15 Kids Who Are Better Actors Than Their Parents

We’ve always had a tendency to follow in our parent’s footsteps. It makes sense. Being brought into a world that your parents are immersed in. Sometimes we participated willingly, wanting to be like mom or dad, sometimes we were dragged kicking and screaming. Parents want to teach and guide, and what better way to do that than by having your child take up your own profession. Best case scenario, you live vicariously through them, casting your regrets, failures and missed opportunities on them, like any good parent should. When this generational baton passing takes place, it is common for the child to surpass the parent. This, too, makes perfect sense. The child is afforded more opportunity, imparted more wisdom and more encouragement. Acting is no different than anywhere else.

It is difficult to judge two different generations of actors, especially if the older generation no longer acts, but we’re going to do it anyways. Styles have changed, roles have changed, the whole of movies has changed. The way we watch and critique has changed, as we now expect bigger and better. There’s more spotlight and more pressure but also more audience understanding and more options for actors to find their niche. This is really a long-winded way of saying that suggesting one actor performed better than another, from another time, holds no weight because it’s all a matter of preference. It’s silly to get caught up in one particular role, so I will focus on the careers overall.

All of the actors on this list have surpassed their parent’s career with their own, whether we like them as actors or not. It can be harsh, well, I can be harsh, but I’m not about to start feeling too bad. You know what you call parent and child who are both actors? A filthy rich family. That’s what. Here they are 15 Kids Who Are Better Actors Than Their Parents, and by kids, I mean offspring because we're all adults here.

15 Gwyneth Paltrow and Blythe Danner

14 Tatum O’Neal and Ryan O’Neal

13 Angelina Jolie and Jon Voight

12 Bryce Dallas Howard and Ron Howard

11 Michael Douglas and Kirk Douglas


10 Emma Roberts and Eric Roberts


9 Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds

8 Jason Schwartzman and Talia Shire

7 Laura Dern and Bruce Dern

6 Josh Brolin and James Brolin

5 Jennifer Jason Leigh and Vic Morrow


4 Jamie Lee Curtis and Janet Leigh


3 Jeff Bridges and Lloyd Bridges


2 Patricia Arquette and Lewis Arquette


1 Ben Stiller and Jerry Stiller

Ben and Jerry Stiller. Both hilarious men that have carved out great careers. While Jerry Stiller is probably most famous for his role as George Costanza’s father on Seinfeld, Ben Stiller has become one of the most recognizable comedians on the planet. Early on, Stiller was better known for his writing and directing (Reality Bites and Cable Guy) than his acting, though he put together some nice roles along the way, including the Disney film Heavyweights, which both his parents were in as well. It was really There’s Something About Mary that launched Stiller into A-List territory, and from that point, he was definitely the more popular, and probably more talented, Stiller. Today, saying the name Stiller will likely bring only one image to mind, Ben’s goofy Blue Steel pose, or maybe Magnum, though those two poses are nothing alike.

Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Rotten Tomatoes

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15 Kids Who Are Better Actors Than Their Parents