Russian Roots In Hollywood

Russian Roots In Hollywood

How many Hollywood actors and actresses you know of that have Russian roots? In fact, they are more than you think.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Both grandfathers of Steven Spielberg are from Russia. And his sister’s husband is a distant relative of Boris Pasternak, a Russian poet, novelist, and literary translator.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

It is unlikely that a shy Jewish girl Rosa Robinovich from Odessa ever thought that her great grandson would become a world famous movie actor Sylvester Stallone.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

David Duchovny’s father is a Russian Jew. His name was Amram Duckovny because he’d changed his last name to adjust it to American pronunciation. David, however, changed it back.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Nicole Scherzinger’s mother is half-Russian and half-Hawaiian.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Natalie Portman’s parents moved to Jerusalem from Kishinev, Moldova.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Ancestors of Gwyneth Paltrow used to live in Minsk, Belarus.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Milla Jovovich was born in Kiev, Ukraine. So first five years of her life she spent in the Soviet Union.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Harrison Ford’s grandmother left Minsk in 1907. Now the actor is searching for his relatives who might live in Russia and post-Soviet republics.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Leonardo DiCaprio’s grandmother moved from the USSR to Germany together with her parents after the revolution. There, she got married and her daughter moved to the USA to give birth to the world famous actor.

Russian Roots In Hollywood

Whoopi Goldberg’s grandmother was born in Odessa, Ukraine.

74 thoughts on “Russian Roots In Hollywood”

  1. Wow you love us. You really love us. Too bad most of us wound up like Babel or worse. Ummm, Whoopi does not have any family from Russia.

    • Not fair: some of them are “russian”, “moldavian”,
      and “belarusian”, although Portman is a full jew,
      and Paltrow and Ford half, and don’t deny it.
      And others are “jewish”

  2. Where did the info come that Whoopi Goldberg has Russian/Ukraine blood? Goldberg is not even her real surname – her real surname is Johnson.

  3. My father’s Russian ancestors left after the Decembrist fiasco of 1825. A few of them still spoke a little Russian a century later when he was a little boy. No one would even have considered visiting Russia.

    Some of my mother’s ancestors fled St. Petersburg after the horror of 1917. As well as we’ve ever been able to find out, all the brothers and sisters and cousins who remained in Russia were murdered by the communists or killed during World War II. A few may have survived, but no one has heard from any of them since the late 1930s.

    I started visiting this site out of curiosity a couple years ago. I mentioned it to my sister, who was aghast: anything even remotely Russian makes her sick three generations later. From what I’ve seen here, Russia is still a primitive country, (your roads, for example, and what you call “elections,”) populated by warm-hearted poor people and an aristocracy beneath contempt. Some of the comments I’ve seen make it clear the old communist hatred of humanity is still alive.

    Maybe in another few generations…

      • I believe James means visiting ER. I don’t know if I could call it communist hatred of humanity James, what I think you are seeing in some comments is maybe a strong nationalistic pride with a bit of contempt for some aspects of the West. Nothing new there, seems as though there is a bit of it from the other side as well. Russia is and has been a nation of contrast, but we have to remember she has been in a constant (r)evolutionary state since Alexander II freed the serfs in 1861.(sorry (r)evolutionist!) James don’t tell your sister this but alot of the freight in the U.S. is hauled by Russian truck drivers! Especially here in the mid west!I work in a milk plant that processes about 5 million pounds of milk a day, much of it into dry powder. and I would say about 1/2 of the truck drivers that come in for powder loads are recent Russian emigres!

      • I’ve never been to Russia. In the abstract, I’d like to take a two- or three-week look at the land of many of my ancestors, but wouldn’t feel safe there. To be fair, there are parts of the United States I’d feel equally or even more unsafe in. It amazes me Russia, the largest country in the world and the one most generously endowed with natural resources, isn’t the world’s richest nation. I believe all it really needs is a government as good as Poland’s or the Czech Republic’s or Norway’s and people willing to have enough babies to replace old people who die.

        • You should take that trip James! Go with a tour group, and see the land of your ancestors. I think you will find that your preconceptions are pretty much unfounded. That’s what I discovered in my travels. It changes you forever, and you find that you see things in a different, more truthful light.

        • Dear James, why don’t you just discover it for your-self, in stead of judging something you haven’t seen, I’m sure it’s much more safer than Jamaica district in NY:); &, additionally, you might contribute to the birth rate, just to support your pride of having Russian blood?

    • Your elections arent better, what is difference between falsifying election with help of fox news by mr. bush and putin? You sir are just an russophob, which never visited russia. Which streets are you talking about? You dont even know the new project of the transmagistral in -50 celsius degree region…

      America is and was a primitive country without any culture. Try to reach Dostoyewski, Pushkin or Wissotzki and then we go ahead talking. Som of the comments of you I see the old americans hatred humanity, killing civillians in guantanamo, iraq, afghanistan, helping sakashvili with the killing..

      • historian, you should come visit the U.S. I really mean that!I think you would find that your preconceptions are unfounded also.

      • Twain, Vonnegut, Wordsworth, Sinclair Lewis,Steinbeck, Jack London, James Fenimore Cooper. What can I say historian, except that you are wrong. In America, we can read any author we like. Whereas, in your vaunted USSR a bureaucrat made that decision for you. Perhaps that is why your short list (I mean that there are many more) of outstanding Russian writers are from the 19th century? They were safe.
        As far as foreign policy is concerned: Russian navy is currently helping to prop up that criminal Assad in Syria, a move that will surely bit Russia when he is overthrown. Russia also supports Iran, a curious move since they indirectly support the terrorists who have blown two Russian airliners out of the sky and attacked a theatre and schools in Russia. You live in a bottle historian, a bottle conceived by the government to give you a sense of superiority. The music has stopped, but you are still dancing.

  4. Of course, Ukraine is not the same as Russia and it’s not Little Russia, either. They have quite a different culture and the language differs a lot also. Belarus also has its own distinctive identity, and Moldova is really Romanian. However, a lot of good, cultured, sensitive people did and do come from Russia.

    • Do you even know what you’re talking about? All these countries had very close relationship with Russia in the past, hell most of Ukraine was a part of Russian Empire back then as was the Belarussia, and Moldova or Bessarabia became Russian province in 1806. So you can see it is all related to the topic.

    • I don’t agree about Belarus. They are basically the same as Russians. None even seems to speak Belarussian, instead they use Russian.

    • East Ukrania and the people of Belarus are all together russian, just the language got different accents. Ukrain means edge of Kiev-Rus.

      • Historian you are wrong, Ukraine is not like Russia and newer was. Russia borrowed allot from Ukrainian culture. Ukraine was never part of Russia until queen Ekaterina cheated kozaks and then build St. Petersburg on their blood and bones… Try telling that Ukraine and Russia is the same to West Ukrainian people, don’t think they would like to hear that …

        • Haha read history of ukrain omg. Did you heared something of Kievskaja Rus? Apart from the west Ukrain which got a part from former poland the rest of ukraine and russia are same people. The whole Krim is russian. Kozaks are also of Kiev-Rus origin, together with them russia captured all east ’till the pazific.

        • So what makes you so right? The whole of Ukraine east of the dnepr is largely Russian. The north-west has mostly Polish influence.

    • Don’t understand guys what are you arguing about in here. Russians and Ukrainians are almost the same nations. Just look at our faces and passion for alcohol – no difference at all 😉 Actually when you talk about Russians – try to think what are you talking about. Russians are spread over a big area of leaving. It means they would have their specific characters in cloth, language, songs and etc. in different parts of this area any way. So the term Russians includes many of different ethnics but very familiar groups. Belarus, Ukrainians, Russians historically looks like the same ethnic group. I personally sure that we are more similar then different, I don’t understand people from both sides why so hardly looking to find out any difference between us.

    • No all people in Ukraine are Ukrainians. Yes, there is Ukrainian language but not all “Ukrainians” speaks it that well. Most Ukraine speaks Russian at home. Even Ukrainian president speaks Ukrainian with tons of mistakes.

  5. WoW! Russia is proud of the Jews, Belarussians, Moldovians, Ukrainians… impressive!

    BTW – Harrison Ford relatives moved in 1907 from Minsk could not had nothing in common with “post Soviet republics”. Soviets (USSR) started in November of 1917 (or from Dec 1922 as a country), if you’d forgotten.

    • yeah right… Do you have any knowledge of history before the revolution…?

      Anyways, never knew Whoopi Goldberg had distant relatives from Odessa…

        • Not for real the revolution was ruled by jewish people because they recognized the failure of capitalism. Look at the leader from the first years, 50% are jewish even only 1% was at that time jewish. But then the georgian Stalin came to power and as he was afraid losing it, he killed all real revolutionists. West Ukrainian troops that fled from red army massacred jewish people in the year 1919. As the USSR had the international approach it never killed special races, it was the white army ( west ukranians, polish, german)

          • Indeed USSR had an international approach. This is the reason for killing in the first place 30 mil russian, ukarainian etc. almost all pravoslavnic christians.And jewish elite was happy to put this program on the wheels both with Lenin and Stalin. Remember this.

    • Why not to be proud about people who was born in the same country as you was? By my opinion terms “Belarussians, Moldovians, Ukrainians” can be considered like adjective for citizen of those countries, but it does not mean they are so much different from people who live in the Russian Federation. We have a lot of in common. And Jews they are different in areas where they live, they easily intersect with other nations, like catalyst in chemistry.

  6. most of them has ukrainian jews, or ukrainiain roots, so nothing related to russia.
    btw, robert zemecky is true lithuanian.

  7. Cool article, but almost half of the listed are non-ethnic Russian ancestry. The following celebrities have ethnic Russian ancestry (according to themselves and reliable sources):
    – Pamela Anderson, Leonardo DiCaprio, Rene Auberjounois, Gavin DeGraw, Jon Bon Jovi, Nicole Scherzinger, Natalie Wood, Liv Tyler, & many many others.
    Check out the list on Wiki: “Russian Americans”.

  8. Helen Miren is the only real russian in Hollywood, her real name is Elena Mironova, her grandfathers were from the white russian aristocracy

  9. You mention all of these folks only because their parents or grandparents MOVED OUT of Russia for a better life or were CHASED OUT because they were Jewish.

  10. None of these people have Russian heritage, other than Milla Jovovich. Just because you had a Half Russian Jewish Great Grandparent, you hardly have Russian roots.

  11. You people dont realise that the biggest part of being russian is the language. Being russian is more being of Kiev-Rus ethnicity, Russia is made out of thousand of different tribes between the north near finland and the whole mongolian east. The west of the Krim till the south of the Kavkas.

    Being russian means speaking russian and living the russian culture with its philosphies. You are complaining about the jews as so often, but they wouldnt be them if they wouldnt be russian and russia wouldnt be russia without them.

    You missed Savely Kramarov. So is he a jew or a russian? How can he be not a russian as he plays such a role in russian tradition of cinema, which american people will never understand.
    Or Visotzki he is a quarter jewish, but he is the russian soul.

    • Yep! So speaking English I am American by default? Or Englishman maybe? Who of those Hollywood stars know Russian language? So – do they deserve the Russian origin?

    • The biggest part of being russian is the language?Maybe for a jew or an immigrant (from Caucas or Turkestan) who want to make fortune. Or in soviet time where a communsit who spoke russian was a sovietic man. No wonder of the collaps of USSR and the troubles after!
      Russia wouldnt be Russia without jews? Sure, after all a tubercolosis man without Koch bacil will be another person!

      • Russia was sort of like America with all their nationalities and Russian language. “No wonder of the collaps of USSR?” Well then by your logic we should wait collapse of USA.

        • Actualy in USSR the single most dominant ethnic group (russians) made till 1991 more than 50% of the total population. In Russia proper russians make 80% of the population.The nationalities in USSR lived there for more than 1000 years.In America history begins basicaly 200 years ago, whites make 2/3 of the population and as dominant etnicity the so called WASPs don’t make more then 25% So it is not the same situation with Russia.
          Anyway after historical logic (not mine) US will collapse, probably this century. A state can survive if exists a very dominant religion, a national-ethnic homogenity of citizens, or a assertiv ethnic group,even a minority one, who seized all power and is very strong willed to mantain it. Or for a short period a powerfull dictator None is the case with US. Yugoslavia, Cehoslovakia and recently Iraq and Sudan tell you something?

  12. By the way, Princes William and Harry of Britain have also a little russian blood from their grand-grand-grandmother who was nice of the last tsar of Russia!

  13. Some people here confused with being ethnic russian or citizen of Russia. Before 1917 Ukraine,Moldova,Belarus didn’t exist-Its for the first. For the second since in the WEST USSR was called Soviet Russia,its normal to call russian jews as citizens of Russia who moved in Israel or USA. And stop argueing about difference of Ukraine and Russia. Its like to say hes from Cali! not Texas! People have different culture,but a one country! Imagine if USA will become broken like Russia,some rude nazists will start arguing who belongs to America and whos not.

    • LOL – “Before 1917 Ukraine,Moldova,Belarus didn’t exist” – that’s one of the most ridiculous statement I’ve ever read. Read some history – first, then discuss. Ukraine has at least twelve centuries (!) of documented history, and only 70 years as a Soviet Republic. Moldova was a part of Roman (then Byzantine) emipire, and from XIV century was a principality (=separate country). Only Belarus was barely an independent country in its history, but that’s still the issue, I believe, but still Belarus as a nation has centuries of its own history and culture!

      • Belarussian was an official language of the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, its laws were written in it even during the union with Poland.
        In fact it was Ukraine (Kievan Rus) that broke, and so was Russia born. But it was long, long time ago and you’re an ignorant if you say Russians and Ukrainians are one nation. Let’s take Germans and Dutch as an example, they broke apart some 100 years later.
        Other nations of past USSR were by no means Slavic. Calling them Russians is just like saying Sitting Bull or Crazy Horse were Englishmen 🙂

    • First at all Moldova is inhabited by romanians, wich are not slavs and had a common history with russians only for 150 years in the last 1200 years.
      Second, a german with chinese citinzenship if he emigrate in another country is a german not a chinese! Do you understand that? is no so hard! A jew emmigrated from Baku to Hollywood it is only a jew and it will be nothing more than a jew and not a russian, azeri etc.

  14. Ukrainians and Russians are not the same. But most population of Ukraine are Russians. And sooner or later those people will vote for joining their native land.

  15. Kishinev (Chisinau) is in Republic of Moldova, former part of Greater Romania, occupied by URSS in 1940 after Ribbentrop-Molotov Pact and liberated in 1941 by Romanian Army and occupied again in 1945. You people are ignorants, you think only Rusia was a country, the other don’t exist in your vision, very very wrong.
    So Natalie Portman have romanian roots!!!

  16. Is not Kishinev but Chisinau and is Moldova not Rusia. Moldova was abusive ocupied in WW2. Same Mila Kunis born in Cernauti part of Moldova for hundred of years.

  17. Oh please. Keep your revisionist comments for yourself. You were liberated by Russia from the Turks, and you were part of the Russian Empire way before you were part of the USSR. I am not saying that you are Russians, just don’t sell us here rubish about Romanian origins. Tripillian culture is an ancient Slavic culture and Romanians are romanized Slavs. Just compare the Tripillian figurines with the ones in Vincha.

  18. Why do people always talk like Russia needs to prove they are Really smart and modern and so on. The whole world knows how cool Russia is except for the Russians themselves.

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