Best of the Hollywood Dynasties

If you’re stuck going into the family business, Hollywood ain’t half bad. And whether the talent runs in the family or not, if you come from show biz royalty you’re basically destined to eventually end up in the industry one way or another. Let’s take a look at some the best Hollywood dynasties.


Francis Ford Coppola is the head of this movie mob, though his father was a famous composer in his own right and his mother an actress. Francis got the ball rolling by establishing himself as a legend in the early ’70s with films like American Graffiti and The Godfather. After realizing she wasn’t an actress, his daughter Sofia switched to directing where she’s made her mark with a distinctive dreamy style with films like Lost in Translation and The Virgin Suicides.

The rest of the Coppolas took a cue from Francis as his sis Talia Shire made her own acting splash and is most memorable to me as Adrian in the Rocky films. She was also nice enough to gift the world Jason Schwartzman. And let’s not forget musician Robert Schwartzman’s attempt at acting in The Princess Diaries.  Roman Coppola is not only a director but also a screenwriter who collaborates frequently with Wes Anderson. Up and coming in the Coppola Hollywood clan is Gia who just made her directorial debut. And let us not forget the Coppola dynasty’s greatest gift of all:

Nicolas Cage.

And the wine. That family makes so much wine.


The most recent incarnation of the Barrymore acting generation is the beloved Drew, but this family goes way back. This dynasty goes back to the silent age with her grandfather John Barrymore, though he made it into the talkies starring alongside greats like Greta Garbo. Though he was basically talked into the Hollywood scene by his famed actor brother, Lionel. Sister Ethel was also a power player, winning an Oscar for herself in the ’40s and was supposedly proposed to by Winston Churchill! Drew’s father, John Drew Barrymore also got into the game earning a Hollywood star for his contributions to television. Drew needs no explanation and has established herself as a celeb in her own right. Though it probably doesn’t hurt that her godfather is Steven Spielberg and her godmother is Sophia Loren.


Not all Hollywood dynasties are as old as the business itself, however. There are new dynasties cropping up all the time. Take the Smiths. Will Smith and wife Jada Pinkett-Smith are aiming to get into the Hollywood royalty game with kids Willow and Jaden. Let us not forget Will has one other child from a previous marriage, Trey. Will and Jada both come from decidedly non-Hollywood backgrounds, but they’re not letting that stop them. Will, as we all obviously know, was a rapper and used Fresh Prince as a springboard into an amazing film career, while Jada started with several guest spots on TV eventually making her way to film. Willow is a child fashion icon and musician, while Jaden has his own fashion line and has kicked off his acting career with several starring roles. These kids have also somehow becoming tabloid fixtures before they’re even into and out of their teens, so I’m sure there’s plenty more to come from this crew.


This dynasty spans four generations, starting with the illustrious Sir Michael Redgrave. He gave us Vanessa who’s won an Oscar, Emmy, Tony, Golden Globe, and Olivier just to name a few. The force was strong in Sir Michael as he also gave us Golden Globe-winning, Oscar nominated Lynn. Then there was Vanessa’s daughter the beloved and wonderful Natasha Richardson who will always be my favorite because of The Parent Trap. Vanessa’s other daughter Joely Richardson has a booming TV and film career. Continuing the tradition is the latest generation of the family, Daisy Bevan who at 22 has already started appearing on stage and screen. Her father, Tim Bevan, is founder of Working Title Films so I’m sure she won’t be wanting for work in her burgeoning career.


While not as lengthy as some of other dynasties, Debbie Reynolds is a queen and so she is included. And her daughter was freakin’ Pricess Leia. Actual space royalty. Debbie came from humble beginnings and eventually became a mega-star. She married Eddie Fisher only to have him stolen away by Elizabeth Taylor. But before that could happen, Debbie gave us Carrie Fisher. Carrie also has a couple half-sisters who got into acting, but really everything pales in comparison to Pricess Leia. Everything. Sure, sure Carrie has appeared in dozens of other films has written books and has had a generally crazy life. But, Princess. Leia.

Who’s your favorite famous family? Any of the above? Perhaps you’re a Fonda dynasty admirer? Or the Sheens are your cup of tea? Maybe the Hustons really cut your mustard? The Garland/Minelli group float your boat? Zooey and sister Emily? Discuss!

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