We’re all familiar with the stereotype of the struggling actor who waits tables between dashing to auditions, scraping by while waiting for their big break. But while that may be a rite of passage for many would-be Hollywood stars, plenty of others walked into their first casting office with a major leg up—at least in terms of a financial safety net.
He grew up dreaming of a career in music, but Rushmore and Bored to Death star Jason Schwartzman has Hollywood in his blood. He’s the son of Talia Rose Coppola, who starred as Adrian in the Rocky movies and Connie Corleone in The Godfather, but Schwartzman’s mom isn’t the only famous name in his family tree. He’s also the nephew of director Francis Ford Coppola, and the cousin of actor Nicolas Cage.
The star of Kroll Show and one of many funny people on The League, Nick Kroll grew up in an affluent area of Westchester, New York, and is the son of Jules B. Kroll, the founder of the billion-dollar corporate investigations company Kroll, Inc. That kind of money is NO JOKE (H
Tabloid magnet Lindsay Lohan started on her path to stardom at a young age, modeling and booking acting gigs like The Parent Trap and Freaky Friday in the mid-to-late 1990s. She started out with a few advantages, though: her father, Michael, was a Wall Street trader, and she grew up in the wealthy Long Island enclave of Cold Spring Harbor, New York.
Hammer, who recently starred opposite Henry “Superman” Cavill in The Man from U.N.C.L.E., became famous playing the Winklevoss twins in David Fincher’s The Social Network. But playing a pair of rich kids probably wasn’t too much of a stretch, since Armie is the great-grandson of the oil tycoon Armand Hammer. Funnily enough, Armie’s great-great-grandfather, Julius Hammer, reportedly founded New York’s Communist Party. Apple fell pretty far from the tree on that one.
Seinfeld and Veep star Julia Louis-Dreyfus is one of the best known comedy actresses working today, and she also happens to be the daughter of Gérard Louis-Dreyfus, chairman of Louis Dreyfus Energy Services, whose net worth was estimated to be $3.4 billion as recently as 2006. Her great-great-grandfather Léopold Louis-Dreyfus founded the major French commodities trading conglomerate the Louis Dreyfus Group.
Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal
Both Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal come from a well-off family in Los Angeles: they’re the children of director Stephen Gyllenhaal and screenwriter Naomi Achs. While both siblings have enjoyed show business success, they can also trace their roots back to a line of Swedish nobility through their father.
Rooney and Kate Mara
Rooney and Kate Mara are members of the young Hollywood elite, with a long list of major movie credits between them. Rooney was seen in the American version of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and Pan, among others, while Kate’s fast-growing filmography includes Fantastic Four and The Martian. Before they stepped into the spotlight on their own, however, they were raised among football royalty. The Mara sisters grew up in Westchester, New York, and their paternal grandfather, Tim Mara, founded the New York Giants NFL franchise in 1925 (their uncle, John Mara, is the current owner of the team). Meanwhile, their maternal grandfather, Art Rooney, founded the Pittsburgh Steelers in 1933.
Like so many successful actors, Gwyneth Paltrow was born to a Hollywood power couple. Her mother is actress Blythe Danner, who’s booked countless film and TV roles over the last several decades, and recently starred opposite Robert De Niro in the Meet the Parents films. Her father, Bruce Paltrow, was a successful TV producer, who made his name on shows like St. Elsewhere.
Rashida Jones is yet another product of high-profile show business coupling. Her father is Quincy Jones – and he’s the reason you like old Michael Jackson songs so much, since he produced a run of ridiculously catchy and successful albums for the King of Pop. Meanwhile, her mother, Peggy Lipton, appeared in movies and television for four decades, including The Mod Squad and Twin Peaks.
Twilight star Kristen Stewart grew up in Los Angeles, the daughter of TV producer John Stewart and Jules Mann-Stewart, a script supervisor and film director. The pair raised Kristen and her two siblings in an Alice in Wonderland-themed mansion, which they later sold for $1.75 million.
Oscar-nominated actor Paul Giamatti had a pretty cushy life growing up, all thanks to his father, A. Bartlett Giamatti. Bartlett spent years teaching at Yale before eventually serving as president of the esteemed university for almost 10 years. After Yale, Giamatti set his sights on baseball, where he quickly became president of the National League and then Commissioner of Major League Baseball. With all that in mind, it’s no wonder his son got the lead role on a show called Billions.Brothers and Sisters star Balthazar Getty was born into one of the wealthiest families in the world. His great-grandfather, J. Paul Getty, was the founder of Getty Oil, which eventually earned him billions of dollars. According to his 1976 obituary in The New York Times, his exact fortune was hard to pin down. However, two years prior to his death, it was said that Getty was worth anything between $2 billion and $4 billion. Or, you know, pocket change.
Ansel Elgort, star of the Divergent series, grew up in the upper-class world of New York City. His parents were famous in the arts community, particularly his fashion-photographer father, Arthur Elgort, who has spent decades shooting for Vogue, GQ and Chanel. His mother, Grethe Barrett Holby, has enjoyed a successful career as a producer and director of opera.
And speaking of the New York City arts world: Lena Dunham may play a twentysomething struggling to make ends meet on Girls. But in real life, things were much easier. That’s all thanks to her super-successful parents, Carroll Dunham and Lauie Simmons, both of whom are famous artists. Dunham’s father, a painter, has had his work featured in high-profile museums, including New York’s Museum of Modern Art and the Art Institute of Chicago.
As it turns out, most of the cast of Girls had little-to-no money problems growing up. Take Allison Williams, for example. Her father is TV journalist Brian Williams, who for years enjoyed an insanely successful career as the anchor of NBC Nightly News. His career has since been plagued by scandal, but yeah, he’s still got plenty of cash.
Edward Norton’s maternal grandfather, James Rouse, enjoyed an incredibly successful career as a real-estate developer and urban planner, designing everything from new towns to shopping malls. Among his biggest contributions: Faneuil Hall Marketplace, which remains one of Boston’s most popular food and shopping destinations to this day.
Three-time Oscar nominee Michelle Williams is the daughter of Larry R. Williams, a Montana-born author and financier, who made two unsuccessful bids for the United States Senate in 1972 and 1982. In 2013, Williams—who now lives in the U.S. Virgin Islands (not bad!)—contemplated a third run for Senate but never followed through, according to reports.
Given her father’s lucrative career in radio and television, it’s no wonder that Sigourney Weaver entered showbusiness. Weaver’s dad, Sylvester Laflin “Pat” Weaver, Jr., worked at NBC from 1949 until 1956, serving as president of the network in his final three years. According to his New York Times obituary, Pat is credited with creating Today and Tonight, and was a champion of the now-famous Meet the Press.
Cyrus is, of course, the daughter of country music superstar Billy Ray Cyrus, the man behind the regrettable, if fun to sing at karaoke, “Achy Breaky Heart.” To her credit, though, Cyrus has worked hard all her life and has since amassed a fortune of her own. Between her days on Hannah Montana and her subsequent career as a hugely successful singer, her net worth today is estimated to be around $200 million. With that kinda money, she can continue to dress as stupid as she wants.