7 Celebs With Surprisingly Famous Relatives
If you don't have a cousin you'd rather not talk about, great news: you're it. You're the cousin. Whether this mythical relative is too embarrassing, too tragic, or too devastatingly cool to bring up, the fact remains that every family has one -- and that goes for famous people too. Which explains why you probably didn't know about ...
Mara Wilson Is Ben Shapiro's Cousin, Doesn't Seem To Care Much For Him
Ben Shapiro is that guy who DESTROYS liberals with FACTS and LOGIC and A COMPLETE LACK OF BASIC HUMAN EMPATHY, according to YouTube thumbnails. Mara Wilson is, of course, a famed Cracked.com writer who has also acted in obscure movies like Mrs. Doubtfire, Matilda, and Miracle On 34th Street (she also blogs on Substack and tweets on Twitter). The adorable little girl from every '90s movie and the internet's favorite gateway drug to right-wing shitlordery don't seem to have anything in common aside from their height, but they actually share a surname: Wilson's mom was named Suzie Shapiro. As in, Ben's aunt.
Shapiro mentioned that Wilson is his cousin in an episode of his radio show in 2014, while talking about why godless unmarried couples are to blame for Justin Bieber getting a DUI (#logic FTW!). He also claimed that he and Wilson "grew up a block from each other" ... but they don't appear to be so close these days, considering she blocked him on Twitter.
Wilson has never publicly mentioned her reasons for blocking her cuz, but considering that her display name is Mara "Get Rid of the Nazis" Wilson, we have some theories. In fact, she has never directly acknowledged him on social media at all, but she has talked about having "shitty cousins" and liked some less than flattering tweets about Shapiro:
Don't feel bad for Wilson, though. She may have the human personification of the words "I'm not racist, but" as a blood relative, but she also has Danny DeVito as a spiritual one -- she has talked about how DeVito and his wife Rhea Perlman, who played her awful parents in Matilda, lovingly cared for her after her mom died, thus proving that not all comically short people are evil.
Amy Klobuchar Is Zola Jesus' Cousin (But Not Her Presidential Pick)
Zola Jesus is known for making echo-y, atmospheric indie music, such as this prescient little number from 2009:
Amy Klobuchar, meanwhile, is known for running 1) for president and 2) out of interns (because she treats them like steaming turds). If you asked the world's most advanced A.I. to produce the exact opposite of a rock star, it would print out Klobuchar's Congress portrait. And yet, before Klobuchar dropped out of the presidential race, Zola confessed in a since deleted tweet that the two are cousins ... but she's still voting for Bernie.
Zola's confirmation that she was talking about Klobuchar came followed by a ":|" -- probably the most enthusiastic emoticon used in conjunction with Klobuchar's name in all of Twitter. She also threw in a flag of Slovenia, the land of the ancestors that the two share with (as Klobuchar is a little too fond of pointing out) Melania Trump. Once you find out they're related, the physical resemblance is impossible to unsee:
It's unclear why Zola deleted the tweets above, but we're guessing it has to do with the fact that not even rock stars are immune to a disappointed phone call from mom.
Chuck Schumer And Amy Schumer Are Cousins, Get Along Unexpectedly Well
One has an important job at the United States Senate. The other did a movie where she blows a guy in a park bench and almost has sex with a 16-year-old. It's hard to imagine Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer and comedian Amy Schumer being the same species, let alone related, but believe it or not they are both those things.
At first, it sounded like there wasn't much of a relationship ... and to be fair, when's the last time you hanged out with your dad's second cousin? In a 2011 interview, Amy said she'd bumped into Chuck in NYC a few times, but she highly doubted he'd ever seen her act. But then, they were united by a common passion: hating Donald Trump. When Trump accused Chuck of faking his tears during a conference about the Muslim travel ban, Amy jumped in to defend him, in her own way. She said: "I know chuck Schumer and HE CANNOT act trust me. He can barely smile on cue."
The Schumers had a more significant collaboration after a far-right nutcase shot and killed some people during a showing of Amy's Trainwreck in 2015 (it's OK if you don't remember; it was about 1,500 mass shootings ago). Distraught, Amy decided to get into gun control activism, which for celebrities usually means tweeting #gunsbad every once in a while. But in her case, she actually helped her cousin promote a bill that would restrict gun access for violent criminals, abusers, and mentally ill people.
Since then, they've also made cameos on each other's Instagrams and occasionally tag each other on Twitter. Honestly, if that's the entirety of their interaction, they already sound closer than 90% of cousins.
They're not real cousins until they have a public argument about a borrowed kitchen appliance on Facebook, though.
Keegan-Michael Key Found Out His Late Brother Was An Important DC Comics Writer
If you're into comics, as in comic books, you've probably heard of Dwayne McDuffie, creator of Static Shock and writer of series like Justice League of America and Fantastic Four. And if you're into comics, as in comedians, you've definitely heard of Keegan-Michael Key of Key & Peele, a.k.a. that guy in that "Obama meeting people" meme.
It has SOUND?!
The two have never met (and sadly never will), so how could they be connected to each other? Well, Key was adopted as a kid, and some years ago his sister decided to do some digging and found Key's biological father ... who is dead. But, they also found out he had two half-brothers ... and they're also dead. One of those brothers was proudly described by Key as a comic book writer who died at age 49 in 2011, worked for both Marvel and DC, and was in charge of putting characters of color on TV.
That can literally only be McDuffie, who in addition to founding a line of comics devoted to minority superheroes, wrote and produced the Justice League cartoons. Those shows are the reason why, when the Green Lantern movie came out in 2011, audiences wondered why the hell Ryan Reynolds was playing a black guy.
But McDuffie's best work has to be the time he was working as an editor at Marvel in the late '80s and, noticing the emergence of a bizarre trend when it came to black characters, sent a memo pitching a new series called "TEENAGE NEGRO NINJA THRASHERS" starring nothing but black guys on skateboards.
McDuffie added that the comic would contain popular elements like "circa 1974 clothing and hair-styles," "bizarre speech patterns, unrecognizable by any member of any culture on the planet," and "a smart white friend to help them out of the trouble they get into." Also: skateboards! Finally, he closed the memo with a fully rhetorical "Have I made my point?" So, yeah, we think he would have gotten along with Key.
Yes, Bernie Sanders And Larry David Share Some Genetic Material
Seinfeld co-creator Larry David has had a bit of a resurgence in recent years thanks to his portrayal of Bernie Sanders on Saturday Night Live and also that meme where people put the Curb Your Enthusiasm theme over awkward videos. In 2017, David was invited to a PBS show about ancestry, so the producers figured they might as well invite Bernie too and make it a topical "bald Jewish guy" episode.
Then the crew was surprised to find out that the two share identical DNA on three chromosomes, making them "third or fourth cousins." David was delighted, while Bernie laughed his ass off and acknowledged that David does "a better Bernie Sanders" than him.
This means that David's SNL role follows the age-old tradition of younger cousins impersonating the older ones when they're not around, though there's no record of Bernie giving David a wedgie when he found out (doesn't mean it didn't happen). Note that David had no idea about the family connection when he agreed to take the part, though. That only happened because David kept doing a Sanders voice while watching the 2016 debates on TV, and then one of his friends called Lorne Michaels and got him the job. Great. Now we can't stop imagining Bernie saying "prettyyyyyy good."
Kevin Bacon And Everyone (Including His Wife)
Once you go beyond fourth cousins it's like everyone is related to everyone, but Kevin Bacon still has an unusual amount of distant celebrity connections. Bacon was invited to PBS' Finding Your Roots, where he found out that actress Kyra Sedgwick (The Closer) is his ninth cousin, once removed. That would be pretty cool, if it wasn't for the fact that Sedgwick is his wife. So they're like Hollywood royalty in more than one sense.
Sedgwick even said earlier on the show that she was afraid of finding out she was related to Bacon, so maybe she already suspected something? You heard it here first: Kyra Sedgwick thinks her children are ugly.
Bacon also found out he's Brad Pitt's thirteenth cousin, while Sedgwick is Marilyn Monroe's eight cousin (apparently, there's a "skirt malfunction" gene). They both turned out to have a surprising number of presidential connections, too: Bacon has a common ancestor with Barack Obama and Sedgwick is distantly related to Richard Nixon and Jimmy Carter. Wow, with such distinguished pedigree, we wouldn't be surprised if some generations from now, our 60th or so president is a five-armed Bacon-Sedgwick abomination.
Preeeetty Sure Ronan Farrow Is Frank Sinatra's Son, Not Woody Allen's
Ronan Farrow is the journalist who blew the lid on the Harvey Weinstein scandal, but, unfortunately, that wasn't his first exposure to creepy Hollywood perverts. Farrow first gained public prominence as a kid when his parents, Mia Farrow and Woody Allen, had a falling out over the small matter of Allen sleeping with Ronan's 20-year-old sister, Soon-Yi. But, as Ronan grew up, people started noticing that the dashing young lad looked nothing like dweeby-ass Woody Allen ... and everything like a young Frank Sinatra.
That's not as random as it sounds: Mia Farrow was married to Sinatra in the '60s, when she was 21 and he 51. In 2013 she claimed that they "never really split up" (a fancy way of saying they were each other's booty call) and acknowledged that Ronan was "possibly" his son. Ronan himself has mostly remained mum on the subject, despite Bill Maher's constant badgering, but he did once tweet the following:
Meanwhile, as of 2018 Allen still considered Ronan his son, but he didn't sound very convinced: "In my opinion, he's my child. I think he is, but I wouldn't bet my life on it." (We're guessing someone showed him the pictures between sentences.) Mostly, he's just bitter about having possibly paid child support for a best-selling musical artist's offspring, and the possibility that Mia cheated on him. Yeah, sleeping with someone with a significant age difference while they were together? Who would do such a thing?
Maxwell Yezpitelok lives in Chile and also on Twitter.
Top Image: S_Bukley, Gino Santa Maria/Shutterstock