.’
The Scandalous Results
The affair’s scandal along with the birth of their son, Renato Roberto, was a true Hollywood story in the United States that Bergman was actually denounced on the floor of the United States Senate. As a result, she pulled back from the film industry for years.
Swedish film and theatre actress Ingrid Bergman (1915 – 1982, centre) sits with her twin daughters, actress Isabella (right) and academic Isotta Ingrid (left) after Bergman’s performance as Lady Waynflete in George Bernard Shaw’s ‘Captain Brassbound’s Conversion’ at the Cambridge Theatre, London, 18th February 1971. (Photo by P. Felix/Daily Express/Getty Images)
But not before long did she make a triumphant return which earned her an Academy Award for the 1956 film ‘Anastasia.’ The couple’s daughter, Isabella Rossellini, is an Emmy-nominated actress and model who you probably have seen in at least a few of her 80 film and TV show roles.
The next family were descendants from a Russian family…
The Newmans: Hollywood Dynasty
The Newmans proved that you don’t need a famous face to create a Hollywood dynasty. Brothers Alfred, Lionel, and Emil were children of Russian immigrants, and all became noted Hollywood composers and conductors.
Source: Pinterest. Oscar winners for music in 1952: Alfred Newman, Ned Washington, Dimitri Tiomkin and presenter Walt Disney.
The brothers each have their own accomplishments: Alfred won nine Oscars, Lionel earned one, and Emil had credits on 15 films in the year 1943 alone. Two of Alfred’s sons ended up following in their father’s footsteps.
Keeping up with the Newmans
Thomas and David Newman both continue to work as composers, Thomas earning 14 Oscar nominations David earned one. Their sister, Maria, created original scores for silent films. Another brother, Irving, didn’t become a musician, but his son, Randy, did.
Composer Randy Newman of TOY STORY 1, 2 and 3 and director John Lasseter of TOY STORY 4 (C) took part today in ‘Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Upcoming Films’ presentation at Disney’s D23 EXPO 2015 in Anaheim, Calif. (Photo by Jesse Grant/Getty Images for Disney)
You may have heard of Randy Newman who won two Oscars as a songwriter, three Emmys, and six Grammys. He collaborates with his cousin Joey, the grandson of Lionel, and an orchestrator and composer. Randy’s son Amos is taking the family legacy in another direction, with his work representing composers at WME.
Next, meet the Zanucks…
The Zanucks: A Record-Breaking Studio
Darryl F. Zanuck started out writing scripts at Warner Bros. Studios in the 1920s, later breaking away to co-found 20th Century Pictures, Inc. in 1933. Within two years, his company broke box-office records with 18 of its 19 films released, becoming the most successful independent studio in Hollywood.
American actor Robert Mitchum (1917 – 1997, left) with producer and director Darryl F Zanuck (1902 – 1979) on the set of ‘ The Longest Day’, 1962. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images)
Zanuck and his co-founder purchased Fox Film Corp. in 1935 which later became 20th Century Fox. But Zanuck left the studio in 1956, before coming back to clean up the wavering production of 1963’s ‘Cleopatra,’ which almost bankrupted the studio.
His Son Continued On
Richard D. Zanuck, Darryl’s son, worked with his father at the studio to bring fresh talent, discovering Francis Ford Coppola, bringing Robert Altman to fame, and backing huge hits like ‘Planet of the Apes’ (1968) and ‘The Sound of Music’ (1965).
Richard D. Zanuck and Morgan Freeman during 30th Deauville American Film Festival – Tribute to Richard D. Zanuck at CID in Deauville, France. (Photo by Tony Barson/WireImage)
Richard later broke away from 20th Century Fox in 1972 and formed his own production company at Universal Pictures, which produced two of Steven Spielberg’s early directorial projects, including 1975’s ‘Jaws,’ 1985’s ‘Cocoon,’ and ‘Driving Miss Daisy’ (1989). He eventually became Tim Burton’s producer of choice, working with him six times. Richard’s son Dean now runs the production studio, the Zanuck Company.
Next – have you heard of the Redgraves?
The Redgraves: Four Generations Strong
The Redgrave family possesses four generations of actors, and it all started with silent-film star Roy Redgrave and his son Michael, who was known for his extensive theater work and the Academy Award-nominated turn in 1947’s ‘Mourning Becomes Electra.’ The third generation is the best known, in which Michael’s daughter Vanessa Redgrave, earning Oscar, Emmy, Tony, BAFTA, SAG, and Golden Globe wins under her belt.
Actress Jane Fonda (L) and Vanessa Redgrave attend the ‘This Is Where I Leave You’ premiere during the 2014 Toronto International Film Festival at Roy Thomson Hall on September 7, 2014 in Toronto, Canada. (Photo by George Pimentel/Getty Images)
Michael’s son, Corin, acted and was a political activist, and his daughter Lynn had her turn at being an Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated actress. Vanessa’s daughter Natasha Richardson went on to lead the fourth generation as a Tony Award-winning actress. Vanessa’s other daughter, Joely Richardson, has an acting career, and her son, Carlo Nero, worked as a director and screenwriter.
The Beatty/MacLaine/Benings: A Talented Family Unit
Siblings Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine are now six decades into their careers as two of Hollywood’s most acclaimed actors. MacLaine, a six-time Oscar nominee, made classics like ‘The Apartment’ (1960), ‘Being There’ (1979), and 1983’s ‘Terms of Endearment’ (for which she won the best actress Oscar).
Actor Warren Beatty, wife Annette Bening (L) and sister Shirley MacLaine laugh in the audience during the 36th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Warren Beatty held at the Kodak Theatre on June 11, 2008 in Hollywood, California. The show will air on USA Network at 9PM PST on June 25, 2008. (Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for AFI)
Beatty broke a record as the only person to be nominated twice for Academy Awards in acting, directing, writing, and producing a single film (1978’s ‘Heaven Can Wait’ and 1981’s ‘Reds,’ for which he won the best-director Academy Award). In 1992, he married the four-time Oscar-nominated actress Annette Bening.
The next family has made a real dent in the comedy industry…
The Wayanses: Born Funny
The Wayans family made themselves one of Hollywood’s largest and most successful comedy empires of TV and film. There are 10 first-generation siblings, including Keenan, Damon, Kim, Shawn, Marlon, Dwayne, Nadia, Elvira, Diedre, and Vonnie.
Shawn Wayans, Damon Wayans and Marlon Wayans during 1992 MTV Movie Awards at Culver Studios in Culver City, California, United States. (Photo by Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic, Inc)
The brothers and sisters produced, directed, wrote, and starred in dozens of films and TV shows, earning a combined net worth of over $100 million. Damon and Keenan are known for their 1990s sketch-comedy TV series ‘In Living Color,’ which starred many of their siblings and launched the careers of many…
More Stars Were Born
‘In Living Color’ helped launch the careers of Jennifer Lopez, Jim Carrey, Jamie Foxx, Rosie Perez, and more. Keenan also created the ‘Scary Movie’ franchise that was a huge hit in the early 00s, creating a path for a generation of spoof comedies.
(L-R) Actors Tommy Davidson, Marlon Wayans, Keenen Ivory Wayans and Jim Carrey of ‘In Living Color’ speak onstage at the 10th Annual TV Land Awards at the Lexington Avenue Armory on April 14, 2012 in New York City. (Photo by Gilbert Carrasquillo/FilmMagic)
New Wayans family members are finding some fame of their own. Damon’s son, Damon Wayans Jr., has film credits in movies like 2009’s ‘Dance Flick’ and roles on shows like ‘New Girl’ and ‘Happy Endings.’
The next family has produced more than just a few popular movie hits…
The Douglases: Defying Hollywood
It was Kirk Douglas that rose to fame for his dramatic roles in Westerns and war movies back in the 1950s, but he also founded Bryna Productions in 1955, in an attempt to fund his own projects. He produced 19 films as collaborations with Stanley Kubrick.
Kirk Douglas, US actor, wearing chain mail protection on his right arm in a publicity still issued for the film, ‘Spartacus’, 1960. The historical drama, directed by Stanley Kubrick (1928-1999). starred Douglas as ‘Spartacus’, the leader of a Roman slave revolt. (Photo by Silver Screen Collection/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)
Kirk gave screenwriter Dalton Trumbo (one of the blacklisted in Hollywood at the time) an on-screen credit for ‘Spartacus.’ Kirk also purchased the rights to ‘One Flew Over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ to give them to his son Michael, who produced the best-picture Oscar-winner.
Michael, the Descendant
Michael went on to enjoy the thriving acting career that has earned him Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys, and SAG Awards. In 2009, he received the A.F.I. Lifetime Achievement Award. Michael also collaborated with his brother Joel, a producer, on ‘The Jewel of the Nile’ (1985) and ‘Romancing the Stone’ (1984).
(L to R) Diana Douglas, Kirk Douglas, Michael Douglas and Cameron Douglas arrive at the New York premiere of ‘It Runs In The Family’ at the Loews Lincoln Square Theater April 13, 2003 in New York City. (Photo by Scott Gries/Getty Images)
Michael’s half-brother Peter is a successful producer as well. if you’ve seen ‘It Runs in the Family,’ you’’ have seen a family reunion, in which it starred Kirk, Michael, Kirk’s wife Diana, and Michael’s son Cameron.