They Laugh Alike, They Walk Alike...
Okay, Tom Cruise and 53-year-old character actor William Mapother aren't identical cousins. But it's hard to miss the family resemblance in their smiles, not to mention their chosen profession. Here, to celebrate National Cousins Day, is more on them and 16 other pairs of celebrities who come from the same family tree.
Tom Cruise & William Mapother
Known as Dr. Ethan Rom on TV's "Lost" and for his pivotal role in 2001's "In the Bedroom," William Mapother is also Tom Cruise's first cousin: Tom's birth name is Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, and their fathers were brothers. And while the cousins have appeared together in "Mission: Impossible 2," "Minority Report," "Vanilla Sky" and "Magnolia," Mapother says that having a household name as a first cousin comes with no guarantees. "Tom has been kind enough a couple of times to suggest to a director, 'If you're looking for an actor, why don't you audition this guy?'" Mapother says. "So it has opened a couple doors, but it hasn't gotten me any roles."
Melissa McCarthy & Jenny McCarthy
Actress/comedians Jenny and Melissa McCarthy—first cousins whose dads are brothers—grew up in Illinois and made it to Hollywood in their twenties, with Jenny helping Melissa get her first job when she was starring in the sitcom "Jenny." And when a critic took issue with Melissa's weight in a review of her 2013 film "Identity Thief," Jenny—then co-host of "The View"—went on attack, saying, "She's very, very, very talented and people know that. So he can go to hell."
Al Roker & Lenny Kravitz
Rock singer and actor ("The Hunger Games") Lenny Kravitz and "Today Show" weatherman Al Roker are second cousins—Lenny's actress mother Roxie Roker ("The Jeffersons") is Al's first cousin. "All I know is I'm going with it," Al Roker said when learning of the familial connection. "Kids think it's cool."
Glenn Close & Brooke Shields
Glenn Close is Brooke Shields' second cousin once removed—Shields' great-grandmother Mary Elsie Moore is the sister of Close's maternal grandfather Charles Arthur Moore Jr. And though the actresses have never appeared onscreen together, in 2008 Close stepped in for an ill Shields to narrate the children's book "Runaway Bunny" at a Carnegie Hall benefit engagement.
Nicolas Cage & Jason Schwartzman
"Godfather" director Francis Ford Coppola is the uncle of actors Nicolas Cage and Jason Schwartzman, and that makes them first cousins. Cage—who has starred in movies ranging from "Moonstruck" to "Con Air"—is the son of Coppola's brother August but changed his last name for his acting career. Schwartzman ("Rushmore," "I Heart Huckabees") is the son of Coppola's sister, actress Talia Shire. Said Cage of his name change: "Nicolas Coppola was a frightened boy who had to reinvent himself in order to fulfill his dreams. It was like a giant weight came off my body."
Dionne Warwick & Whitney Houston
Both Grammy winners, Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick are first cousins—Whitney's mother Cissy is the sister of Warwick's mother Lee. Tragically, the recent documentary "Whitney" makes the claim that a third cousin, the late soul singer Dee Dee Warwick, molested Whitney Houston as a child—a claim both mother Cissy and cousin Dionne rebuff with "shock and horror."
Bernie Sanders & Larry David
When "Curb Your Enthusiasm" star Larry David and presidential candidate Bernie Sanders appeared together on PBS's genealogy show "Finding Your Roots," they had no idea that they were, in David's words, "like third cousins or something," But when a DNA test indicated a family connection through a mutual Polish-Jewish relative, it made sense. Weren't they both balding dudes from Brooklyn? Hadn't David already done a spot-on impersonation of Sanders on "Saturday Night Live"? As Sanders said, "Larry David does a better Bernie Sanders than I do."
Halle Berry & Sarah Palin
In 2012, actress Halle Berry revealed that she is related "in some twisted way" to former governor of Alaska and Republican Vice-Presidential candidate Sarah Palin. As the child of a white mother and black father, Berry's roots run deep and wide, but even she expressed shock when told by a genealogist of the discovery of her Palin connection…"I said, 'No! Aaah!'"
Sissy Spacek & Rip Torn
Rip Torn, the Emmy-nominated co-star of "The Larry Sanders Show" is Oscar winner Sissy Spacek's first cousin—Torn's mother Thelma Mary is Sissy's aunt. It was Torn who helped Spacek get into the acting business when she first arrived in Hollywood from Texas, introducing her to the Lee Strasberg Actors Studio and hosting her in his home. Torn even gave Spacek some solid career advice. "My cousin, Rip Torn, persuaded me not to change my name," said Spacek. "That you shouldn't change what you are in the search for success."
Dennis Leary & Conan O'Brien
While it's been widely reported that comedians Dennis Leary and Conan O'Brien are cousins, long-running late night host O'Brien has always been a bit cagey about the connection. Says O'Brien: "Dennis always says after about a few drinks, 'Hey, buddy, you and me, we're cousins, right?' And then he'll hit me up for money. So let's ... yes, sure, we're related."
Kerry Washington & Colin Powell
Through her mother Valerie (who is of Jamaican heritage), "Scandal" star Kerry Washington is a cousin of former U.S. Secretary of State Colin Powell. Interestingly, both are graduates of George Washington University.
Prince Charles & Ralph Fiennes
Renowned actor Ralph Fiennes (Harry Potter's Lord Voldemort) and Britain's Prince Charles are both descendants of King James II of Scotland (who reigned in the 1400s), making them eighth cousins. And though it's unclear where that puts Fiennes in the line to someday become King himself, he did in 2012 perform an excerpt of Charles Dickens' "Bleak House" in front of members of the Royal Family—including Prince Charles—on the 200th anniversary of the novelist's birth.
Ben Affleck & Matt Damon
Boyhood pals and Hollywood collaborators, Matt Damon and Ben Affleck are also cousins, though distant ones (they're 10th cousins once removed). According to the New England Genealogical Society, Damon and Affleck are both descended from William Knowlton Jr., a bricklayer who came to the U.S. from England in the 1630s. And not only does Affleck have more Oscars (two to Damon's one), the Society also traced his genealogical ties to Princess Diana and 16 U.S. Presidents, including Barack Obama.
Angelina Jolie & Hillary Clinton
After a genealogist expert informed her that actress Angelina Jolie was a tenth cousin, Hillary Clinton surprised with another family revelation. "And Madonna, too!" she said. "Hello, isn't this a good piece of news? I mean, I am thrilled to be related to Angelina Jolie and Madonna. They're both strong independent women."
Chuck Schumer & Amy Schumer
Stand-up comic turned movie star Amy Schumer is New York Senator Chuck Schumer's first cousin, once removed (her father and Schumer are cousins). And when Donald Trump Tweet-accused the Senate Minority Leader of "crying fake tears," while opposing Trump's immigration policy, Amy came to her cousin's defense with an Instagram blog: "I know Chuck Schumer and HE CANNOT act, trust me. He can barely smile on cue. He can't help but be transparent and genuine.
Snoop Dogg & Brandy
Singer/rapper/actors Snoop Dogg and Brandy are first cousins, though both have been slow to publicize it. "We never really told the world because we weren't trippin' off of that," said Snoop. "But she's my family." Still, the "Moesha" star was featured on Snoop Dogg's 2009 song "Special."
Tom Hanks & Abraham Lincoln
A member of Hollywood royalty, Tom Hanks is also third cousin, four times removed from Abraham Lincoln, this through Lincoln's mother Nancy Hanks. "The members of my branch of the family are either cousins or in-laws or poor relations of Lincoln," Hanks said. "So, when I was at school, guess which president I was always doing essays on?"
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