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10 Celebrities Who Are The Oldest Children In Their Families

Updated on September 8, 2013
Ralph Fiennes
Ralph Fiennes
Mira Sorvino
Mira Sorvino
Susan Sarandon
Susan Sarandon
Caroline Kennedy
Caroline Kennedy
Raquel Welch
Raquel Welch
Beyonce Knowles
Beyonce Knowles
Lucille Ball
Lucille Ball
Ricki Lake
Ricki Lake
Vanessa Redgrave
Vanessa Redgrave
Geraldine Chaplin
Geraldine Chaplin


The oldest child in the family is the one who all members of the family depend and lean upon. He/she is expected to be mature early in life and to become a little adult. He/she is also thrust in authoritative and leadership positions as their younger siblings look to them for advice and guidance.

The oldest child in the family is held to stricter and tougher standard than any succedent younger children in the family. He/she must be the strong and responsible one. He/she must be always tough and invincible. He/she is to show no signs of vulnerability whatsoever for to do so would lessen him/her in the eyes of the younger siblings. In other words, he/she cannot let the younger siblings see him/her sweat.

As a result of the oldest child's familial ordinal position, he/she must always be in control. He/she also believes that he/she is the authority and knows more because he/she is the oldest. He/she is quite comfortable being the dominant one in the relationship, whether it is with siblings and/or with nonrelated people. He/she often gravitates to leadership positions in school and beyond.

Because parental expectations are exacting for the oldest child, he/she is often a perfectionist and an overachiever. He/she wants to win and to be first. To many oldest children, if he/she cannot be first, all is lost.

There are many oldest children who are famous and noted. They are highly successful in their respective fields. Here is my take on 10 famous people who were the oldest children in their respective families.

(1) Ralph Fiennes (December 22, 1962- ). This oldest child of 7 was born into an English aristocratic family. He is a quite prolific actor of theatre and films. He studied at the Royal Shakespeare Company National Theatre and Royal Academy of Drama Arts in England. He did some theatre work before his foray into films. His films included Wuthering Heights(1991), Schindler's List(1993) which he received a Golden Globe Award and an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actor. His subsequent films included The English Patient (1996) which was nominated for an Oscar, Oscar and Lucinda(1997), Spider (2002), Harry Potter, Goblet of Fire and The Reader (2005).

(2) Mira Sorvino(September 18, 1967- ). This oldest child of 3 is the daughter of noted character actor Paul Sorvino. She is a prodigious actress, producer, and activist. In addition to that, she graduated Harvard University magna cum laude in East Asian Studies in 1989. While she attended Harvard University, she was a co-founder of the Harvard-Radcliffe Veritones, a singing club, in 1985. She starred in movies such as Quiz Show(1994), Mighty Aphrodite(1995) which she received both Academy and Golden Globe Awards for Best Supporting Actress.

She then starred in the HBO movie, Norma Jean & Marilyn(1996) which she was nominated for the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a miniseries or a movie. She was also nominated for a Golden Globe Award for Best Actress in a miniseries or television film. Her subsequent movies included Romy& Michelle High School Reunion(1997), Summer Of Sam(1999), The Grey Zone(2001), Gods And Generals (2003), and Union Square(2012).

(3) Susan Sarandon(September 4, 1946- ). This oldest child of 9 is an actress and activist. She is the product of Catholic education from the elementary to the college level. She attended The Catholic University Of America. She has an extensive career which spanned more than 4 decades. She acted in movies such as The Front Page(1974) with Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau, The Rocky Horror Picture Show with Barry Bostwick and The Great Waldo Pepper with Robert Redford(1975), and Pretty Baby (1978).

She had major starring roles in movies such as Atlantic City(1980) which she was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress, The Witches of Eastwick(1987) with Jack Nicholson, Cher, and Michelle Pfeiffer, Bill Durham (1988), and she nominated for three Academy Awards for movies Thelma & Louise(1991), Lorenzo's Oil (1992), and The Client(1994). She won an Academy Award for Dead Man Walking(1995). Her subsequent movies included Stepmom(1998), The Banger Sisters(2002), Alfie(2004), and Enchanted(2007).

(4) Caroline Kennedy (November 25, 1957- ). This oldest child of 2 is a scion of the Kennedy political dynasty. She is an attorney and author. She is the product of private school education. She attended The Brearley School, Convent Of The Sacred Heart, and Concord Academy. She graduated from Radcliffe College at Harvard University in 1980 and graduated at the top tenth of her class at Columbia Law School.

She also worked in a series of jobs including a photographer's assistant and summer intern at The New York Daily News for $156.00 weekly. In 1980, she worked as a research assistant in the Film And Television Department in the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. She was subsequently promoted to a high level position in the museum. From 2002-4, she was the Director in the Office Of Strategic Partnerships for the New York City Department Of Education. Her books included Profiles Of Courage For Our Times(2002) and A Patriot's Handbook(2003).

(5) Raquel Welch(September 5,1940- ). This oldest of 3 is an actress, author, businessperson, dancer, and singer. In the early part of her career, she was known as a sex symbol. She became tired of this typecasting and started to fight for and take roles which showcased her talent and gained her respect.

She starred in movies such as Fantastic Voyage(1962), One Million Years B.C.(1966), 100 Rifles(1969), Myra Breckinridge(1970), Hannie Caulder (1971), Kansas City Bomber(1972), The Three Musketeers(1973), The Wild Party (1975), Tortilla Soup, and Legally Blonde(2001). She subsequently starred in the PBS miniseries, American Family (2002). She won a Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture Actress in a Musical or Comedy for The Three Musketeers. She has written beauty and exercise books and have a wig business.

(6) Beyonce(September 4, 1981- ). This oldest of 2 is known for being a phenomenal musical presence. She regularly plays to packed crowds. To say that she is prodigious talented would be the understatement of the years. She was a lead singer in Destiny Child before embarking on a solo career. Her recordings included Dangerously In Love (2003), B'Day(2006), and 4 (2011).

She starred in myriad movies such as Carmen, A Hip Hopera(2001), Austin Powers In Goldmember (2002), The Fighting Temptations(2003), The Pink Panther(2006), Obsessed(2009), and Epic(2013). Throughout her career, she was received numerous award and honors. She sold over 88 million records in the United States and worldwide. She was the first female artist honored with the International Artists Award and she received 16 Grammy Awards for her massive body of work.

(7) Lucille Ball(August 6, 1911-April 26, 1989)- This oldest of 2 was a showbiz dynamo. Her career spanned a half century. She was a talented comedienne, model, film/television actress, and a media executive. She was the first woman to own a studio. According to some sources, when she was a showgirl, she stated that she would own a studio one day. She began her show business career as a model. She then graduated to bit parts and starred in a series of B-movies in the 1940s.

However, she was about to create show business history in the 1950s. She teamed up with her husband, Desi Arnaz, a Cuban bandleader and created a show that would go down in history, I Love Lucy. She and her husband owed Desilu Studios. She carved out a niche regarding her brand. Her subsequent shows in the Lucy series included The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour, The Lucy Show, Here's Lucy which she starred with her children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., and Life With Lucy.

Her studio, Desilu, also produced many television shows besides the Lucy series. She continued to work in movies in the 1960s and 1970s. She also starred in the movie Mame. She was nominated for 13 Emmy Awards and won 4 Emmy Awards. She also received a Golden Globe Cecil B. DeMille Award(1979) and a Lifetime Achievement Award Kennedy Center Honors(1986). She was indeed a groundbreaking pioneer. Many subsequent comediennes such as Carol Burnett credit her for paving the way and making it easier for them to succeed in comedy.

(8)Ricki Lake(September 21, 1968- ). This oldest of 2 is best known for starring in many John Waters films and having a syndicated talk show. She attended The Professional Children's School during her junior and senior year. She then attended Ithaca College for one semester. She acted in a myriad of John Water's movies such as Hairspray(1988), Cry-Baby(1990), and Serial Mom (1994). She also starred in Last Exit to Brooklyn(1989) and Mrs. Winterbourne(1996). However, she is best known for her talk show named after her. This talk show, Ricki Lake, lasted from 1993-2004. On April 20, 2011, she was in talks to develop a second talk show, The Ricki Lake Show, which premiered in September 2012.

(9)Vanessa Redgrave(January 30, 1937- )-This oldest of 3 is a scion of an establish English acting dynasty. She was educated at the Alice Ottley School, Worceste & Queen's Gate School and the Central School Of Speech & Drama. She appeared in numerous theatre and film productions.

Such films included Man For All Seasons and Blowup(1966), Camelot(1967), Isadora(1968), A Quiet Place In The Country(1969), Mary, Queen Of Scots and The Trojan Woman (1970), Julia(1977), Playing for Time (1981), The Bostonians(1984), Comrades(1985), A Rumor Of Angels(2000), Eva (2009), and Song for Marion(2012). She was nominated and the recepient of numerous award including the Primetime Emmy, Screen Actor Guild, and the Golden Globes Awards for her vast array of work.

(10) Geraldine Chaplin(July 31, 1944- )-this oldest of 8 is the daughter of the late Charlie Chaplin, iconic actor and filmmaker. Her volume of work included starring in Doctor Zhivago(1965), Countess of Hong Kong(1966), Honeycomb and The Hawaiians(1969), The Three Musketeers(1973), Nashville (1975), A Wedding (1978), The House Of Mirth(1981), White Mischief(1987). Her subsequent films were Chaplin(1992), Jane Eyre(1995), The Faces Of The Moon(2001), and The Impossible (2012).

Oldest children have a presence which other birth orders do not have. They are strong and are not afraid to let other know this. They are also cool under pressure. This is probably why others look to them. They are also on demand for their noted self-assuredness and leadership. Now you have my list of 10 famous people who are the oldest in their respective families.

© 2013 Grace Marguerite Williams


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    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you very much for your response. I immensely enjoyed writing this. I, too, am quite fascinated with birth order. Thank you again!

    • Minnetonka Twin profile image

      Linda Rogers 

      7 years ago from Minnesota

      What a fun read this was. I learned about birth order characteristics in college and it was a fascinating topic. Great hub.

    • Gypsy48 profile image


      7 years ago

      Interesting hub of some interesting first borns. I am a first born, had to be and still am the responsible one!

    • iguidenetwork profile image


      7 years ago from Austin, TX

      Wow, really absorbed into this. Great profile of the "oldest child" celebs. Voted up and interesting. :)

    • gmwilliams profile imageAUTHOR

      Grace Marguerite Williams 

      7 years ago from the Greatest City In The World-New York City, New York

      Thank you for stopping by and responding.

    • jainismus profile image

      Mahaveer Sanglikar 

      7 years ago from Pune, India

      Nice information......


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