Meet Hollywood’s greatest names with Ukrainian roots
Some of the world’s most famous directors, actors, actresses, and musicians trace their family back to Ukraine. We have compiled a list of just a few of them.
The world famous director, film producer and screenwriter visited Ukraine in 2008. One of his grandfathers came from Odesa and, the other, from a small village not far from Kamyanets-Podilsky. His favourite dish is allegedly Ukrainian borsch.
"I got off the plane today and said: I’m home!”, Spielberg once said at a press conference in Odesa.
Dustin Hoffman, Actor
Although the two-time Academy Award winner was born in Los Angeles, his family’s history is closely connected to Ukraine. Archives show Hoffman’s family members left for the U.S.A just before the start of World War One. His grandfather Frank returned to Ukraine to save his parents after learning pogroms against Jews by the Soviet secret police had begun near Bila Tserkva, 80km south of the Ukrainian capital. When he arrived, Frank suffered the same fate as Hoffman’s grandfather - arrest and execution. The multi-award winning actor discovered the remarkable story of his family in March 2016, during an episode of Finding Your Roots, broadcast on PBS. He was unable not hold back the tears, saying “They all survived for me to be here”.
Lenny Kravitz, Musician
He is one of the world’s most famous musicians. Kravitz’s father came from a Russian Jewish family, with roots in modern-day Ukraine. In 2008, he performed a concert in Kyiv and attempted to learn more about his ancestral homeland.
Milla Jovovich, Actress and model
The 40-year-old actress and model is one of the leading ladies in Hollywood. Jovovich was born in Kyiv to Russian actress Galina Loginova and Montenegrin doctor Bogdan Jovovich. Aged five, she left the Soviet Union together with her parents for London and subsequently to California. However, she hasn’t forgot her roots. On occasions, the star called herself Ukrainian and sung traditional folk songs.
Eugene Hutz, Musician and Actor
The front man of music group Gogol Bordello has Ukrainian and even gypsy origins. Perhaps that is why he made a journey through Europe and ended up in the U.S. Hutz began his way in Boyarka, which is not far from Kyiv. From a young age, Hutz spent a lot of time in Kyiv, and even visited his first rock concert there. After the Chernobyl nuclear disaster, Hutz began his travels. He has travelled around most of Europe. He currently lives in New York.
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