There are many ways of becoming famous, but undoubtedly being born into fame is one of the easier options. When you have a celebrity parent, your entire life is chronicled from birth to first check-in at rehab. Naturally, some of these celebrity offspring decide to have their own celebrity careers and some fail miserably, due to complete lack of talent. Then there are others, who not only succeed but manage to make such a name for themselves that you can forget that they started life as just the child of someone else. The ones who make it are talented, even if their talent is in self-promotion, and we celebrate them here in our Top 10 Celebrity Offspring Who are Famous in their Own Right.
10. Kiefer Sutherland
Kiefer is a prime example of someone who has managed to break out of his father’s shadow and succeed on his own. Best known as Jack Bauer from the long-running TV series “24” Kiefer’s career has stretched over 25 years, with his first big role coming in “The Lost Boys” in 1987. But 25 years is nothing compared to the career of his father, the great Donald Sutherland. He started acting in the early 1960s and is still going today, taking on roles such as President Snow in “The Hunger Games”. When you see them together, there is some resemblance, and obviously Kiefer inherited his father’s acting talent too. But don’t dismiss his mother, Shirley Douglas – she has also had an extensive film career, covering everything from “Lolita” to “Barney”. A talented family!
9. Sofia Coppola
Another family who are heavily involved in the movie industry are the Coppolas. But while Francis Ford Coppola directed heavy-going Vietnam films (“Apocalypse Now”) and meaty Mafia trilogies (“The Godfather”), Sofia’s tastes are a little more wistful. Her debut film as Director was “The Virgin Suicides” – a pastel-toned, nostalgic look at the short lives of five sisters in the 70s. Then she captured the neon craziness of Tokyo in “Lost in Translation“, which essentially was about Bill Murray sitting in a hotel room. She has her own distinctive style of directing, and mixed amounts of success, but her father’s hand is never far from her films. At least three of them bear the name “Francis Ford Coppola” in the Executive Producer spot. She’s not quite broken free of her father yet….!
8. Sophie Dahl
Of course, it’s not Sophie’s parents that are the very famous ones (although, as an actor and author respectively, they’re not exactly obscure) but as she was the inspiration for this list I couldn’t leave her out! It was an overheard description of children’s author Roald Dahl as “Sophie’s grandad” that made me think she might have achieved fame of her own, even with that famous surname. For those who don’t know, Sophie Dahl is a model, who first shot to fame because, as a size 16, she was considered plus-size. As such, she was the first “plus-size” model to gain global recognition. Meanwhile, her grandfather wrote some of the most memorable books in the history of children’s literature but apparently no-one remembers that!
7. Anjelica Huston
Like Sofia Coppola, Anjelica Huston comes from an acting dynasty. When she won her Oscar in 1985, she became the third in her family, following both her grandfather Walter Huston and her father John Huston. John Huston was an an actor and director, directing such classics as “The Maltese Falcon”. Although he married five times, he only had children with one of his wives (and a couple of mistresses) and Anjelica was the product of that marriage. They seemed to have had a close relationship, and John directed Anjelica in the film that won her a Best Supporting Actress Oscar (“Prizzi’s Honor”). He also directed his father Walter in “The Treasure of the Sierra Madre”, which won Oscars for both of them – the first time a father-son combination has won. Anjelica, meanwhile, has had a strong and credible career of her own and is a favourite of quirky director Wes Anderson. A remarkable family indeed!
6. Kate Hudson
Another celebrity child that bears a startling resemblance to their parent, Kate Hudson is an actress that has equalled the success of her mother Goldie Hawn. Breaking through in the 2000 film “Almost Famous”, she has gone on to star in comedies like “Bride Wars” and “You, Me and Dupree”. Goldie Hawn, meanwhile, won an Oscar with “Cactus Flower“ in 1969 and made films throughout the 70s and 80s, although her career slowed down in the 90s and her last film was 2002. Kate’s father was also an actor and musician – Bill Hudson – but she was raised by Goldie’s partner Kurt Russell, and she has said that she considers Russell to be her father.
5. Lily Allen
In 2005, the album “Alright, Still” came out – a collection of sweet tunes overlain with lyrics about being broke and getting chatted up by sleazy men in London. The singer was Lily Allen, and what wasn’t immediately obvious was the celebrity connection – Lily was the daughter of Keith Allen, the comedian, actor and presenter who had briefly bothered the charts in the 90s with his “supergroup” Fat Les. As catchy as their signature tune “Vindaloo” was, it was somewhat tuneless and it seems like Lily is the breakout musical talent of the family. Lily also has a brother called Alfie, immortalized in one of the songs from “Alright, Still” where he is portrayed as a layabout who does nothing but sleep and smoke. He is now starting to make a name for himself too, with a role in the epic series “Game of Thrones.”
4. Michael Douglas
If you ever get confused between Michael Douglas and his actor father Kirk, you’re not alone – they get confused too. Kirk was watching one of his movies on TV and struggling to remember filming it, but then he realized it was actually one of his son’s films, not his. Between the two of them, they have racked up an impressive number of films and a clutch of Oscars. Sadly, Michael’s brother Eric wasn’t so successful, and died of an overdose in 2004. But he did mark his place in comedy history during a stand-up gig in London’s Comedy Store – heckled by the audience, he said “You can’t do this to me, I’m Kirk Douglas’s son!” whereupon someone in the audience took inspiration from “Spartacus” and yelled out “No, I’m Kirk Douglas’s son!” You can imagine where it went from there…
3. Liv Tyler
One of the hallmarks of a celebrity child is a teenage rebellion phase – but Liv Tyler struggled to do that. As the daughter of Steve Tyler, lead singer of Aerosmith, and model Bebe Buell she had few rebellious options that her parents weren’t already doing. As she told the press: “What could I do? Run away and smoke a joint, and go to rock concerts for the weekend? That’s all they ever did.” Instead, she concentrated on her film and modelling career, starring teen classic “Empire Records” at the age of 18. It might all have been different if her father had really been, as she believed as a child, Todd Rundgren. Oh, except that he’s a rock star too. Basically, she was always destined to be a celebrity child….but she’s one that has succeeded on her own talent.
2. Stella McCartney
One of the most interesting things about this list is how children’s talents differ to those of their parents. Paul McCartney may have written a mean melody, but he could never be described as a fashion guru, even though he pioneered the “mullet and jumper” look of the mid 70s that many Dads still wear today. In fact, Macca’s one attempt to enter the world of fashion retail ended in disaster, with the Beatles’ Apple Boutique being a haven for shoplifters and a financial joke. So it’s amazing that his daughter Stella has become a major name in design, having her own range as well as designing for fashion houses like Chloe. His other daughter Mary’s talent for photography is less surprising, given that their mother Linda was also a photographer. But it’s safe to say that McCartneys are a multi-talented family.
1. Miley Cyrus
Right now, the former Hannah Montana star is one of the most talked about celebrities in the world. Is it because of her talent? No, sadly not. It’s because her desperate attempt to appear grown-up and credible has led to semi-naked videos and raunchy live performances that brought the word “twerking” into popular usage. It’s not surprising behaviour from a former tween-idol (just look at Britney Spears’ work) but it has shocked the world enough to gain her huge amounts of attention. So much so that her famous Dad, musician Billy Ray Cyrus, has been reduced to a mere footnote in the Miley Cyrus story. His debut album “Some Gave All” may have spent 17 weeks at number 1 and reached 9 time platinum status, but did he ever strip to almost naked and shake his bottom at random men? No. And so the sad fact is that the most famous celebrity offspring right now is the one who’s talent seems to be solely for self-promotion and cheap shock value.