Who Knew! Surprising Irish American Celebrities

by urbanemovies | created - 15 Mar 2016 | updated - 17 Mar 2017 | Public

Which favorite Irish-American celebrity, who you may or may not have known was of Irish descent is the most surprising to you?

Cast your vote here or Discuss the topic here.

1. Robert De Niro

Actor | Raging Bull

One of the greatest actors of all time, Robert De Niro was born on August 17, 1943 in Manhattan, New York City, to artists Virginia (Admiral) and Robert De Niro Sr. His paternal grandfather was of Italian descent, and his other ancestry is Irish, English, Dutch, German, and French. He was trained ...

2. Julia Stiles

Actress | 10 Things I Hate About You

Julia O'Hara Stiles was born on March 28, 1981 in New York City, the outgoing daughter of a Greenwich Village artist mother, Judith Newcomb Stiles, and an elementary school teacher father, John O'Hara. She is the eldest of three children, and has Irish, English, and German ancestry. Encouraged to ...

3. Barack Obama

Producer | The Fifth Risk

U.S. President Barack Hussein Obama II was born in Honolulu, Hawaii. His mother, Stanley Ann Dunham, was a white American from Wichita, Kansas. His father, Barack Obama Sr., who was black, was from Alego, Kenya. They were both young college students at the University of Hawaii. When his father left...

4. Christina Aguilera

Soundtrack | The Voice (USA)

Christina Maria Aguilera was born on December 18, 1980 in Staten Island, New York City to Shelly Loraine Kearns (born: Shelly Loraine Fidler), a musician & Fausto Wagner Xavier Aguilera Monge, a U.S. army sergeant. Her father is Ecuadorian and her mother, who is American-born, has English, ...

5. John Travolta

Actor | Pulp Fiction

John Joseph Travolta was born in Englewood, New Jersey, one of six children of Helen Travolta (née Helen Cecilia Burke) and Salvatore/Samuel J. Travolta. His father was of Italian descent and his mother was of Irish ancestry. His father owned a tire repair shop called Travolta Tires in Hillsdale, ...

6. Zooey Deschanel

Actress | New Girl

Zooey Deschanel was born in 1980 into a showbiz family. Her father, Caleb Deschanel, is an Academy Award-nominated cinematographer (perhaps most notably for The Passion of the Christ (2004)) and her mother, Mary Jo Deschanel (née Weir), is an actress who appeared in Twin Peaks (1990). Her paternal ...

7. Rosario Dawson

Actress | Rent

This stunning and resourceful actress has been primarily a film player thus far. Only recently has she been opening herself up more to doing television (the series Gemini Division (2008), which she executive-produced), and animated voice-overs. Dawson's powerhouse talent stands out the most in edgy...

8. Mel Gibson

Actor | Braveheart

Mel Columcille Gerard Gibson was born January 3, 1956 in Peekskill, New York, USA, as the sixth of eleven children of Hutton Gibson, a railroad brakeman, and Anne Patricia (Reilly) Gibson (who died in December of 1990). His mother was Irish, from County Longford, while his American-born father is ...

9. Cameron Diaz

Actress | There's Something About Mary

A tall, strikingly attractive blue-eyed natural blonde, Cameron Diaz was born in 1972 in San Diego, the daughter of a Cuban-American father and a German mother. Self described as "adventurous, independent and a tough kid," Cameron left home at 16 and for the next 5 years lived in such varied ...

10. Katherine Heigl

Actress | One for the Money

Katherine Marie Heigl was born on November 24, 1978 in Washington, D.C., to Nancy Heigl (née Engelhardt), a personnel manager, and Paul Heigl, an accountant and executive. Her father is of German/Swiss-German and Irish descent, and her mother is of German ancestry. A short time after her birth, the...

11. Mischa Barton

Actress | The O.C.

Born in London and raised in New York. From humble beginnings in New York Theater in 1994 where she trained with such esteemed director/writers as James Lapine ("Twelve Dreams" at Lincoln Center with Donna Murphy), Tony Kushner ("Slavs!" at New York Theater Workshop with Marisa Tomei), and Naomi ...

12. Maggie Q

Actress | Divergent

Margaret Denise Quigley was born in Honolulu, Hawaii, to a father of Polish and Irish descent (originally based in New York) and a Vietnamese mother. Her parents met during the Vietnam War. Maggie has two older half-siblings from her mother's previous marriage, and two older sisters. The family ...

13. Ellen Pompeo

Actress | Grey's Anatomy

Ellen Kathleen Pompeo was born in Everett, Massachusetts, to Kathleen B. (O'Keefe) and Joseph E. Pompeo, a salesman. She is of Italian (from her paternal grandfather), Irish, and some English, ancestry.

Pompeo made her major studio screen debut in Brad Silberling's Moonlight Mile (2002), starring ...

14. Vanessa Hudgens

Actress | High School Musical 3: Senior Year

Vanessa Anne Hudgens was born in Salinas, California. Her family moved to San Diego, California, while she was still a toddler. She has a younger sister, Stella Hudgens, who is also an actress. Her mother, Gina Hudgens (née Guangco), an office worker, is from the Philippines. Her father, Greg ...

15. Halle Berry

Actress | Catwoman

Halle Berry was born in Cleveland, Ohio. Her father, Jerome Jesse Berry, was African-American, and worked as a hospital attendant. Her mother, Judith Ann (Hawkins), who is Caucasian, has English and German ancestry, and is a retired psychiatric nurse. Halle has an older sister, Heidi Berry. Halle ...

16. Sofia Coppola

Director | Lost in Translation

Sofia Coppola was born on May 14, 1971 in New York City, New York, USA as Sofia Carmina Coppola. She is a director, known for Somewhere (2010), Lost in Translation (2003) and Marie Antoinette (2006). She has been married to Thomas Mars since August 27, 2011. They have two children. She was ...

17. Demi Lovato

Soundtrack | Camp Rock

Born in 1992 in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Demi Lovato started out as a child actor on Barney & Friends. In 2007, Demi Lovato got a part on a short Disney Channel show called As the Bell Rings, and then she landed the starring role of the movie Camp Rock. While filming Camp Rock, Demi Lovato began ...

18. Owen Wilson

Actor | The Royal Tenenbaums

Self-proclaimed troublemaker Owen Cunningham Wilson was born in Dallas, to Irish-American parents originally from Massachusetts. He grew up in Texas with his mother, Laura (Cunningham), a photographer; his father, Robert Andrew Wilson, an ad exec; and his brothers, Andrew Wilson (the eldest) and ...

19. Zachary Quinto

Actor | Star Trek

Zachary Quinto was born in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, to Margaret J. (McArdle), an Irish-American office worker, and Joseph John Quinto, an Italian-American barber. Zachary graduated from Central Catholic High School in Pittsburgh, with the class of 1995, where he won Pittsburgh's Gene Kelly Award ...

20. Steve Buscemi

Actor | Fargo

Steve Buscemi was born in Brooklyn, New York, to Dorothy (Wilson), a restaurant hostess, and John Buscemi, a sanitation worker. He is of Italian (father) and English, Dutch, and Irish (mother) descent. He became interested in acting during his last year of high school. After graduating, he moved to...

21. Justin Timberlake

Soundtrack | Trolls

Justin Randall Timberlake was born on January 31, 1981, in Memphis, Tennessee, to Lynn (Bomar) and Randall Timberlake, whose own father was a Baptist minister. At the age of 11, he appeared on the show Star Search (1983), and even though he didn't win, it didn't dampen his ambitions. He also ...

22. Amanda Bynes

Actress | Hairspray

Amanda Laura Bynes was born on April 3, 1986, in Thousand Oaks, California, the youngest of three children of Lynn (Organ), a dental assistant, and Richard Bynes, a dentist. Her father is of Lithuanian, Irish, and Polish descent, and her mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family from Toronto. ...

23. Emilio Estevez

Actor | The Way

Emilio Estevez was born on May 12, 1962, in New York City. He is the eldest son of actor Martin Sheen, who at the time was just breaking into the business. His mother, Janet Sheen (née Templeton), was a former New York art student who had met Emilio's father right after he had moved to Manhattan. ...

24. Alfred Hitchcock

Director | Psycho

Alfred Joseph Hitchcock was born in Leytonstone, Essex, England. He was the son of Emma Jane (Whelan; 1863 - 1942) and East End greengrocer William Hitchcock (1862 - 1914). His parents were both of half English and half Irish ancestry. He had two older siblings, William Hitchcock (born 1890) and ...

25. Jennifer Beals

Actress | Flashdance

Jennifer Beals was born in December 1963 in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in the city. With a life-long desire for acting, Beals first appeared in small high school plays and even got an uncredited bit part in My Bodyguard (1980) in 1980. After graduation, she enrolled in college at Yale University...

26. Beyoncé

Soundtrack | Dreamgirls

Beyoncé was born & raised in Houston, Texas. Her mom, Tina Lawson designs their glittering costumes & her dad, Mathew Knowles manages Destiny's Child. Solange, her sister (they're 4 years apart) has released her debut album. She dances with her big sister during DC-3 concerts. Beyoncé's of ...

27. Alicia Keys

Soundtrack | The Secret Life of Bees

Alicia Keys was born in Hell's Kitchen, Manhattan, to Teresa (Augello), a paralegal who was also an occasional actress, and Craig Cook, a flight attendant. Her father is African-American, and her mother, who is caucasian, is of Italian and English/Irish/Scottish ancestry. Alicia began taking piano ...

28. Mariah Carey

Actress | Precious

Mariah was born on March 27, 1970 in Huntington, Long Island, New York to Patricia Carey (born: Patricia Hickey), an opera singer and vocal coach & Alfred Roy Carey, an aeronautical engineer. Her mother is of Irish descent, and her father was of African & Venezuelan descent. Mariah attended ...

29. Janeane Garofalo

Actress | Ratatouille

Janeane, the petite woman with the acerbic wit, was born in Newton, New Jersey, in 1964, to Joan, a secretary, and Carmine Garofalo, an Exxon executive. She is of Italian and Irish descent. Janeane had many jobs before breaking into show biz. She worked as a bike messenger, a shoe salesperson, ...

30. Britney Spears

Soundtrack | Crossroads

Britney Jean Spears was born in McComb, Mississippi and raised in Kentwood, Louisiana to Jamie Spears and Lynne Spears. As a child, Britney attended dance classes, and she was great at gymnastics, winning many competitions and the like. But, most of all, Britney loved to sing. At age 8, Britney ...

31. Pink

Actress | Thanks for Sharing

Pink was born Alecia Beth Moore in Doylestown, Pennsylvania, and was later raised in Philadelphia. Her parents, Judith Moore (née Kugel), a nurse, and Jim Moore, a Vietnam veteran, divorced when she was very young. Her mother is from an Ashkenazi Jewish family, while her father has Irish, German, ...

32. Muhammad Ali

Actor | The Greatest

Muhammad Ali beat more champions and top contenders than any heavyweight champion in history. He defeated heavyweight kings Sonny Liston (twice), Floyd Patterson (twice), Ernie Terrell, Jimmy Ellis, Ken Norton (twice), Joe Frazier (twice), George Foreman and Leon Spinks. He defeated ...

33. Jacqueline Kennedy

Self | A Tour of the White House

Jacqueline Lee Bouvier was born on July 28, 1929 in Southampton, New York, to Janet Norton (Lee) and John Vernou "Blackjack" Bouvier III, a stockbroker. Her sister Caroline Lee (aka Lee Radziwill) was born four years after her. Her mother was of Irish descent and her father had French, English, ...

34. Jerry Garcia

Soundtrack | Great Expectations

One of the most prolific and iconic guitarists of the second half of the 20th Century, Jerome John Garcia was born in San Francisco, California, USA on August 1st 1942. Garcia, whose mother was a registered nurse and whose father, Jose, was a small time jazz musician, had a troubled childhood. At ...



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