Ever hear the old saying “It runs in the family?” Well, it applies to celebrities too. More often than not, traits like acting, writing, singing, or even directing are passed down from one generation to the next. Here are a list of 15 celebrities who chose to take those traits and follow in their Mom or Dad’s footsteps with them.
Colin Hanks, son of blockbuster star Tom Hanks,worked his way into his dad’s profession first by landing starring roles in the successful series Roswell and, later, Band of Brothers. Colin made his film debut opposite Jack Black in the teen comedy Orange County and later scored a supporting role in Peter Jackson’s blockbuster King Kong remake. Most recently, the actor wrapped up a noteworthy run on season six of Showtime’s Dexter as The Doomsday Killer.
Eva Amurri Martino
Eva Amurri Martino is the daughter of Hollywood power couple Tim Robbins (her stepdad) and Susan Sarandon. The actress was first bit by the acting bug as a child, scoring small parts in her father’s directorial efforts Bob Roberts and Dead Man Walking. As an adult, Amurri Martino made a niche for herself in comedies like The Banger Sister (opposite mother Sarandon) and Saved! Among her most recent performances are a 9-episode guest spot on Showtime’s Californication and the Adam Sandler vehicle That’s My Boy!, where she shared a role with Susan Sarandon (playing a younger version of the same character).
Damon Wayans Jr.
Damon Wayans Jr. also played a younger version of his father, In Living Color star Damon Wayans, in the 1994 film Blankman. As an adult he broke into comedy by writing and acting on his father’s successful sitcom My Wife and Kids. Later, Wayans Jr. took on a similar actor/performer position on his father’s Showtime sketch comedy series The Underground. This also led to the lead role in the Wayans’ family produced parody Dance Flick and later a supporting role in the Will Ferrell comedy The Other Guys. Most recently Wayans Jr. could be seen co-starring on the popular ABC sitcom Happy Endings.
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Nick Cassavetes is the son of legendary actor and director John Cassavetes. Nick started his acting career in B-movies before graduating to small roles in Face/Off and The Hangover II. However, like dad, it was behind the camera that Nick made his biggest splash, directing such hits as John Q, The Notebook, and Alpha Dog.
Born the son of legendary Irish actor Richard Harris, Jared followed his father’s lead into the world of indie films around the mid-1990s. He first caught the eye of critics as the title character in I Shot Andy Warhol. He later parlayed his reputation as an indie character actor into small but memorable roles in Hollywood films like Lost In Space, Resident Evil: Apocalypse and The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. Most recently, Jared starred as the villainous Professor Moriarty in Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows. He can next be seen in Steven Spielberg’s Lincoln.
Willow & Jaden Smith
These two need little introduction, which is why we’re condensing them into one spot. These children of Hollywood power couple Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith have both made distinguishing marks in the music industry. Jaden’s guest performance on the Platinum Justin Bieber single “Never Say Never” certainly contributed to its success, while Willow’s “Whip My Hair” emerged as one of the catchiest radio hits of 2010. Jaden has a bit of an edge on his sister in the acting department, however, garnering noteworthy performances in The Karate Kid remake and The Pursuit of Happyness (co-starring with his dad). Keep in mind, this all could change if the remake of Annie, which Willow is attached to star in, moves forward.
Born the son of legendary Hollywood actor-filmmaker John Huston, Danny has emerged one of Hollywood’s favorite character actors. Danny first made his mark on Hollywood as a director on Mr. North, collaborating with John, who acted as producer. Unfortunately, Danny’s directorial career ended with the forgettable Burt Reynolds psycho killer flick The Maddening, forcing Danny to reinvent himself as one of Hollywood’s favorite villainous actors. The actor can be seen stealing scenes in films like X-Men Origins: Wolverine, 30 Days of Night, and Wrath of the Titans.
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In some ways it seems that father Lenny Kravitz may have followed in daughter Zoe’s footsteps, rather than the other way around. Nevertheless, the actor/rock star clearly made an impression on his daughter, who also sings and acts. Zoe has emerged in recent years as a star on the rise thanks to roles in films like X-Men: First Class and the upcoming Mad Max: Fury Road. Interestingly enough, despite conquering mainstream rock in the early 90s, Kravitz began acting a little after his daughter started her career; he made a major splash in movies like Precious: Based On The Novel Push By Sapphire and The Hunger Games. Perhaps the inspiration is mutual?
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Former Saturday Night Live cast member Abby Elliott was born the daughter of comedy legend (and former SNL host) Chris Elliott. During her four year stint (2008-2012) on the sketch comedy show, Abby proved herself worthy of her family’s funny reputation, showing off such uncanny impressions of celebrities like Ke$ha, Katie Perry, and “quirky girl” Zooey Deschanel. Having parted ways with the show this year, Abby can currently be seen in the Halloween comedy Fun Sized.
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Born to Academy Award winning actress Sissy Spaceck, actress and singer-songwriter Schuyler Fisk clearly inherited some of her mother’s performing abilities. As a child, she made her debut as the lead in the 1995 movie The Babysitter’s Club. In her teens she took roles in such films as Snow Day and Orange County. Most recently you can see her in the Gus Van Sant indie drama Restless.
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In a break from the actors, filmmakers and musicians populating this list, Joe Hill was born Joseph King to America’s favorite horror writer, Stephen King. Upon embarking on his literary career, Joseph decided to try and make it without his family’s surname and thus took the pseudonym of Joe Hill. As Hill, King has written two novels, including the New York Times best-seller Heart Shaped Box. His last work, Horns, is currently being filmed with Harry Potter star Daniel Radcliffe in the lead.
Born the son of Rocky and Godfather actress Talia Shire, Jason Schwartzman distinguished himself as an actor in his debut in the Wes Anderson directed Rushmore. He would go on to become a frequent member of Anderson’s preferred acting repertory, appearing in such films as The Darjeeling Limited, The Fantastic Mr. Fox, and this year’s breakout indie Moonrise Kingdom. Schwartzman’s more mainstream performances include a supporting turn in Funny People and the lead in the HBO comedy series Bored To Death.
Sharing membership in the Coppola clan with Jason Schwartzman, Sofia Coppola is the daughter of legendary writer/director Francis Ford Coppola. While she was given supporting roles in a number of her father’s films, her first serious shot at acting was in The Godfather Part III as Mary Coreleone. After being panned by critics and audiences alike, Sofia reemerged with a new career as a director. Following her feature debut, The Virgin Suicides, Sofia’s Lost In Translation won her an Academy Award for Best Screenplay. Coppola’s next film will be The Bling Ring, a Beverly Hills-set crime drama starring Emma Watson.
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Josh Brolin is the son of popular 1970s actor James Brolin (The Amityville Horror). Josh garnered his first noteworthy part when just a teenager, playing older brother Brand in the iconic 80s adventure The Goonies. Josh later abandoned screen acting in favor of performing stage plays to polish his craft. He returned to movies in the 90s, establishing himself as an often intense everyman actor in films like Mimic and Hollow Man. In 2007 he delivered a breakout performance as the lead in the Academy-Award winning No Country For Old Men, which brought him to starring roles in A-list projects like W., True Grit, and Men In Black 3. He can be seen next in Gangster Squad and Spike Lee’s Oldboy.
Given her multitude of achievements, it’s easy to forget Angelina Jolie is, in fact, the daughter of legendary character actor Jon Voight. Though she made her debut with her father in the mostly-forgotten Lookin’ to Get Out, Jolie made her first serious stab at acting with a starring role in the 1993 B-movie Cyborg 2. Two years later she managed to pull herself out of the direct-to-video trenches with 1995’s Hollywood computer heist film Hackers. Merely four years after that, Jolie earned major credibility with an Academy-Award winning performance in 1999’s Girl, Interrupted and has remained a superstar ever since.