#4. Armie Hammer (The Social Network) Is Related to One of the Owners of Arm & Hammer Baking Soda
You might recognize Armie Hammer from The Social Network and the trailers for the upcoming The Lone Ranger film. If you're wondering what kind of name "Armie" is for a guy, it's actually short for "Armand" -- and if you're wondering why he doesn't just go by Armand Hammer, just think about it: He sounds like a mascot for Arm & Hammer household products. As it turns out, this isn't exactly a coincidence.
Armie's great-grandfather was a famous industrialist also named Armand Hammer, who didn't found the Arm & Hammer brand, but was a major stockholder in the company. Confusingly, the brand was not named after him and he wasn't named after the brand -- it's either a bizarre coincidence or Hammer picked his investments by whichever ones sounded the most like his name. Either way, by the time Armie was born, his family was associated with Arm & Hammer, and they had to know that his name would sound like a jokey reference to it.
"I'm just glad they didn't invest in butt wipes."
That, or they wanted Armie to be a communist like his great-great-grandfather Julius Hammer. Julius founded the Communist Party USA and first came up with the name "Armand Hammer" for his son in 1898, inspired by the Socialist Labor Party's logo:
Because Hammerand Sickle sounded silly.
Great-Grandpa Armand himself kept ties to the Soviet Union throughout his life, which caused him to be dubbed a dirty commie pinko by the Federal Bureau of Investigation in 1919. In fact, FBI head J. Edgar Hoover kept a file on Hammer and saw him as kind of a nemesis -- so we think it's just a tiny bit ironic that when Clint Eastwood shot J. Edgar, a movie about Hoover's life, he happened to give the role of the FBI leader's right hand man (and purported lover) to none other than Armie Hammer, the great-grandson and namesake of the man the real Hoover hated so much.
#3. Jason Sudeikis Is the Nephew of Norm from Cheers
George Wendt is best known as Norm from the classic sitcom Cheers, but he's also made several guest appearances on Saturday Night Live as one of the Chicago Bears-obsessed "Superfans" -- apparently, SNL writers weren't willing to wait until Wendt hosted the show again before they could write another Superfans sketch, so they just kept bringing him back for episodes other people were hosting.
He's the heavyset guy with the mustache and sunglasses.
But that isn't Wendt's only connection to the long-running show: He's also the uncle of current cast member Jason Sudeikis, famous for playing one of the Two A-Holes (with Kristen Wiig) and for his impersonations of VP Joe Biden and Mitt Romney.
Both Wendt and Sudeikis grew up in the Midwest, so it's not like they're Hollywood royalty or anything -- they both got to where they are the hard way. Wendt started out at the Second City improv theater ... sweeping floors. Years later, his nephew got his start at Second City Las Vegas.
"Oh, no, we don't make new guys sweep anymore. How are you at giving hand jobs?"
Sudeikis got the job on SNL thanks to his uncle, but only indirectly: Wendt saw him performing at an improv and suggested he try out for the show. He was initially hired as a writer in 2003, occasionally playing characters like "audience member" or "person in background." He was finally upgraded to full cast member in 2006, and from there went on to appear in 30 Rock and star in films like Horrible Bosses with Kevin Spacey and Hall Pass with Owen Wilson.
#2. Jenny McCarthy and Melissa McCarthy Are Cousins
This one was staring us in the face all along, and yet we never saw it coming.
Jenny McCarthy is classified on Wikipedia as a comedian, and if there's one phrase on the entire website in sore need of a "" by its side, that's gotta be it. Her entire style of "comedy" consists of being hot while sticking her tongue out, because it's hard to remember what's funny and what isn't when you have a boner.
In the '90s, Jenny rocketed to fame with her six Playboy cover spreads, which led to her getting her own MTV show, Singled Out, and numerous other television and film roles. But at the same time, while Jenny was getting attention for picking her nose in a bikini and marrying Jim Carrey, she had a far more talented cousin called Melissa who was toiling away in obscurity because she doesn't have the kind of body Hugh Hefner will pay to see naked.
Little by little, however, Melissa managed to build her career, first through small TV roles in her cousin's shows and Gilmore Girls, then in her own sitcom, and finally co-starring in one of the most acclaimed comedies of 2011. You may remember her from the Oscars or the Emmys -- we're talking about Melissa McCarthy, 2012 Academy Award nominee for her role in Bridesmaids.
She didn't win, but they gave her Rob Lowe as a consolation prize.
Yep, Melissa's father and Jenny's father are brothers, though honestly we wouldn't be surprised if at least one of the people involved in that equation was adopted. These days, Melissa has an Emmy to her name and dozens of nominations, while her hotter cousin is now better known for her well-publicized war against vaccines and her breakup with Carrey, rather than her actual work. Hey, maybe Jim will go for the talented McCarthy this time.
#1. Jamie Lee Curtis Is Janet Leigh's Daughter
You know Janet Leigh pretty well, even if you think you don't: She's the one who gets shower-knifed to violin music in the classic scene from Psycho. Despite not appearing in a whole lot of horror movies (and barely appearing in Psycho itself), that 45-second shower scene established Leigh as one of Hollywood's greatest "scream queens." But not the greatest one: That would be her daughter, Jamie Lee Curtis.
You see, for a while Leigh was married to actor Tony Curtis (Some Like It Hot), and they had two daughters, Kelly and Jamie Lee. Both followed their parents into show business, and Jamie Lee's first big break as Laurie Strode in John Carpenter's Halloween (1978) not only kick-started her career, but also inaugurated the whole "empowered woman in terror" genre (Alien came out a year later). As Laurie, Jamie Lee didn't scream for a man to save her -- she actually fought back.
If she'd been in the shower, Norman Bates would have ended up a eunuch.
After starring in a bunch more slasher flicks in the '80s, Jamie Lee showed that she also had a knack for comedy with movies like A Fish Called Wanda and Eddie Murphy's Trading Places, where she also showed her gazongas. In the '90s, she kicked ass beside Arnold Schwarzenegger in True Lies and returned to horror in Halloween H20: Twenty Years Later, which features a cameo by her mom and references to Psycho.
For example, that's the same car where Hitchcock rubbed one out, probably.
Despite carrying Tony Curtis' name, Jamie Lee has pointed out several times that she hardly knew the guy and was a lot more influenced by her mother, which might explain why she insists on being credited with her middle name -- "Lee" sounds like "Leigh," after all.
For more details about celebrities we found in their trash cans, check out 5 Celebrity Careers Launched by Ethnic Makeovers and 7 Celebrities Who Had Badass Careers You Didn't Know About.
If you're pressed for time and just looking for a quick fix, then check out The 5 Least Intimidating Military Uniforms Around the World.