We all know that Hollywood has many stars, and some have origin from Greece! Like most of us know the beautiful Greek American Melina Kanakaredes of ‘CSI New York’ that has also starred in movies with Robert Deniro. Moreover, we know the hilarious Hangover star, Zack Galifianakis, who is half Greek, from his dad’s Cretan side. As if the long last name didn’t give it away! We all know John Stamos as a Greek God or Uncle Jesse! He’s half Greek and his late dad, Bill Stamos, was from the mountainous village of Kakouri, in the Southern Peloponesse in Arcadia, Greece. See more on John Stamos
There are many Greek Americans in the film industry that also work behind the camera too! Just watch a movie and pick out the Greek last names in the end credits. Greeks do that at the end of a movie by the way. We decided to choose a small list of celebrities that you probably didn’t know have Greek origin. These celebrities may not speak Greek, but have some trace of blue and white in their bloodline, or booty. Here’s our list of 9 famous Hollywood celebrities you probably didn’t know below:
CSI New York actress, 15 minutes with Robert Deniro, Melina Kanakaredes was born in Akron, Ohio, and is the daughter of candy store owner Connie (née Temo) and insurance salesman Harry Kanakaredes. She is a second-generation Greek-American who is proficient in Greek. Her two maternal uncles own and operate “Temo’s Candy Company” in Akron, a chocolate shop founded by Kanakaredes’ pappou, Christ Temo, at its current location.
TV Host, Entrepreneur, Maria Menounos is an only child and was born to Greek parents Kosta and the late Litsa Menounos in Boston. She has hosted Eurovision Song Contest which was organized in Athens and even had a BIG fat Greek wedding in her dad’s village in Akova, Greece.
Zachary Knight Galifianakis was born in Wilkesboro, North Carolina. Son of Mary Frances and heating oil vendor Harry Galifianakis. His mother is of Scottish-Irish and English descent, while his paternal grandparents were Greek immigrants from the island of Crete. Zaharias was baptized in the Greek Orthodox church. He has two siblings his younger sister Merritt, and an older brother, Greg. His cousin is Washington Post cartoonist Nick Galifianakis, and his uncle, also named Nick Galifianakis, is a politician.
Born Jennifer Joanna Anastasakis, she is known for her famous “Friends” sitcom role as Rachel and star of various big screen Hollywood movies. Jen is half Greek from her dad’s side, John Aniston (Anastasakis), who played Victor Kiriakis on Days of Our Lives. They hail from the beautiful island of Crete. Her Godfather was the late legendary Greek American actor who played “Kojak”, Telly Savalas. Savalas was suave and made the bald shaved head cool in the 70’s. See more on legendary Telly Savalas.
Zach Galifianakis roasts Jennifer Aniston on changing her Greek last name from Anastasakis to Aniston.
Criss Angel is a world class magician well-known in Las Vegas and from his popular TV magic series “MindFreak”. Criss Angel was born Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos, and hails from Mistra, in Sparta! He’s got Spartan blood from his mom. He is returning to Las Vegas after the pandemic shutdown the world for over a year and a half. Criss returns to the stage of magic at Planet Hollywood in Las Vegas, Nevada on July 8, 2021. Criss spoke about his Greek Orthodox Christian upbringing in a Larry King CNN Interview in 2007. Criss in a interview with the late great Larry King said “I am the biggest skeptic out there. But faith is something you either have or you don’t. And believe me, a lot of magicians are atheists. And which is fine, you know, we live in America, which is the greatest country in the world, and people have the right to believe or to not believe or do whatever they want.” He continued,
“I happened to be born into a family that was Greek Orthodox. I went to Sunday school for 11 years, was an altar boy for 10 years.”
Criss is very proud of his Greek heritage. In a video interview with the National Hellenic Society he said :
“Greeks stick together. No matter where you are in the world, when you meet Greeks there’s always this bond and relationship. There’s something about being Greek, and feeling the love and support from Greeks all over the world…I’m so proud of being Greek!” See everything Criss said about being Greek, and his Greek family upbringing in video below:
Hugh Jackman’s great grandfather from his father’s side (Nicholas Bellas) was Greek.
“As an Australian we have so many Greeks living there that I feel like I’m part Greek, and I am actually by blood.”
The son of David Oliver Bass, a US Army serviceman of Welsh origin, and Vassiliki Papadimitriou, a 1957 Miss Greece contestant, Mötley Crüe’s founding member Tommy Lee (Bass) was born in Athens. Tommy’s family moved to West Covina, California one year after he was born, yet he never forgets his roots. He has tweeted support for Greece in 2010 during the economic crisis. In the controversial 2020 American elections, when asked what he would do if Trump was re-elected for four more years, he told The Big Issue:
“Dude, I swear to God if that happens then I’m out of here. I’ll go back to my motherland, go back to Greece and get a house on one of the islands.”
American Singer, Kelly Clarkson is half Greek from her mother’s side and the other half is Irish. Clarkson has said only her bootie is Greek and does not speak any Greek. Not even “kalispera”! See a interview below where she talks about her Greek ancestry.
Did you know that the (well aging) actor famous for his role in the hit classic movie “Karate Kid” is one quarter Greek? Ralph’s father is half Greek and half Italian. His mother is Italian. There are over 80,000 Griko people in Southern Italy. See the Greeks of Italy
The former “The Sopranos” actress speaks Greek and Spanish fluently. Her paternal grandparents were immigrants from Greece and Romania and her mother is from Cuba.
Tina’s full name is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey. The 30 Rock actress has starred in many films and has also hosted and starred on SNL many times! Tina’s mother is born in Greece.
Angie’s father is German and Irish, while her mother is Greek. The Law & Order star has Greek roots from her mother, however, has not publicly spoke much about her Greek heritage.
2 thoughts on “12 Hollywood Celebrities With Greek Roots”
I’m Greek from my Mother as well. That explains my attraction to Angie Harmon and interest in Kelly Clarkson; whom I didn’t know are Greek.
Back in College days, selling books door-to-door in Middletown Ohio. Met some Greeks that used to be our customers in dad’s tavern in the old Country and I was serving them drinks years before! Greeks are everywhere