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Hollywood celebrities with Greek roots

Despite being great in our hearts, with rich history and tradition, Greece is not a big country geographically. However, there are so many Greek people who made it big in Hollywood or other areas and became world-wide famous. It can be a good proof of hard work, perseverance and perhaps good luck. You will be surprised with some of the names on this list and their connection to this beautiful country.

Jennifer Aniston

jennifer aniston on the beach

Jennifer Aniston – this household name, the star of one of the most popular tv shows ever, actress, producer and businesswoman is the daughter of also well-known Greek-born actor John Aniston born Yannis Anstassakis. She was born in the USA but has Greek roots on both her mother and her father’s side. When she was a young girl she used to live in Athens and the island of Crete. However she said she only can speak a little bit of Greek. Her godfather is the famous Telly Savalas.

John Stamos

John Stamos

John Stamos – another name mostly known for a tv show, but this time to a bit older audience – “Full house”. He played the cool uncle Jesse there but little did we know that his father emigrated to the USA and shortened his family name from Stamatopoulos to Stamos. John is extremely proud of his Greek heritage and visits Greece very often. He even named his son after his late father, honoring Greek tradition.

George Michael

George Michael

George Michael – this amazing and talented musician was born in London as Georgios Kyriakos Panayiotou. His father immigrated to England from Cyprus in the ‘50s. George changed his name and after forming the band Wham, he became a worldwide star with uncountable hits. He never spoke Greek despite having lessons as a young boy.

Ariel Winter

Ariel Winter

Ariel Winter – a famous young actress reached fame by staring in a great tv show Modern Family for 11 seasons. She is of Greek origin (her mum is Greek) and Ariel’s Greek name is Elefteria (meaning Freedom). Ariel has a tattoo written in Greek ”Ἡ αγἀπη ρισκἀρει τα πἀντα και δεν ζητἀει τἰποτα”, meaning “Love risks everything and asks for nothing.”.

Betty White

Betty White – this famous actress and comedian was born in 1922 which makes her one of the legends of Hollywood. Her maternal ancestors are of Greek origin so Betty is ¼ Greek and proud of it!



Tina Fey

Tina Fey

Tina Fey – comedian and writer, born as Elizabeth Stamatina Fey to a Greek mother and a Scottish father. Tina is mostly famous for ‘30s rock’ show and she gained worldwide popularity with it. She often attributes her witty sense of humor to her Greek origin. Satire was born in Greece and she uses it nicely in her performances. Bravo, Tina!

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria

Hank Azaria – this popular actor’s parents are both Greek jews from Thessaloniki. He is famous for his voicing of characters in animated sitcoms like The Simpsons but he also had notable roles on ‘Along came Polly’, ‘Night at the museum’, etc.

Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis

Zach Galifianakis – we all know this wonderful actor by his role in the movie “The hangover” but his acting resume is very rich. Although both of his parents are Greeks from Crete. However, he does not speak Greek but he always states how proud he is of his homeland, its tradition and heritage. He once said that he could “run a whole show using only Greek words from the English language dictionary which come from the language of Greek children who try to speak English.”
Zach loves tzatziki and often prepares it. He has been visiting Crete since he was 14 and is depressed every time he has to leave his homeland.

Billy Zane

Billy Zane

Billy Zane – this famous actor’s parents are both Greek, and their original surname is Zanetakos. He was born as Vassilis Zanetakos and was raised in the Greek Orthodox faith. We all know him from blockbuster movies like ‘Titanic’, ‘Back to the future’, tv show ‘Twin Peaks’, and so many others. He always emphasizes his love of Greece and expresses his patriotic feelings while visiting Greece whenever he can. He invested in Greek olive oil business and keeps promoting Greek products in the States.

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson

Kelly Clarkson – this charming and hugely successful musician with an amazing voice is half Greek (her mother’s side). She often says that she considers herself mostly Greek although she doesn’t speak the language. Also, in some of her interviews, she connected her curvy figure with her Greek heritage.

Mena Suvari

Mena Suvari

Mena Suvari – this actress comes from Greek- Estonian family. She is famous for her roles in ‘American beauty’ alongside Kevin Spacey and ‘American pie’.

Maria Menounos

Maria Menounos

Maria Menounos – this entertainment reporter, television personality, professional wrestler, actress, and businesswoman often visits her homeland and she even got married in her dad’s hometown Akovos. Both her parents are from Greece but they immigrated to the USA just before their daughter’s birth. Maria is proud of her homeland and tradition. She speaks Greek and is Greek orthodox.

Tommy Lee

Tommy Lee

Tommy Lee – a well-known musician and founder of a famous glam metal band Motley Crue was born in Greece to a Greek model mother and American soldier father. He loves his homeland and often releases statements praising it and showing his pride. Instead of paraphrasing them, we will share only one of his facebook posts that can illustrate just how much Tommy Lee actually is Greek:

GREECE
Because we are a small, poor country full of people with big hearts
Because we never visit anyone empty-handed
Because there is no way to tell foreigners the word “Kapsoura” to properly (burning desire for someone)
Because there is still something valuable in Greek families
Because we always do, even if at the last moment
Because we were slaves for 400 years, but never take this as an excuse for our current state
Because we are scattered all over the Planet
Because we have the word “filotimo” (Honor for his friend?) In any other language
Because foreigners, if they can not find a word, use one of our
Because we share our problems and bad times with our friends and family and not with psychiatrists
Because Socrates, Plato and Aristotle were Greeks
Because we invented theater
Because we gave birth to democracy
Because we discovered logic
Because we made the start in the science
Because we are proud of our culture, not our war
Because when we started to make the Parthenon, the others still slept in trees
Because we have all these lights, which have made efforts to create peace through war
Because we see a difference between “eros” (in love) and “Agapi” (Love), while we feel both passionately
Because Eros was a Greek God
Because we gave the curse “Freedom or Death”
Because we already woven leash than any other are still attracted to wolf skin
Because “Greeks do not fight like heroes, but heroes fight like Greeks” (Winston Churchill, 1941)
Because we gave our ancient alphabet to the Romans and our Medieval alphabet to the Slavs
Because we are not ashamed to cry
Because we dance when we are sad
Because we work to live, not live to work
Because 97% of the star names are Greek
Because if we ‘brother or cousin “on the road every scream turns
Because our churches are not dark inside full of special lighting
Because our parents do not forget that we exist when we are already 18
Because if we want to get a sun tan, we go to the beach
Because we confront every difficulty with humor
Because the Olympics were born in Greece
As we unite with our Olympic light the world and send the message of peace
Because our sky is blue white
Because 40% of the Oxford dictionary consists of Greek words
Because we know what “Kefi” (joy in the fun?) Means and how to live it.
…..PROUD GREEK SOUL!

If you have a recommendation to add someone on the list, leave is in the comments.

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