Having a successful sibling can be both a curse and a blessing. Living under the shadow of a brother or sister that is wildly successful can cause someone to feel insignificant, and inferior to their big shot sibling. It can hurt, and it can drag someone down. On the other hand it can drive a person to try harder, and to pull themselves out of the shadow to make a name for themselves. Siblings also have the power to support one another by serving as role models, while also sharing their knowledge and connections with siblings who are on a similar path.
Many younger siblings find themselves joining their big brother or sister in celebrity limelight. Sometimes they pair up, creating a popular family team like the Jonas Brothers. Other times, an entire family, like the Sheens, may follow in the same career path. The connections that one sibling makes in their journey to celebrity status are often the key for those who follow in their footsteps, though we can not deny that many of them are talented themselves.
What we often don’t recognize is that it isn’t just acting talent that may run in families, but genius itself. Whether it is nature or nurture, we can’t say, but these celebrity brothers and sisters show that success really does run in the family.
10. Gesine Bullock-Prado
With the acclaimed Gravity star, Sandra Bullock, as her older sister, Gesine Bullock-Prado attempted to follow in the footsteps of her sister, to an extent. Gesine started her career co-founding Fortis Films as the vice president and law expert with her big sister and father. However film and law apparently weren’t her passions, as Gesine left Fortis Film after nine years to pursue a different career, as a baker.
As a baker, Gesine runs her own farm in Vermont, using her own ingredients for her delicious creations. She has published a memoir, My Life from Scratch: Confections of a Closet Master Baker, and three cookbooks. Gesine and her recipes have also been featured in The Today Show, Fox and Friends, ABC’s The Revolution, Rachael Ray Show, Food Network, Better Homes & Gardens, Ladies Home Journal, In Style, Elle Decor, Shape Magazine, Modern Baking and People Magazine.
9. Jerome Garfunkel
Sharing Art Garfunkel’s crazy hairdo and determination is about all Jerome Garfunkel shares with his musical older brother.. When it comes to Information Technology, Jerome is a much sought after expert, lauded for his expertise in international computer standards and programming languages. Known as Mr. Cobol, Garfunkel is considered one of the leading experts of the programming language, COBOL.
Among the many institutions that Garfunkel has represented, he has served as a senior technical advisor to the US Department of Commerce and the US Department of Interior. When people were panicking over the crisis of Y2K, Garfunkel’s in-depth knowledge of COBOL pushed him to be one of the leading figures in unveiling the crisis and finding a solution for it.
Garfunkel isn’t content to sit in front of a computer. He also works with calligraphy, and has a passion for motorcycles. His three passions, technology, calligraphy, and motorcycles, translate into his work as a teacher, and a published writer.
8. Antonia Kidman
While Nicole Kidman has been out drawing in her massive net worth of $120 million as a celebrated actress, her younger sister, Antonia Kidman, has not been sitting on her laurels. Antonia is a popular journalist and TV personality in their homeland of Australia.
As the mother of six, Kidman is an expert in child rearing, and her work plays on this. Antonia has written extensively on child-rearing, and has hosted several series. Her two most popular series are The Little Things, an instructional series on child-rearing, and The Bigger Things, a series focusing on the challenges adults face. Kidman took home the award for Favourite Female Personality at the ASTRA’s in both 2007 and 2008.
She is also a published author, co-authoring two parenting books, Feeding Fussy Kids, and The Simple Things: Creating an Organised Home, a Happy Family and A Life Worth Living.
7. Natasha Law
In this case, the more famous sibling is the younger one. Jude Law’s older sister, Natasha, was the first one in the family to try their hand at acting, performing in plays at the age of 12. While she may have inspired the The Talented Mr. Ripley and Cold Mountain star to get involved in acting himself, Natasha found that her passion lay in a different artform.
Natasha is a popular artist, known for her paintings of women. The line drawings and paintings created by Natasha are considered risqué, featuring women in semi-nude and sexy poses. Her work has been picked up by the likes of Vogue, Teen Vogue, Samsung, Canongate Publishing, Tiffany & Co and Mulberry.
Natasha’s fans include celebrities Kim Cattrall, Jo Whiley and of course her younger brother, Jude. She has also worked with popular fashion writer, Camilla Morton, illustrating her book, How To Walk In High Heels: The Girl’s Guide To Everything.
6. Mona Simpson
This may be a situation where nature won out over nurture. Steve Jobs, who was adopted, did not meet his sister Mona Simpson until 1985, when she was a 25 year old writer working on her first novel. While her brother became the world renowned entrepreneur leading Apple to the top of the electronics world, Mona climbed to success as an award winning writer.
Mona has published five books, her most recent being My Hollywood, published in 2011. She teaches creative writing at UCLA. Her writing has earned her many accolades, as a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1988, and in 2008 earning a Literature Award from the Academy of Arts and Letters.
She also shares a name with Homer Simpson’s mother, who was named by her ex-husband, television writer and producer Richard Appel.
5. Nicholas Cowell
Simon Cowell is famous for his work with popular talent shows Pop Idol, American Idol and the X-Factor, but he comes into the television industry with an entrepreneurial background. Cowell rose up the ranks of record companies from a mailroom clerk to becoming a famed music publisher. His father was both a real estate agent, and music industry executive. While Simon was following in his father’s musical footsteps, his younger brother Nicholas followed their father’s other business interests.
Nicholas bought his first property at the age of 20 for £19,000, which he later sold for £160,000. Since then, his rise has been meteoric. As a real estate mogul, Nicholas co-founded the property real estate companies the Estate Agency, through which he owns the five-star Hotel Verta, and the Cowell Group.
4. Doug Pitt
While Brad Pitt has been charming the world and amassing his $240 million fortune with his good looks, another Pitt has been flashing that famed Pitt smile in a different way. Doug Pitt founded ServiceWorld Computer Center back in 1991, the same year that his big brother was getting his big break with Thelma and Louise.
Pitt’s business ventures have been a major success, merging ServiceWorld with TSI Global. While remaining as principal owner of ServiceWorld, Pitt has also launched several other businesses within the information technology world.
Philanthropy appears to run deeply in the Pitt family, as Doug is also renowned for his philanthropic activities. In 2010, ServiceWorld was named the SBJ Philanthropic Business of the Year. Like his older brother, Pitt’s focus has mainly been on Africa. Since 2010, Pitt has served as the Goodwill Ambassador for the United Republic of Tanzania.
3. David Sedaris
These two siblings are both pretty big names, making it hard to tell which is the more famed one. With a net worth $12 million, it seems that Amy Sedaris has her older brother, with $8 million, beat. While Amy Sedaris has been gaining her income from comedic acting and writing, David has made most of his fame from writing.
David is a prolific comedic writer, with nine published books, and articles published in many magazines and newspapers. He also writes for the popular radio show, This American Life. He has sold over 7 million books, with 5 of them becoming New York Times Best sellers. David and his sister have been known to collaborate quite a bit, making for a pretty hilarious pair.
2. Michael Cameron
When James Cameron (image above) embarked on the creation of his massive blockbuster, Titanic, he needed to gather images of the original Titanic. Rather than using older images of the sunken cruise ship, Cameron enlisted the help of an engineering genius, his own brother Michael Cameron.
Michael Cameron, owner of engineering company Dark Matter LLC, developed submarines for Titanic that were able to go down to the original Titanic’s ruins to take photos that would be used in the production of the famed movie. His expertise has been used to record other underwater explorations. He has worked on other films as an engineer, from Piranha 3D to George of the Jungle.
1. Erik Nielsen
Leslie Nielsen was a famed Canadian actor, known for his hilarious roles in Airplane! and the Naked Gun series. His brother, Erik, was also famous in their homeland as a politician. As a member of the Progressive Conservative party, Erik Nielsen served on the Canadian Parliament for 30 consecutive years.
Known as Yukon Eirik, Nielsen first joined the Canadian Parliament in 1957. A decorated pilot from WWII, he was known as a tough politician. His career went through many ups and downs, with him unveiling and being involved in several scandals. At one point he was considered one of the most powerful politicians in Canada before his resignation in 1987. Nielsen served in many major positions, including Opposition House Leader from 1981 to 1983, and deputy prime minister from 1986 to 1986.
Nielsen wrote a book about his experiences as a politician called The House is Not a Home. His relationship with his brother, Leslie Nielsen, and position as deputy prime minister, formed the basis of the HBO mockumentary, The Canadian Conspiracy.