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Hollywood Nepotism or famous families, coppola, sheen etc

Updated on September 3, 2013

Getting a leg up in the industry

There exists many wannabe actors, actresses, writers, directors and more but the sad truth remains that most of these hopefuls will never fulfil their dreams of hollywood success. Yet some are given an advantage, whether this is an unfair advantage or not remains to be seen but there is no denying that it happens frequently, perhaps more than any of us is aware.

So who has had a helping hand in getting their career started? Who deservers their success and who is only there because of family connections and a friendly face opening the door into a studio?

Keep reading to be reminded of some of the great and perhaps not so great hollywood dynasties. Discover some celebrity relationships you may not have known about.

Nicholas Cage

Nicholas Cage, talened actor or product of nepotism?
Nicholas Cage, talened actor or product of nepotism? | Source

The Coppola Family

Francis Ford Coppola. Legendary film maker whose body of work speaks for itself be it the Godfather trilogy, The conversation, apocalypse now or even Bram Stokers Dracula. Few would argue his success is not deserved.

Sophia Coppola. (Daughter to Francis) Oscar winner in her own write who has forged a very successful career writing and directing small and thoughtful films including Lost In Translation.

Talia Shire. (Sister to Francis) Oscar nominated for her turn in Rocky she is perhaps best known for her roles in the The Godfather films directed by her brother.

Jason Schwartzman (Son to Talia Shire) Star of movies including Rushmore and cousin Sophia's Marie Antoinette.

Nicholas Cage (Nephew to Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire) One of the worlds biggest movie stars despite some recent misfires. Won an oscar for Leaving Las Vegas.

Carmine Coppola (Father to Francis and Talia, grandfather to Cage, Schwartzman) Won an oscar for his music for the Godfather films.

See also, Roman Coppola, Christopher Coppola.

Walter Huston - Huston Family Patriach

Walter Huston - Oscar Winner
Walter Huston - Oscar Winner | Source

The Huston Family

Walter Huston - Oscar winning actor, won for The Treasure of Sierra Madre directed by his son John Huston.

John Huston - (Son of Walter) Legendary director and sometime actor. As director, directed both his own father and daughter to Academy Awards. Films include Annie, The African Queen, The Man Who would be king, Key Largo and The Maltese Falcon.

Anjelica Huston (Daughter of John Huston) - Winner of an Academy award for Prizzis honour opposite her Boyfriend Jack Nicholson. The film was the penultimate film directed by her father John.

Danny Huston (Son of John) - Character actor familiar to some for his roles in X-Men Origins Wolverine, The Aviator and The Constant Gardner. Not prominent in his fathers lifetime, did he make it entirely on his own or did sister Anjelica help him out?

Jack Huston - (Grandson of John) excellent in Boardwalk empire as the disfigured war hero or villain, dependent on your view.

Other Hollywood Families

The Arquettes

  • Rosanna Arquette
  • David Arquette
  • Patricia Arquette
  • Alexis Arquette

The Sheens

  • Martin Sheen
  • Emilion Estevez
  • Charlie Sheen

Note that Estevez is the family name and that Martin Sheen is a stage name only and he is still legally called Ramon Estevez. Actor Joe Estevez although largely unknown is Martin Sheen's younger brother and has amassed an impressive 200 + screen credits. Renee Estevez Daughter of Martin is also a working actress who appeared alongside her father in the highly successful The West Wing.

The Gyllenhaal family.

  • Jake Gyllenhaal
  • Maggie Gyllenhaal

The above siblings father is director Stephen Gyllenhaal and their mother is Oscar nominated screenwriter Naomi Foner. It is also interesting to note that legendary movie star Paul Newman is Jake Gyllenhaal's godfather.

The Baldwins - four brothers with varying degrees of success.

  • Alec Baldwin
  • Stephen Baldwin
  • Daniel Baldwin
  • William Baldwin.

The Barrymores

  • John Barrymore
  • Ethel Barrymore
  • Lionel Barrymore
  • Drew Barrymore

The Redgraves

  • Michael Redgrave
  • Vanessa Redgrave
  • Lynn Redgrave
  • Corin Redgrave
  • Joely Richardson and Natasha Richardson. Daughters of Vanessa Redgrave and film director Tony Richardson.

The Fonda's

  • Henry Fonda
  • Jayne Fonda
  • Peter Fonda
  • Bridget Fonda
  • Troy Garity - Jayne Fonda's son.

The Sutherlands

  • Donald Sutherland
  • Kiefer Sutherland
  • Angus Sutherland

The Carradines

  • John Carradine
  • Keith Carradine
  • Robert Carradine
  • David Carradine
  • Martha Plimpton - Goonies star and daughter of Keith.

The Bridges

  • Lloyd Bridges
  • Beau Bridges
  • Jeff Bridges

The Cusacks

  • John Cusack
  • Joan Cusack
  • Ann Cusack

We omitted some families for the sake of brevity.

Kirk Douglas father to Michael Douglas

The first of two very successful generations of movie stars.
The first of two very successful generations of movie stars. | Source

Did you know they were related?

The Beatty Family, did you know that oscar winner Shirley Maclaine is the elder sister of Warren Beatty?

Did you know Midnight Cowboy star Jon Voight is father to Angelina Jolie?

Rosemary Clooney was George Clooneys aunt and mother to character Actor Miguel Ferrer who has recently appeared in the final season of desperate housewives.

Kate Hudson is the daughter of Goldie Hawn.

Jamie Leigh Curtis is the daughter of Psycho star Janet Leigh and the legendary Tony Curtis.

Princess Leia star Carrrie Fisher is the daughter of Singing in the Rain star Debbie Reynolds.

Mariska Hargitay is the daughter of Jayne Mansfield.

Melanie Griffith is the daughter of The Birds star Tippi Hedron.

Liza Minnelli - Daughter of Judy Garland and legendary director Vincent Minelli.

Gwyneth Paltrow is he daughter of Blyth Danner.

Less Successful Attempts

Nepatism is no guarantee of massive success. Who amongst us know the following names.

  • Joey Travolta
  • Don Swayze
  • Clint Howard
  • Jim Hanks

No prizes for guessing these four's more successful famous siblings. But you do not have to be a massive star to build an impressive career. Eric Roberts came to prominence before little sister Julia Roberts although she went on to be the much bigger star. It is interesting to note Emma Roberts who is starting to build a noteworthy career is the daughter of Eric.

New, next generation of nepotism

  • The lead role in the 50 Shades of Grey Movie is to be played by Dakota Johnson - Daughter of Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith.

There will be many, many more who come through over time. in ten years we maybe watch the children of today's young stars. An unfair advantage or not many of them are worthy stars in their own right.

Although lets be honest many of them deserve to fail.


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    • profile image

      lacebra 3 years ago

      Irving Thalberg,jr:

      When he was 18, Thalberg had spent a summer internship as a film editor at MGM. It left him with mixed feelings. "It struck me as weird that I should go into a job situation at the top, over at least ten other people who were more experienced than I was," he told the Syracuse paper. "It was much too easy for a member of a famous Hollywood family to make it in the movie business. I really did like the moviemaker life, but I just didn't feel too comfortable in that position."