Having a celebrity parent certainly has its benefits. For one, you have easy access to talent agents and the powers that be. If you have an ounce of talent, it’s probably that your famous parent can get you in the door somewhere. Taking it a step further, it’s always great when the children of famous figures manage to escape the shadow of their parent’s success, but what about those who never quite made it? Here are 15 celebrities who are most well-known to audiences for being related to their more famous parents.
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Jason, son of James Bond icon Sean Connery, rose to fame outside of his father’s name with the 1986 series Robin of Sherwood. Unfortunately, the show’s success did not establish him as a star, much less one of his father’s magnitude. These days Jason Connery’s career is relegated mostly to B-movies, which he both acts in (see Wishmaster III: The Gates of Hell) and directs (such as The Devil’s Tomb starring Cuba Gooding Jr.).
Nick Simmons is most well known for co-starring on the reality series Gene Simmons Family Jewels, where for seven seasons he played– what else?– KISS bassist Gene Simmons’ son. Outside of playing the child of a rockstar onscreen and off, Nick has attempted to breakout into the comic book industry. Unfortunately, his career as comic creator was put into question when his title, Incarnate, was accused by critics of plagiarizing the popular Manga series Bleach. Nick maintains any coincidences between the titles are purely incidental and unintentional, but the stigma has followed his comic book endeavors ever since.
Daughter of Demi Moore and Bruce Willis, Rumer has appeared in such films as Sorority Row and The House Bunny. Recently, she’s been more occupied with guest spots on series like 90210 and Workaholics. Though nepotism is often a factor in establishing the careers of popular Hollywood actresses (we’re looking at you Bryce Dallas Howard), Rumer doesn’t seem to be hitting the same chord with audiences that Bruce and Demi managed. With several upcoming B movies and indie dramas on her IMDB page it may be a while before Rumer gets another shot at mainstream success.
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Rain is the daughter of famed comedian Richard Pryor and has acted on such shows as Head of the Class. Rain’s website counts her as a “director, Producer… actor, stand-up comedian, educator, activist, dynamic speaker, mother, and Artistic Director…” and also notes she is “not trying to be her iconic father Richard Pryor.” Yet in spite of the breadth of her resume, Rain is mostly known to audiences as the daughter Richard Prior. Rain seems to understand this and has mined it for her own success, authoring such non-fiction books as Jokes My Father Never Taught Me and Loss With Richard Pryor.
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Taken out of the context of his relation to father James Caan, Scott has done very well for himself. He’s appeared in such popular films as Ocean’s Eleven and Into The Blue. He also maintains the starring role on the popular Hawaii Five-0. Still, being the son of James Caan has seemingly done Scott few favors in establishing himself as an icon like his father. Refreshingly, that doesn’t seem to be an ambition of Scott Caan, who appears to be content living as a working stiff actor. This ethic could very well lend him a Josh Brolin-esque turnaround one day. As of now, though, the shadow of James Caan continues to loom over his filmography.
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Actress-singer Zoe Kravitz is the daughter of singer Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet. Though she’s recorded very little, entering the same trade as her rockstar-icon father garners obvious comparison between the two. Even more obvious are comparisons to her mother, Lisa Bonet. Though Bonet faded from the spotlight following her departure from The Cosby Show and A Different World, the actress remains an icon of 80s television. Zoe’s bit parts in films like X-Men: First Class will be hard pressed to overcome that legacy. It will likely take a breakout role to shirk the legacy of her parents from her professional life. With supporting roles in high-profile films Mad Max: Fury Road and After Earth coming up, 2013 may be the year it finally happens.
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Scott is another early entry on the list, so let it be known he has plenty of time to distinguish himself from his iconic Hollywood figure of a father, Clint Eastwood. Scott has earned some major roles in A-list films like Invictus, The Trouble With The Curve, and Flags Of Our Fathers— all films produced or directed by Clint. To his credit, Scott’s next film has absolutely no involvement with Clint. Unfortunately, the fact that it’s the seventh film in the Texas Chainsaw Massacre series doesn’t bode well for his career (or audiences, for that matter).
To his credit, Jake Kasdan is an established, respected screenwriter and director. Films like Orange County, Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story, and Zero Effect all found critical and audience recognition. Unfortunately, those credits have nothing on The Big Chill, Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back, and Raiders of the Lost Ark— three iconic films that made his father, screenwriter/director Lawrence Kasdan, a Hollywood legend. Admittedly, Jake has taken to specializing in comedy, which distinguishes himself from his dad a bit. Finding a concrete case of “living in the shadow” may be more difficult with this bit of info in mind. However, if Lawrence Kasdan returns to the Star Wars series to pen the latest trilogy of films (as it is rumored), the case of Lawrence Vs. Jake will be open and shut.
Laila Ali, daughter of famous boxer Mohammed Ali, seems to have done her family legacy proud. As a boxer, she retired undefeated with 21 knockouts and 3 decisions made in her favor. Unfortunately, her record isn’t on par with “The Greatest” when given a little context– Laila has been widely criticized by her peers for avoiding matches against the sport’s top contenders, something her father never did during his own career.
Frances Bean Cobain
Frances Bean Cobain is the daughter of deceased Nirvana front man Kurt Cobain and Hole lead singer Courtney Love. Interestingly enough, Frances hasn’t chosen to follow in her family’s footsteps, opting instead to pursue a career as an artist. Though she’s been fairly successful in her endeavors (presenting at galleries under the pseudonym “Fiddle Tim”), Bean seems to embrace living in the shadow of her parents, particularly her deceased father. She posed on the cover of Elle’s August 2006 issue in a cardigan and pajama pants combo, recreating an iconic photo of Kurt Cobain.
Lisa Marie Presley
Lisa Marie Presley, daughter of The King of Rock N’ Roll, Elvis Presley, followed in her father’s footsteps in 2003 with her pop album To Whom It May Concern. It did well, earning a U.S. Gold Certificate. Her follow-up, Now What, didn’t fare quite so well, and, perhaps in response, Lisa Marie released the gritty, blues-oriented Storm and Grace. That album received strong reviews that suggests Lisa may have gained a separate voice to break away from her father’s legacy. However, until a follow-up is released, it will be hard to separate her musical career from that of her father’s.
Patrick, son of legendary actor John Wayne, first made his way into the business appearing as a child alongside his father in Rio Grande and The Quiet Man. As an adult, the two would team up for films like The Big Jake, McLintock! and three other films. Though his collaborations with his father would yield successful results, Patrick Wayne’s solo films would fare less well. After a string of lead roles in television and movies, Wayne became most well known acting in B-movies like Sinbad and the Eye of the Tiger and The People That Time Forgot. From there, Wayne began a steady career as a character actor that continues today. These achievements aren’t bad for any actor, though far from the legacy of The Duke.
Chris Mitchum’s career garners favorable comparisons with Patrick Wayne. As the son of frequent John Wayne collaborator Robert Mitchum, Chris would star in a string of films with The Duke that includes Chisum, Rio Lobo and (with Patrick Wayne) The Big Jake. Though he would be hyped by PhotoPlay in 1971 as a star on the rise, Chris Mitchum’s career was soon relegated to B-movie lead roles. Chris Mitchum would cap his career off with a bit-part Tombstone, cementing his legacy as a noteworthy Western movie character– albeit one whose career is closely aligned with his Academy Award winning father (who also starred in the film).
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Lucie Arnaz, daughter of Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz, acted opposite each other on I Love Lucy and, later, The Lucille Ball Show. As an adult would star in a string of films, including Billy Jack Goes To Washington and The Jazz Singer (1980), for which she was nominated a Golden Globe. She even briefly had her own short-lived series in the tradition of her mother, entitled The Lucie Arnaz Show. Though she failed to become a breakout star in the same way her parents did, Arnaz did receive an Emmy for her 1993 film Lucy and Desi: A Home Movie, thus embracing her legacy as their child.
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Of John Lennon’s two children, Sean may get the most attention. His intro to the music industry happened at age 5, when he read a story on his mother Yoko Ono’s album Season of Glass. By the time he was 16, Sean was co-writing songs with Lenny Kravitz and, as an adult, released the 1998 hit album Into The Sun. After a hiatus from recording, he released his follow-up, Friendly Fire, in 2006, justifying his absence by saying he didn’t feel like an anonymous solo-artist during the time of his first album. Unfortunately, this absence may have backfired– though everyone still knows him as the son of John Lennon and Yoko Ono, his music seems to have declined into the indie trenches.