Here Are The 25 Most Important Hollywood Families In History

Many people say that the passion for art runs in your DNA, and this seems to explain why there are so many successful and talented families in Hollywood! There are countless cases of famous parents who introduced their children to the acting world, as well as talented directors or producers who helped their loved ones take their first steps into acting. From the Coppolas to the Smiths, here are the 25 most important families in Hollywood history. You won’t believe #22, #18 and #7

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#25. The Coppolas

We can’t imagine the 70s in Hollywood without the contribution of the American-Italian director Francis Ford Coppola. His style definitely left a mark in the film industry, thanks to movies like The Godfather, The Conversation and Apocalypse Now. But talent seems to run through the Coppola’s veins, and here’s why.

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In 1969, Coppola and George Lucas founded Zoetrope studio, and guess what? Nearly 3 decades later, the studio produced The Virgin Suicides, the debut film of Coppola’s daughter, Sofia Coppola, as a director. Ever since her directorial debut, Sofia’s career has taken off and she won her first Oscar for her second film Lost In Translation. Coppola’s son, Roman Coppola, received an Oscar nomination for Best Script for Moonrise Kingdom. Apart from that, his other son, Gian Carlo Coppola, produced Palo Alto, which stars Coppola’s granddaughter, Gia Coppola.

#24. The Warner Brothers

Can you believe that the story behind one of the most important Hollywood studios began with a dog? In 1923, the Warner brothers, Harry, Albert, Sam and Jack decided to team up and create a film studio. They weren’t sure which project to invest their money in until they found a trained German Shepherd called Rin Tin Tin.

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As crazy as it sounds, this dog saved the Warner Brothers from bankruptcy, since the movie he starred in, Where the North Begins, was a whopping success. A few years later, the Warner Bros were the first ones to take the risk and produce The Jazz Singer, the world’s first talkie film. Thanks to these brothers’ audacity, their studio is still considered as one of the 8 best ones in Hollywood, even to this day. Some of their most remarkable films include Casablanca, A Streetcar Named Desire, My Fairy Lady and Bonnie And Clyde

#23. The Marx Brothers

The Warners weren’t the only famous group of brothers to make a name for themselves in the film industry. Groucho, Chico, Harpo, Zeppo, and Gummo, also known as the Marx Brothers, became one of the most important Hollywood families ever. But while everyone is familiar with their greatest films, what people don’t know is that they took their first steps in the entertainment business after starring in a few Broadway shows.

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After Broadway, the Marx brothers went on to conquer Hollywood and they worked in their first talkie movies with Paramount. They are still considered the classiest comedians of all time as they were part of movies like Monkey Bussiness, Horse Feathers, and Duck SoupEven today, they’re considered an influence on many new comedians.

#22. The Barrymores

The incredible story of the Barrymores goes back to 1874 when Maurice Barrymore came from England to the Big Apple to make his debut in Broadway alongside actress Georgiana Drew. The couple got married in 1976 and together they had three children, Lionel, Ethel, and John Barrymore, the three of whom pursued a career in acting.

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Lionel was part of movies like Casablanca and It’s A Wonderful Life, while Ethel had a successful career in theater and co-founded the Actor’s Equity Association. Finally, John starred in films like Dr. Jekyll And Mr. Hyde, Sherlock Holmes, and Don Juan. But this is not all! John’s son, John Drew Barrymore, is a talented actor too and father of the famous and talented actress Drew Barrymore. It seems that the talent in this family never ends!

#21. The Fondas

Another important and gifted Hollywood family is definitely the Fondas. The father of the family, Henry Fonda, made his acting debut in 1935. After that, he appeared in more than 100 films, including great classics like The Grapes Of Wrath and My Darling ClementineHe’s considered one of the greatest icons of Hollywood’s Golden Age, and his daughter, Jane Fonda, has nothing to envy him.

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Jane made a name of herself thanks to her brilliant performances in Barefoot In The Park, Klute, Coming Home, and Barbarella, among others. Jane and Henry co-starred in the 1981 drama film On Golden Pond, where he received his first Academy Award for Best Actor. Jane’s brother, Peter, was in the film industry too and became a true counterculture icon during the 60s. Nowadays, Peter’s daughter, Bridget Fonda, and Jane’s son, Troy Garity, continue with the family’s legacy and have taken on different roles in famous films.

#20. The Murdochs

Some people reached worldwide fame after taking incredible risks, and this is the case of Rupert Murdoch, the actual president of 21st Century Fox. Murdoch was a leading figure in broadcast media in Australia, but in 1985 he chose to move to the US and buy 20th Century Fox.

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During the mid-80s, the company was near bankruptcy, but nothing was impossible for Murdoch, who managed to get the studios back on track. In the mid-2000s, he decided to take risks and bet on independent films like Little Miss Sunshine, which to everyone’s surprise were a great success. Nowadays, the company is known as 21st Century Fox and Murdoch’s son, Lachlan Murdoch is one of its co-executives and Lachlan’s son, James Murdoch, is one of the CEOs.

#19. Dore Schary And Jeremy Zimmer

Jeremy Zimmer and Dore Schary are grandson and grandfather, and I’m sure they both ring a bell. Both of them have been part of the film industry, though they belong to different generations and have dedicated themselves to different fields. Schary was the president of MGM during 1940-1950 and was also a talented screenwriter and actor. So much so, that he was part of more than 300 films, including An American In Paris, Seven Brides For Seven Brothers, and Boys Town

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Zimmer, in turn, began his career at the age of 19 when his grandfather gave him a job opportunity in the William Morris Agency mailroom. In the 90s, Zimmer co-founded the United Talent Agency, one of Hollywood’s most important talent agencies, and is currently one of the company’s CEOs.

#18. The Garland-Minnellis

Vincente Minelli was one of the most famous film directors during the 30s and 40s, and believe it or not, he directed his most memorable films when he was in his early 20s. His greatest directorial works include Gigi, An American In Paris, The Band Wagon, and Meet Me In St. LouisOn the St. Louis set he met his future wife, actress Judy Garland, who you probably know for her role as Dorothy in The Wizard Of Oz

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The couple soon got married and in 1946 they had their only daughter, Liza Minelli. Liza became a talented actress too, making her first appearance at the age of 3 starring with her mother in The Good Old Summertime. Several decades later, Liza won an Oscar for her role in Cabaret. She has also won an Emmy, a Grammy, and four Tony Awards.

#17. Douglas Fairbanks And Mary Pickford

Sometimes, a shared passion is the perfect ingredient for a prosperous marriage, and such was the case with Douglas Fairbanks and Mary Pickford. Fairbanks is considered “The King Of Hollywood” for his performances in silent films like The Mask Of Zorro, The Thief Of Bagdad, and Robbin HoodIn the 20s, he met actress Mary Pickford, and that’s when the magic began.

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The couple founded United Artists in 1919 together with Charlie Chaplin and D.W. Griffith, the first organization that represented and defended the interests of actors. Also, the couple was part of the 36 founding members of the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences.

#16. The Smiths

Without a doubt, Will Smith is one of the most famous actors in Hollywood. He began his acting career in sitcoms and blockbuster films in the 90s. Ever since the early 2000s, most of the films he’s worked in have earned more than $100 million worldwide. But what about his family?

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In 1997, Smith married the actress Jada Pinkett, who has been in more than 30 films, including Girls Trip. The couple had two children: Jade and Willow Smith, both of whom started their careers in the company of their parents. Jade’s debut film was The Karate Kid and Willow’s debut single was Whip My Hair. Both of them have shown they are talented as their parents but with their own unique style.

#15. The Houstons

Walter Hudson was known for being one of the first actors in talkie films and he has appeared in more than 50 movies. Huston’s son, John Huston became a director and in 1948 and they worked side by side in the classic film The Treasure Of the Sierra Madre. This film earned Walter and John their first Academy Award: the former for Best Supporting Actor, and the latter for Best Director. After that, John directed many other classics, such as The Maltese Falcon, The African Queen, and The Misfits

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In 1985, he directed the movie Prizzi’s Honor in wich his daughter, Anjelica, won an Oscar. Also, Anjelica’s half brother Danny Huston has worked in films by Martin Scorsese, Sofia Coppola, and Tim Burton. Danny’s brother, Jack has been part of the industry too; you probably know him for his role in The Dead

#14. The Fisher – Reynolds

Eddie Fisher was a famous musician and actor when he married actress Debbie Reynolds in 1955. Fisher was in the peak of his career when he married Reynolds, while the actress had recently been part of the classic comedy-musical Singin’ In The RainThe couple didn’t last long because they broke up in 1959, and several years later, Fisher married actress Elizabeth Taylor.

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The couple had two children: Carrie and Todd Fisher. Carrie started her acting career at the age of 18 in Shampoo but her most remarkable role was as Princess Leia in the Star Wars series. Todd, in turn, is a producer and a cinematographer.

#13. The Zuckers

If you love comedies, I’m completely sure you’ve watched one of the “ZAZ” trio movies. Brothers David and Jerry Zucker made their first steps in the sketch comedy field, but they soon teamed up with their childhood friend Jim Abrahams and started working together on their first films. Their first film, The Kentucky Fried Movie, was a whopping success and is currently regarded as a cult film.

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In 1980 ZAZ directed Airplane! and a few years later they were part of the Naked Gun series. David Zucker also starred in comedy films like BASEketball, Scary Movie 3, My Boss’s Daughter and Scary Movie 4On the other hand, Jerry directed drama movies like Ghost and First Knight

#12. The Bergman – Rosellinis

Is there any doubt that Roberto Rossellini is one of the greatest directors ever? His work influenced many talented directors, such as Francois Truffaut, Jean-Luc Godard or Martin Scorsese. But during the 50s, the Italian director and the Award-winning Swedish actress Ingrid Bergman fell in love while working together in the 1950 film Stromboli.

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Bergman was already a famous actress by then, mainly because of her roles in Casablanca and Notorious. Their romance became the talk of the town, as when they met, they were both in a relationship. A few years later, they had their first child, Renato, and Bergman decided to retire from the screen for a while. Nowadays, their daughter Isabella Rossellini is a consecrated actress that has been in more than 80 films.

#11. The Baldwins

If you hear the name Baldwin, American actor Alec Baldwin is probably the first one who you’ll think of. However, all Baldwin brothers have made a name of themselves in Hollywood. Alec is the eldest of the four and has won many awards, including Emmys, Golden Globes and SAG Awards. Do you know which movies each of them has acted in?

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Daniel, William, and Stephen were cast by director Oliver Stone for the 1989 movie Born On The Fourth Of July, and ever since then, the three have been working in movies of different genres. Nowadays, the Baldwin brothers are helping their daughters take their first steps in the acting world. For instance, Alec’s daughter Ireland, Stephen’s daughters Hailey and Alaia, and William’s daughter Jameson have all landed on minor roles in films.

#10. The Newmans

The Newman brothers, Alfred, Lionel, and Emil, are the perfect example of the American dream. Their parents were Russian immigrants and they had to work very hard to leave their mark in Hollywood. Nowadays, they’re considered one of the best composers and conductors of Hollywood’s classic era.

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Alfred has rocked the Academy Awards as he has won 9 Oscars. Lionel, in turn, has won one Oscar, while Emil has been part of more than 15 films. The family legacy continued with Alfred’s two sons, Thomas and David. Both of them have worked as film composers and they’ve both received a few Oscar nominations!

#9. The Zanucks

If we think about Hollywood’s most successful families, I’m sure that the Zanucks will be one of the first to come to our mind. Darryl F. Zanuck started his career as a scriptwriter at Warner Bros in the 1920s. In 1933, he co-founded 20th Century Picture, which became one of the most important independent studios in Hollywood.

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Zanuck’s son, Richard D. started to work in the family businesses alongside his father and brought a breath of fresh air to the company and produced films like Planet Of The Apes and The Sound Of MusicIn 1972, Richard decided to abandon the studio and form his own company, Universal Pictures, which produced some of Steven Spielberg’s and Tim Burton’s most successful films. Nowadays, Richard’s son works in the Zanuck Company too.

#8. The Redgraves

Out of all the powerful families included in this list, the Redgraves are definitely among the oldest, as they have ruled the film industry for 4 generations in a row. Let’s start with Roy Redgrave, one of the greatest stars during the silent film era, and his son, Michael, who worked in theater and was nominated in 1947 for Mourning Becomes Electra

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The family’s third generation of actors is well known too. In fact, Michael’s daughter, Vanessa Redgrave, won an Oscar for Julia (1977), apart from an Emmy, Tony, BAFTA and a Golden Globe. Vanessa’s children, Natasha Richardson and Joely Richardson, also continue with the acting legacy of the family. Last but not least, Michael’s son, Corin, is also a talented actor, and his children, Lynn and Jemma Redgrave, are following his path.

#7. The Beatty – MacLaine – Benings

Warren Beatty and Shirley MacLaine were the first couples of brothers and sisters to leave a mark in Hollywood. MacLaine was nominated for an Academy Award six times and most memorable works include The Apartment, Being There, and Terms Of Endearment

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Beatty, in turn, received Academy Award nominations for his acting, directorial, and scriptwriting work in Heaven Can Wait and Reds. In fact, he’s the only actor that has reached those 3 nominations for the same film! In 1992, Beatty married the actress Annette Bening, another talented Oscar-nominated actress.

#6. The Wayans

If you’re a comedy fan, then I’m sure you’ve watched at least one of the movies starred by one of the Wayans brothers. The family is famous around the world because of the hilarious characters they’ve played. The first generation includes Keenan, Damon, Kim, Shawn, Marlon, Dwayne, Nadie, Elvira, Diedre, and Vonnie. All of them have been part of the industry, either as producers, directors, writers or actors.

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Damon and Keenan were part of the 1990s sketch-comedy TV series Living Color. Apart from that, Keenan was the producer of the Scary Movie franchise since 2000. Nowadays, the new generation of Wayans includes some very good actors, like Damon’s son Damon Wayans Jr., who has been part of the comedy film Dance Flick and the TV series New Girl and Happy Endings. 

#5. The Douglases

Our list would be incomplete without the Douglas family. The father of the family, Kirk Douglas started his career in the 1950s and became a Western and war movie star. He also founded his own studio, Bryna Productions in 1955 and worked with talented directors like Stanley Kubrick. Kirk also bought the rights of One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and gave them to his son, Michael. That year, the film won the Academy Awards for Best Picture and Best Director, among others.

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Michael’s career talks for itself, he has won Oscars, Golden Globes, Emmys and SAG Awards. In 1985, Michael and his brother, Joel, produced The Jewel Of The Nile and Romancing The StoneIn 2003, the whole family decided to appear in the film It Runs In The Family, including Kirk, Kirk’s wife Diana, Michael, and Michael’s son Cameron.

#4. The Redstones

The story of the Redstones in Hollywood started when Michael Redstone founded the theater company National Amusements Inc. in 1936. Michael’s son Summer Redstone soon became the company’s chairman and C.E.O. The company is considered one of the biggest media conglomerates in the world, as it includes CBS Corporation, Viacom, Paramount Pictures and BET.

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Summer has continued with his father’s legacy and their company has been an important part of the industry to this day. Summer’s children, Brent and Shari, have been part of the company too. While Brent sold his shares of the company in 2007, Shari still controls nearly 20% of the company and is the President of National Amusements.

#3. The Kardashians

Before Kriss Jenner, Kim, Kourtney, Khloe, and Rob became the faces of the Kardashian Empire, the father of the family, Robert Kardashian earned fame for being one of the lawyers of O.J. Simpson in the famous 1995 trial. Robert passed away in 2003 and ever since then, the women of the family invented a whole new form of celebrity.

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It’s safe to say that the Kardashians have invented a new way of using social media and getting public attention. Nowadays, it’s impossible to imagine Hollywood without them. Kriss Jenner married Bruce Jenner and had two daughters, Kylie and Kendall, who became part of the clan too. In addition, Bruce Jenner is actually Caitlyn Jenner, after he became a trans woman. Everything that happens in this family is a novelty!

#2. David O. Selznick And Louis B. Mayer

Growing up with a father like Lewis Selznick, the silent film producer, must have been very inspiring for David O. Selznick. David grew up to become a star during the talkie film era in the 1930s. In that same decade, he married Louis B. Mayer’s daughter, Irene, and they became one of the most famous couples in the history of Hollywood.

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Selznick worked with his father-in-law in MGM, where he served as vice president, and then went on to lead his own production studio. In 1927, Mayer united 36 founders to create the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. In 1935, with the help of Mayer, Selznick founded Selnick Internation Pictures, which produced films like A Star Is Born, Rebecca, and Gone With The Wind

#1. The Sheen – Estevezes

Martin Sheen became an inspiration to his four children, Charlie Sheen, Emilio Estevez, Ramon Estevez, and Renee Estevez. All of them followed his steps and conquered the acting world. Martin’s most remarkable performances include films like Badlands, Apocalypse Now and The West Wing. 

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Emilio was a member of the Brat Pack in the 80s and was part of the Mighty Ducks franchise, but nowadays he works as a director. As to Charlie, his performances in Wall Street and the Hot Shots! franchise put him the A-list. Also, he was part of the CBS show Two And A Half Men for more than 10 years earning $1.8 million per episode.

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