Sometimes, being born into wealth and fame guarantees you success… Despite having no talent or work ethic. There are many examples of Hollywood celebrities making projects for their relatives and helping them achieve fame when it’s clearly unearned. Indeed, the problem of nepotism is prevalent in the celebrity realm.
Some celebrity dynasties have provided us with actors who have proven their worth and established their talent in illustrious, long-standing careers: Angelina Jolie, daughter of Jon Voight, and Michael Douglas, offspring of Kirk Douglas, are examples of this. Sofia Coppola (directors of Lost In Translation among other hits) has become a critically acclaimed and talented director, and while she has not reached the heights of her father, The Godfather director Francis Ford Coppola, it certainly doesn’t seem that she has relied on handouts from him – at least, not since an early example of nepotism when she was cast in The Godfather Part III.
Then there are those celebs about whom we’re all more than a little skeptical, whose questionable talents have been aggressively thrust upon us by doting famous relatives. The following ten celebrities are some of the most painfully blatant cases of Hollywood nepotism.
10. Emma Roberts
Emma Roberts is the daughter of Eric Roberts, and she is also the niece of the even more famous Julia Roberts. Emma Roberts has been quick to go on the defence when questioned if nepotism played any part is her rise to stardom. However, she likely wouldn’t have been cast in the film Valentine’s Day if it weren’t for the fact her aunt was also in the cast.
9. Helena Bonham Carter
Helena Bonham Carter has clearly benefitted from being the long-time partner of Tim Burton. Burton casts her in just about every movie he makes; Bonham Carter is also the great grand niece of prominent English director Anthony Asquith.
8. Rumer Willis
Rumer Willis‘ acting career has seen her appear almost exclusively in films that also star her famous parents: Demi Moore and Bruce Willis. She appeared in Hostage with her dad and Now and Then with her mom. Rumer Willis also played Demi Moore’s young daughter in the movie Striptease.
7. Dakota Johnson
The star of the upcoming Fifty Shades of Grey will likely be a breakout star in the years to come, but the fact that both of her parents are famous celebrities couldn’t have hurt. Her dad is Miami Vice star Don Johnson and her mother is Melanie Griffith.
6. Abby Elliott
Abby Elliott comes from a long lineage of comedy legends. Her granddad is Bob Elliott, who is one part of the famous comedy duo Bob and Ray. Abby Elliott’s father is former Late Night with David Letterman writer Chris Elliot. Like her father, she had a short run starring on SNL. While she does have talent, Elliot’s audition for SNL might not have been possible if it weren’t for her famous family and connections to SNL producer Lorne Michaels.
5. Allison Williams
Practically the entire cast of Girls is a checklist for nepotism. The undeniably talented writer Lena Dunham is the daughter of artist and photographer Laurie Simmons, while Zosia Mamet is the daughter of famed playwright David Mamet. However, Williams clearly benefitted the most from having a famous father. She is the daughter of NBC news anchor Brian Williams, who is good friends with Girls producer Judd Apatow.
4. Jim Belushi
The star of According to Jim might well be riding on the coattails of his much more famous and talented older brother: the late John Belushi. Jim Belushi has not just let nepotism shape his career, but his son’s as well. Jim Belushi has cast his son Robert in a number of guest spots on According to Jim, and Robert Belushi has parlayed that into many other TV gigs. Jim Belushi has also said that his son should play John in an upcoming biopic, instead of Emile Hirsch who has already been cast.
3. Tori Spelling
Tori Spelling was cast in Beverly Hills 90210 which made her a big star at the time. However, the fact that her father, Aaron Spelling, was the show’s producer probably played a big part in her getting the role. Tori Spelling claims this is not the case and that she even auditioned using a fake name.
2. Willow Smith
Will Smith has made a concerted and very public effort to champion his daughter’s music career. Unfortunately her musical ventures have not proved to be anywhere near as successful as Will Smith’s Fresh Prince rap career, and her pushy parents have only served to sour this young star’s reputation.
1. Jaden Smith
The 2013 movie After Earth starring father and son was not only one of the biggest box office bombs in recent years, it was also one of the most poorly received by critics. It was also possibly the biggest example of nepotism in the history of Hollywood. While Jaden Smith gave solid performances in the Pursuit of Happyness and The Karate Kid, his lack of skill became painfully evident in After Earth.