Families that are legacies whether it be in acting, directing, writing, or a combination of these is a popular custom in Hollywood. There are ten famous families that are totally noteworthy because of the amount of skill their whole family has and how many generations the talent has covered. I am going to share these families with you so you can see why they are famous and how they got there. The first family that fits into this category is the Reitman family.
Jason Reitman is a skilled director and writer of touching movies like Thank you for not Smoking, Juno, and Young Adult. He takes after his dad who is well-known for the movies Ghostbusters, Meatballs, Twins, and for producing Space Jam and Kindergarten Cop. Jason’s sister Catherine is also an up-and-coming actress. The next family is known for starting the idea of getting famous from movies.
The swashbuckler Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford (also known as America’s First Sweetheart) were Hollywood’s first popular couple when they fell in love and got married. During their marriage, they created United Artists. They did later get a divorce. Charlie Chaplain and D.W. Griffith also helped them found the company. Fairbank’s son from previous marriage Douglas J. Fairbanks Junior was a skilled and athletic actor that did well in action films like Guaga Din and Sinbad the Sailor. Joan Crawford and Douglas when they were twenty and it would have become a dynasty if Crawford had not caught the eye of Clark Gable. The next group of people I am going to share with you is the Curtis and Leigh family.
Tony Curtis and Janet Lee did not grow up in famous families, but as part of the working class. Curtis benefited from being raised in New York City because he got to take acting classes after he left the Navy. Leigh was found by Norma Shearer at a ski resort where her dad was employed. The stress of Hollywood life led to the downfall of their marriage, but their marriage did create one wonderful thing, the great and wonderful actress, Jamie Lee Curtis. Jamie Lee married Christopher Guest and he was a cast member of Saturday Night Live and wrote and directed mockumentaries called Best in Show and a Mighty Wind. Her sister Kelly got the part of Muffy in the movie “Trading Places” and stopped acting in 1999 and became Jamie’s assistant on the set. The Ladd family is also a wonderful family in Hollywood history.
Alan Ladd is well-known for being the heroic gunslinger in Shane. He was also the president of Fox Studios. He also took on George Lucas’s Star Wars when no one else would. He also had a great role in many great movies such as: Alien, The Towering Inferno, Breaking Away, and All That Jazz. He gave Ron Howard his beginning in acting. Three of Alan’s four children are mentioned on IDMB and his daughter Kelliann is known for producing three movies. The Mankiewicz family is well-known for directing and writing.
Joseph Mankiewicz got two Oscars for directing and writing. His movie All About Eve is one of America’s wonderful parodies that Hollywood has ever come out with. His brother Herman was also a famous screenwriter with the focal point of his career was co-writing Citizen Kane with Orson Welles. The other famous family members are: Joseph’s son Tom who directed some television movies and wrote a couple of scripts for the James Bond films. Ben was also a speechwriter for the Kennedy administration. Sir Michael Redgrave is the one who first became famous in his family.
This family starts with Sir Michael who, in the 1940’s, became one of Britain’s prominent stage and screen actors. His daughter’s Lynn and Vanessa, took after their dad and they have both been more successful than their dad. They both got nominated for best actress in the same year, 1996 when Lynn was nominated for her part in the film Georgy Girl and Vanessa in the movie A Girl for all Seasons. They both got roles in the British Empire, Vanessa as a commander and Lynn as an officer. Lynn died recently after her last film My Dog Tulip and Vanessa is being nominated for her seventh Oscar for the film Corlianis. She was married to the Oscar-Winning director Tony Richardson and from their marriage, came their daughter, Natasha Richardson, who, sadly passed away in 2009 from injuries from a skiing accident. The Huston family also had three generations of people who won Oscars.
Walter was a director and writer and he directed him and his daughter Anjelica in Treasures of Sierra Madre (1948) and Prizzi’s Honor (1985) at the same time. When Walter acted, he fully took on the role and became the person. Anjelica is well-known for her role as Morticia in The Addams Family and Danny was in the Constant Gardener and X-Men Origins:Wolverine. The Coppolas family also won Oscar Award’s for three generations of their family.
Along with having a family that won three Oscars, all of their family members are very successful. France’s dad, Carmine, was the main flutist for the NBC Symphony Orchestra. He also wrote sixteen films that include his son’s movie: The Godfather PAT II. Sofia’s most vital acting role was in her father’s last part Grandfather trilogy. She took after him for film making and screen writing for the 2003 film Lost in Translation. France’s sister Talia also became a great actress and Talia’s son Jason Schwartzman took after them. Nicholas Cage (originally named Nicholas Kim Coppola) did not want to rely on his family name for his success so he changed his name. The first family of Hollywood is the next family I am going to highlight.
There are many reasons that the Barrymore family is considered the first family of Hollywood. Drew Barrymore’s granddad John was nicknamed the The Great Profile for his wonderful good looks. Her siblings Ethel and Lionel were three of Hollywood’s highest paid celebrities from when they got to Hollywood in 1914 till the 1940’s. Their family heritage goes all the way back to the 1800’s when the parents of John, Lionel, and Ethel were both stage stars. Their mom was named Georgie Drew and that is how Drew got her name. Drew’s father was involved in various movie and television shows and so did his sister Diana, but neither one of them were able to make a go of it. Drew’s godfather gave her a leading role in E.T., which gave her her start in acting. The Fonda family is the last family I am going to discuss.
In popular movies like Grapes of Wrath, Young Mr. Lincoln, 12 Angry Men, and My Darling Clementine, Henry Fonda gained the reputation of an upright good guy. His son Peter said his dad was just, democratic, and honest in every role he played. His children had very different roles in movies. Peter wrote and produced Easy Rider in 1969. Jane became one of the premiere actors of her time and was nominated for seven Oscars and two Oscar wins while playing in movies such as Coming Home and China Syndrome. Jane said one of her favorite memories was making On Golden Pond with her dad in 1981 (his final film that won him an Oscar) was one of her favorite movie making experiences ever. Peter’s daughter Bridget is also an actress.
These wonderful Hollywood families with wonderful heritage are a significant part of Hollywood’s and our country’s history. They have helped shape what our movies and television shows have become. Though many of them have gone and left this earth, they will never be gone in our hearts and minds as we can still enjoy the fruits of their labors on television at times, on Netflix, and by purchasing DVD’s.