Nepotism has always been alive and well in the movie business. Right from the earliest days of the ‘flickers’ being closely related to a movie star was never a drawback when it came to starting a career in the business. Of course, offering sexual favors worked just as well in most cases, but for the purposes of this article I shall focus on the former. I thought of including directors and producers but there have been far too many, so I shall only list immediate family of actors and actresses – siblings, sons and daughters. Some of the names here may come as a surprise. For example, I have seen Pretty Woman (1990) a number of times, but was unaware until recently that the actor who played David Morse (Alex Hyde-White) is the son of Wilfred Hyde-White (Colonel Pickering in 1964’s My Fair Lady). By comparison, there cannot be many movie fans on planet Earth who are unaware that Angelina Jolie is the daughter of Oscar-winning star of the 60s and 70s Jon Voight. This is not a comprehensive list by any means. For instance, Lorraine Bracco’s sister, Elizabeth, had a very brief movie career, but I have not included them in the ‘siblings’ section because that career (unlike Lorraine’s) was not memorable in any way. Even so, that rule is flexible if I think something about a career might be of interest regardless of its length or quality, hence the inclusion, for example, of Alex Hyde-White and Hart Bochner. Here is the first instalment:
(1914 – 86) – Born in New York City, New York. Acting credits: 104.
Played George Gershwin in Rhapsody in Blue (1945).
(1936 – ) – Born in the Bronx, New York City, New York. Acting credits: 64 (thus far).
Played ‘Hawkeye’ Pierce in 251 episodes of M.A.S.H. (1972-83) on TV.
(1930 – ) – Born in Baltimore, Maryland. Acting credits: 154 (thus far)
Played Gomez Addams in 64 episodes of The Addams Family (1964-66) on TV.
(1946 – 2016) – Born in Queens, New York City, New York. Acting credits: 141
Won an Oscar portraying Helen Keller in The Miracle Worker (1962).
(1971 – ) – Born in Santa Monica, California. Acting credits: 138 (thus far).
Known world-wide for playing Sam in The Lord of the Rings trilogy (2001-3).
(1973 – ) – Born in Los Angeles, California. Acting credits: 99 (thus far).
Best known for his portrayal of Henry Villard in In Love and War (1996).
JOHN DREW BARRYMORE
(1932 – 2004) – Born in Los Angeles, California. Acting credits: 46.
Played the lead character, Francis Kane, in Never Love a Stranger (1958).
(1975 – ) – Born in Culver City, California. Acting credits: 71 (thus far).
Caused a sensation as Gertie in ET – The Extra-Terrestrial (1982) when she was just 6 years old.
(1901 – 70) – Born in Hartford, Connecticut. Acting credits: 103.
Fine character actor who won a Supporting Actor Oscar for Sweet Bird of Youth (1962).
ED BEGLEY Jr.
(1949 – ) – Born in Los Angeles, California. Acting credits: 308 (thus far).
Played Dr. Victor Ehrlich in 137 episodes of St. Elsewhere (1982-6) on TV.
(1903 – 78) – Born in Chicago, Illinois. Acting credits: 55.
Ventriloquist creator of Charlie McCarthy and hugely popular on-screen in the 30s and 40s.
(1946 – ) – Born in Beverly Hills, California. Acting credits: 61 (thus far).
Won five Emmy Awards for playing the title role in Murphy Brown (1988-98) on TV.
(1915 – 82) – Born in Stockholm, Sweden. Acting credits: 55.
Won 3 Oscars – Gaslight (1944), Anastasia (1956) and Murder on the Orient Express (1974).
(1952 – ) – Born in Rome, Italy. Acting credits: 85 (thus far).
Her best role so far has been as Dorothy Vallens in Blue Velvet (1986).
(1924 – 2005) – Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Acting credits: 213.
Chief Inspector Neil Campbell in Hong Kong (1960-61) and Cecil Colby in Dynasty on TV.
(1956 – ) – Born in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. Acting Credits: 53 (thus far).
Memorably played the coke-snorting Ellis in Bruce Willis’s Die Hard (1988).
(1913 – 98) – Born in San Leandro, California. Acting credits: 216.
TV’s Mike Nelson in Sea Hunt (1958-61) and Steve McCroskey in Airplane! (1980).
(1949 – ) – Born in Los Angeles, California. Acting credits: 90 (thus far).
Deservedly won an Oscar for playing Bad Blake in Crazy Heart (2009) and nominated a further 6 times.
(1941 – ) – Born in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Acting credits: 200 (thus far).
Major-General Hank Landry in Stargate (2005-7) TV series. Much in demand as a character actor.
(1927 – 82) – Born in Charlestown, New Hampshire. Acting credits: 62.
Known for his portrayal of patriarch Doug Lawrence over five seasons of Family (1976-80) on TV.
(1962 – ) – Born in New York City, New York. Acting credits: 72 (thus far).
Gained fame as Ferris in Ferris Bueller’s Day Off (1986) and as Colonel Robert Gould Shaw in Glory (1989).
(1944 – ) – Born in Goose Creek, Texas. Acting credits: 173 (thus far).
Nominated for his great portrayal of Holly in The Buddy Holly Story (1979).
(1971 – ) – Born in Los Angeles, California. Acting credits: 99 (thus far).
Best effort to date was as Ace Levy in Starship Troopers (1997)
(1940 – ) – Born in the Bronx, New York City, New York. Acting credits: 129 (thus far).
He will always be identified with the role of Sonny Corleone in The Godfather (1972).
(1976 – ) – Born in Los Angeles, California. Acting credits: 45 (thus far).
His face is known to TV viewers as Danny Williams in Hawaii Five-0 (2010-17).
(1906 88) – Born in New York City, New York. Acting credits: 351.
A prolific actor who rated Bluebeard (1944) as his finest film in a career spanning 65 years.
(1936 – 2009) – Born in Hollywood, Los Angeles. Acting credits: 237.
Forever known to TV fans for his portrayal of Kwai Chang Caine in Kung Fu (1972-75).
(1949 – ) – Born in San Mateo, California. Acting credits: 140 (thus far).
Brilliant as Harvey Keitel’s protagonist in The Duellists (1977).
(1970 – ) – Born in New York City, New York. Acting credits: 67 (thus far).
For 88 episodes she was known to TV as Virginia Chance in the series Raising Hope (2010-14).
NOTE: There are many more to come, not just parents and their children, but siblings as well. I thought about including uncles and aunts, nephews and nieces, but decided against it. It was tempting to include Macaulay Culkin and his aunt Bonnie Bedelia or George Clooney and his aunt Rosemary, the singer, but where would it all end? For now, therefore, I will restrict the list to mums, dads, kids and siblings.