When they’re strutting their stuff on the red carpet in gorgeous, expensive haute couture gowns or impeccably cut suits, and getting photographed in their multi-million dollar mansions in the Hollywood hills, it can be difficult to remember that most celebrities weren’t born with a silver spoon in their mouths. Many are from small towns in the Midwest, raised in completely average middle-class families, and some manage to pull themselves from poverty and even homelessness before catapulting to stardom and earning millions in their movies or television shows.
However, while the majority of celebrities led fairly average lives before earning their spot on the A-List, there are a few who grew accustomed to a life of luxury at a very young age. That’s right – while pretty much all actors have to go to audition after audition while they’re trying to make a name for themselves in the industry, there are a few who definitely didn’t have to wait tables or work as a barista at a local Los Angeles coffee shop while they were doing so, as they come from wealthy families.
So, who are the actors who managed to avoid the struggling, aspiring actor stage, thanks to their families’ padded bank accounts? They may not be the ones you would think. Here are 10 actors you never knew were born rich.
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10 Rashida Jones
Rashida Jones became known for playing sweet, small town characters on shows like The Office and Parks and Recreation. However, she definitely isn’t from some tiny Midwestern town like many actresses she shares the screen with. Jones is actually the daughter of talented music legend (composer, record producer, musician, instrumentalist…etc.) Quincy Jones and glamorous actress and model Peggy Lipton. Before attending Harvard University, the former self-confessed nerd grew up in Bel Air, and attended the prestigious The Buckley School with classmates like Nicole Richie and Paris Hilton. She probably saw a lot of glamorous parties filled with A-Listers before she ever stepped foot on a red carpet!
9 Rooney Mara
Rooney Mara shot to stardom after snagging the coveted role of Lisbeth Salander in the film version of the best-selling book series by Stieg Larsson. However, before she was the girl with the dragon tattoo, she was the daughter of some pretty big names in the sports world. Mara’s mother’s family founded the NFL’s Pittsburgh Steelers, and her father’s family founded the New York Giants. Safe to say that, while both Rooney and sister Kate grew up to be actresses, they probably had a lot of exposure to football in their younger years. We’ve got to say, though, we just can’t picture the Mara girls hanging out in a stadium parking lot tail-gating and scarfing down barbecued meats.
8 Nick Kroll
Nick Kroll has earned a name for himself as not only an actor but as a comedian, writer, and producer. While many comedians come from fairly humble circumstances, and often even use that in their material, Kroll grew up in an affluent area of Westchester, New York. His father, Jules B. Kroll, is a successful businessman and founder of Kroll, Inc., and is allegedly worth about $1.5 billion. Kroll’s brother Jeremy ended up following in his father’s footsteps, and while Nick interned at Kroll, Inc. while he was a college student, it was never the path for him. His current comedian salary may not be in the billions yet, but with the innovation and comedic skill that he’s showing in his various projects, who knows – he may get there someday!
7 Armie Hammer
If you’re wondering about Armie Hammer’s family, just take a look at his name and you’ll probably figure it out. The young actor caught the public’s eye when he played the Winklevoss twins in The Social Network, but he definitely wasn’t a struggling actor before landing the role. His family is extremely wealthy, and Hammer is the great-grandson of oil tycoon and philanthropist Armand Hammer (who he is named after). Additionally, his great-great-grandfather, Julius Hammer, founded the Communist Party in New York. While Hammer might not command tens of millions per film yet, let’s just say he’s not too worried about where his next paycheck is coming from, as his family fortune is in the hundreds of millions.
6 Jason Schwartzman
Successful actor Jason Schwartzman has snagged roles in films like The Grand Budapest Hotel and The Darjeeling Limited, but before he ever saw his name in the credits, he was exposed to the world of Hollywood. That’s because he’s one of the Coppola clan. His mother, Talia Rose Coppola, was in films like The Godfather and the Rocky franchise, and his uncle is Hollywood icon Francis Ford Coppola. His famous cousins include Sofia Coppola and Nicholas Cage, and his grandfather was Carmine Coppola. However, Schwartzman’s style is a bit different than the often dramatic Coppolas, as he’s known for his frequent collaborations with quirky director Wes Anderson.
5 Jake Gyllenhaal
It’s not too often that siblings both succeed in the entertainment industry, but Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal definitely have. Jake Gyllenhaal has taken on diverse roles throughout his career, playing everything from a military man to a troubled cowboy to a carefree love interest. Part of the reason he seems so comfortable switching between genres may be because he’s been exposed to the entertainment industry since he was young. His father is a director and poet, and his mother is a screenwriter and producer. And, as if being Hollywood royalty isn’t enough, Gyllenhaal also counts literal royalty amongst his family tree, as he’s a descendant of the Swedish noble Gyllenhaal family. However, he definitely wasn’t spoiled growing up – while he lived a life of privilege, he also volunteered at a homeless shelter and held summer jobs such as a lifeguard and busboy, as his parents wanted to instill good values in their son.
4 Gwyneth Paltrow
Anyone who has read Gwyneth Paltrow’s tips and tricks on Goop might assume that she is someone from a humble background who is just trying way too hard to let everyone know she’s an A-Lister now, and can afford trinkets that cost hundreds and thousands of dollars. However, Paltrow has pretty much always lived a life of luxury. She, like many celebrities who come from affluent backgrounds, was born to parents involved in the entertainment industry. Her mother, Blythe Danner, was an actress, and her father, Bruce Paltrow, was a television and film director and producer.
3 Julia Louis-Dreyfus
Julia Louis-Dreyfus captured the public’s hearts in her role as the hilarious Elaine on sitcom Seinfeld. Since then, she’s gone on to snag roles in hilarious shows like The New Adventures of Old Christine and Veep. She just seems like a hard-working, hilarious actress, right? Well, yes – but she’s also from a super, crazy wealthy family. Her father was chairman for Louis Dreyfus Energy Services, and her great-great-grandfather Leopold Louis-Dreyfus founded a French commodities and shipping conglomerate, the Louis Dreyfus group. The Louis Dreyfus group is still in the family’s hands, meaning that even if she ended up losing everything she earned in her acting career, Louis-Dreyfus would still be worth billions. Not a bad safety net!
2 Darren Criss
While Criss is definitely no stranger to the Broadway stage, he became a household name when he starred as the charming Blaine Anderson on hit television series Glee. However, before he was walking the red carpet and buying his own million dollar home, he was probably growing up in some pretty lavish digs. His father, Charles, was a banker who ended up moving the entire Criss family to Hawaii to start EastWest Bank, where he served as the chairman and CEO. And, before they were sipping tropical drinks by the ocean, they lived in San Francisco where his dad was on the board of directors for the San Francisco Opera – a position that you get by donating major cash. Hey, at least it seems like Papa Criss loves music – he’s probably thrilled about Darren’s career.
1 Kristen Stewart
While Kristen Stewart first stepped onto the red carpet as a teenager, playing Jodie Foster’s daughter in Panic Room, she went on to take on interesting, often gritty roles, in films like Speak, The Runaways, and On The Road. However, let’s be honest – the majority of the public knows her for playing Bella Swan in the ultra popular Twilight film franchise. While it may seem like she achieved success at a young age, it’s almost surprising that she didn’t get more roles as a child, considering her family. Stewart’s father was a stage manager and producer, and her mother was a script supervisor. Those sweet jobs came with pretty nice paychecks, and the actress grew up in a mansion in the Hollywood Hills that went on the market for $1.75 million.
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