Hollywood Nepotism: These 15 Rising Stars Have Influential Parents In The Biz

Photo: HBO

There’s been a lot of backlash recently over the new HBO show “Girls.”Some say the show has a narrow worldview while others say there is a lack of diversity in the leads. But one growing critique points out that all four actresses have benefitted from Hollywood nepotism

25-year-old show creator Lena Dunham‘s mother is a famous artist, Allison Williams is the beautiful daughter of “NBC Nightly News” anchor Brian Williams, and the list goes on.

But who in Hollywood doesn’t benefit from a little inside networking these days?

Everyone knows that Gwenyth Paltrow‘s parents are Hollywood royalty. The same can be said for the Drew Barrymore, Jake and Maggie Gyllenhaal and George Clooney. 

Here are 15 rising stars that have parents in the entertainment industry. Whether or not they benefited from their Hollywood relationships is up to you to decide. 

Lena Dunham

'Girls' creator Lena Dunham may be an indie darling but her creativity is in the blood.

Her mother is acclaimed photographer and artist, Laurie Simmons. Along with putting together amazing exhibits and gallery shows all over the world, Simmons also co-starred in Dunham's independent hit film 'Tiny Furniture.'

Allison Williams

Allison Williams may be the break out beauty on 'Girls,' but her last name didn't hurt when it came to initially getting the gig.

Williams is the daughter of 'NBC Nightly News' anchor Brian Williams, who happens to be friends with 'Girls' producer Judd Apatow; however, the actress still had to audition.

But that's not to say Williams isn't funny. Check out some of her Kate Middleton parodies.

Jemima Kirke

Even as the new British transplant to New York City on 'Girls', Jemima Kirke is rising up the ranks quickly.

Along with being old high schools buddies with Lena Dunham and co-starring in her film 'Tiny Furniture,' Kirke also has a parent in the entertainment industry. Her father is Simon Kirke, drummer of the rock band Bad Company.

Zosia Mamet

Zosia Mamet has been acting pretty consistently since 2006 when she guest-starred in five episodes of the TV series 'The Unit.'

She's had exciting arcs on shows like 'The United States of Tara' on Showtime and AMC's 'Mad Men.'

But that gig on 'The Unit' and her success were brought on by a boost from her parents.

Her mother is Oscar-nominated actress Lindsay Crouse and her father is the critically adored David Mamet who wrote 'Glengarry Glen Ross' and the Oscar-nominated screenplays for 'The Verdict' and 'Wag the Dog.'

Kristen Stewart

Kirsten Stewart might be Bella to most audiences nowadays, but the actress scored some prime roles right out of the starting gate.

Since she co-starred in David Fincher's 'Panic Room' in 2002, Stewart has been in several prime independent films. How did she get so much work so quickly?

Well, having a producer father, John Stewart (no, not that one), and a script supervisor mother, Jules Mann Stewart, couldn't have hurt her chances.

And hot off the heels of her daughter's success, Jules is set to direct her first film, 'K-11,' in which Kristen makes a cameo and her brother, Cameron, will make his big screen debut.

Maya Rudolph

Maya Rudolph is almost always the funniest lady in any room.

She must get that charisma from her legendary musical family.

Rudolph's mum is the late singer Minnie Ripperton and her father, Richard Rudolph, is a successful music producer and composer.

The comedian/actress has some music chops as well--but most of the time she just uses it to make fun of other singing celebrities like Christina Aguilera or Beyoncé.

Abby Elliott

Just like Maya Rudolph before her, Abby Elliott is a great female player on 'Saturday Night Live.'

And also like Rudolph, Elliot might have her father to thank a bit for her new found fame.

Elliot's father is the actor Chris Elliott, who has appeared in tons of films such as 'Groundhog Day' and 'There's Something About Mary. He also has a recurring role on 'How I Met Your Mother.'

Even more notable for his daughter, papa Elliott was also a cast member on 'Saturday Night Live' from 1994-1995.

Watch Chris do his best Marlon Brando impersonation here.

Daniel Radcliffe

Playing 'the boy who lived' made Daniel Radcliffe a superstar but the actor began his career on the small screen.

Radcliffe played a young David Copperfield in a BBC miniseries adaptation of the book with the same name.

But Radcliffe probably didn't start without any knowledge of the industry. His father was a literally agent and his mother worked in casting for many a BBC production.

Blake Lively

It may seem like Blake Lively came out of nowhere to grab the role in 'Gossip Girl' and seduce Hollywood heavyweights like Leonardo DiCaprio and Ryan Reynolds, but the actress actually got her start because of her father.

Lively's first role was a small one in 1998's 'Sandman' helmed by her father, actor and director Ernie Lively.

Lively's sister, Robyn, is also an actress, most famous for her starring role in the 1989 cult comedy 'Teen Witch.'

Keira Knightley

'Bend it Like Beckham' and the 'Pirates of the Caribbean' films may have introduced Keira Knightley into our hearts, but the actress caught the entertainment bug from her actor and writer parents.

Knightley's mother, Sharman MacDonald, is a well known Scottish playwright, screenwriter, and occasional actress who wrote Knightley's film 'The Edge of Love' in 2008.

The Knightley patriarch is British actor of stage and small screen Will Knightley.

Minka Kelly

Minka Kelly made quite an impression on the wonderful but under-seen show 'Friday Night Lights' but her first glimpse of fame came with her famous dad.

The former guitarist of Aerosmith, Rick Dufay, makes up one half of Kelly's parentage.

Check out this father/daughter duo rocking the same shades in NYC last year.

Rashida Jones

The hilarious actress from projects like 'Parks and Recreation' and 'I Love You, Man' comes from a rich music and acting background.

Her mother is notable actress Peggy Lipton from the 'Mod Squad' and 'Twin Peaks' while her father is music legend Quincy Jones.

She can definitely act like her mum, but can Jones also play the trumpet like her dad? Now that would be cool to see.

It's not every kid that gets to grow up shooting water guns with Michael Jackson. The actress recalled to Playboy:

'Once, my sister, Michael, ­Emmanuel Lewis and I got in a car with Super Soakers and went by a movie theatre and supersoaked the hell out of people waiting in line. They had no idea they'd just been supersoaked by the King of Pop.'

Eva Amurri Martino

Eva Amurri Martino was surrounded by entertainment giants from a young age so it was clear that she'd choose the same path.

Martino's mother is acting great Susan Sarandon and her father is Italian director Franco Amurri. Her paternal aunt and grandfather were television writers.

Amurri says of life with a famous mother, 'I spent most of my teenage years being like, 'mum, don't do that!' But every daughter thinks their mum is embarrassing. I think she secretly loves pushing my buttons and doing things that embarrass me.'

Martino's first break out role was a bit part in stepfather Tim Robbins' film 'Bob Roberts.' Her second role was alongside her mother in 'Stepmom' and in 2002, the mother/daughter duo co-starred in 'The Banger Sisters.'

The acting gigs haven't stopped since.

Chris Pine

Before he had a chance to play James T. Kirk or seduce Lindsay Lohan and Anne Hathaway, Chris Pine was just the son of actor Robert Pine.

Pine Sr. has appeared in films such as 'Independence Day,' 'Lakeview Terrace' and the TV show 'CHiPs.'

That mixed with the fact that his grandparents are actress Anne Gwynne and former President of the Hollywood Bar Association Max M. Gilford, Pine really had no choice but to choose a career in acting.

Emily and Zooey Deschanel

Both Emily and Zooey Deschanel are on successful TV shows on Fox and Zooey can also claim a pretty great movie and music career.

But how did these two sisters get into the 'biz?

Their entertainment parents may have encouraged them. The Deschanel sisters' dad is cinematographer and director Caleb Deschanel, who has been nominated for the Best Cinematography Oscar five different times for films like 'The Patriot' and 'The Passion of the Christ.'

Mary Jo Deschanel, the sisters' mother, is also an actress who might be most recognisable from 'Twin Peaks' and the film 'The Right Stuff.'

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