some like it hot, monroe, curtis

In the last few years, Hungary and Hungarian movies started to be noticed at award shows, internationally as well – Son of Saul was awarded an Oscar in 2016, for instance. It is probably a lesser-known fact, though, that Hungarians had a huge role in how Hollywood came to be and a lot of the most famous Hollywood stars can be proud of having some degree of Hungarian ancestry.

1. Tony Curtis

tony curtis, actor, hungarian
Tony Curtis and wife Janet Leigh

Tony Curtis was born as Bernard Schwartz in 1925 to Hungarian parents who emigrated to New York. His father was born in Mátészalka while his mother was from Slovakia. He became an actor after serving in the military, starring in movies such as Some like it hot, alongside Marilyn Monroe and Jack Lemmon. He was vehemently against smoking, in fact, he helped both Roger Moore and Michael Caine to give up cigarettes.

He was proud of his Hungarian heritage and visited Hungary more than once, often going to Matészalka where his father was from.

He helped to finance the renovation of the synagogue in Dohány Street as well as the synagogue in Mátészalka.

After his autobiography was published, he came to Hungary to a book festival and signed some copies.

2. Mariska Magdolna Hargitay

actress, hungarian

Mariska Magdolna Hargitay was born in 1964 in Santa Monica, though her name is very telling for Hungarians about her ancestry. Her father was a Hungarian-born bodybuilder while her mother was an actress. Hargitay speaks five languages: English, Italian, Spanish, French and Hungarian, too. She became famous starring in Law and Order. About her childhood, she had this to say in an interview:

“As a little girl, I spent every summer home (in Hungary). I went to camp, spent at least a month with my family in Balatonkenese and I often visited Budapest, too.”

3. William Shatner

william shatner, actor

William Shatner is an absolute legend and known to every Star Trek fan as Captain Kirk. He is also a director and producer and very passionate about horses – he owns, breeds, rides and trades with them. All four of his grandparents emigrated to Canada from Central Europe. His paternal grandmother was born in the Austria-Hungary, while his paternal grandfather came from Ukraine. His maternal grandfather was born in Lithuania and his maternal grandmother was possibly from Romania. Shatner was raised in a “fairly Orthodox” Jewish family thanks to his ancestors and he has three children.

4. Kate Hudson

kate hudson, actress

Kate Hudson is the daughter of Goldie Hawn and has a pretty diverse ancestry. She is Hungarian-Jewish on her maternal grandmother’s line but also has Italian and German blood mixed in. Her grandparents escaped from Hungary during the Second World War because of their Jewish descent. Hudson was raised Jewish but practices Buddhism now instead. She starred in movies like Bride Wars, How To Lose a Guy in 10 Days and Almost Famous. Her mother has visited Hungary to learn more about her roots a few years ago.

5. Jon Lovitz

jon lovitz, actor

Jon Lovitz was born in California but his father’s side of the family came from Hungary, Romania and Russia. His maternal grandparents were descendants of Hungarian emigrants, though his maternal grandfather was born in the US already. Lovitz is of Jewish ancestry. He is most known for his appearances on Saturday Night Live but he also starred in lots of movies and TV series, including The Critic, The Wedding Singer, A League of Their Own as well as a few episodes of Friends.

6. Marisol Nichols

actress, hungarian

Marisol Nichols was born in 1973 in Chicago. Her mother is of Mexican origin while her father has Hungarian and Romanian roots, though she revealed in an interview that she had never met him. Her paternal grandparents were Jewish with roots to the Austro-Hungarian Empire, though the family has lived in the US for a few generations now. Nichols became famous starring in the series 24 and, more recently, in the thriller series Riverdale.

For more news, check out this article about famous singers with Hungarian origins.

Featured image:


1 comment
Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.