It’s not uncommon for celebrities to take a fictional name for their professional careers. After all, they want to make it on their own and not rely on their parents or more distant relatives. For that reason, you may be surprised to learn about some popular actors, musicians and other celebrities that are descended from some pretty famous people.
Celebrities with surprising ancestors
1. Tom Hanks is related to Abraham Lincoln
Tom Hanks revealed to the “Daily Mail” in 2012 that he counts Abraham Lincoln among his ancestors. Lincoln’s mother’s name was Nancy Hanks and Tom Hanks told the “Mail” that “members of (his) branch of the family are either cousins or in-laws or poor relations”. Ancestry.com confirmed that Hanks is Lincoln’s third cousin, four times removed.
By the way, Hanks isn’t the only celebrity who can trace his ancestry back to Lincoln. Actor George Clooney is descended from Lucy Hanks, Lincoln’s maternal grandmother.
2. Harry Lloyd is descended from Charles Dickens
British actor, Harry Lloyd, best known for his work in “Game of Thrones” and “Doctor Who” is a distant relative of the 19th-century British writer Charles Dickens. His mother’s maiden name is Dickens and, through her, Lloyd is the great-great-great-grandson of Dickens. Lloyd’s mother is descended from the seventh of Dickens’ 10 children, Henry Fielding Dickens.
3. Edward Norton can trace his lineage back to Pocahantas
American actor Edward Norton discovered in 2022 that his 12th great-grandmother was Pocahantas, the 17th-century Native American woman who has been romanticized in the story of the Jamestown colony. Genealogist Henry Louis Gates Jr told Norton on the television program “Finding Your Roots,” “You have a direct paper trail, no doubt about it, connection to your 12th great-grandmother and great-grandfather, John Rolfe and Pocahontas.”
4. Marilyn Monroe and the Bush family
You wouldn’t naturally see a connection between iconic actress Marilyn Monroe and the political family that gave the United States two presidents and a Florida governor. However, the Bushes and Monroe have ancestors in common. The Bush family and Monroe are all descended from the same English immigrant who came to North America in 1620. Monroe is the ninth cousin, once removed, to our 41st president, George H.W. Bush, and the ninth cousin, twice removed, to the 43rd US president, George W. Bush.
5. Anna Chancellor and Jane Austen
British actress Anna Chancellor has appeared in dozens of movies and television series, including the British series “Pride and Prejudice”. That’s fitting since Austen is the eight times great aunt of Chancellor. Chancellor can trace her lineage on her mother’s side back to Edward Austen Knight, Jane Austen’s third eldest brother.
With such impressive lineages, it’s easy to see why these five celebrities have risen to the top of their professions. Perhaps you have an illustrious ancestor hidden in your family tree.