The wealthy and privileged are the American equivalent of British royalty – they get special treatment and can seemingly do whatever they wish. Nowhere is this more apparent than with famous entertainers. In some cases, talent is not even required to join this group.
Parents always desire success for their children, and when a child’s parents are famous it comes as no surprise when they wish to follow in their parents’ footsteps. Some of these children try to make a name for themselves independently, but many others use their parents’ names and/or connections to further their own career
Donald Sutherland – Kiefer Sutherland (Actors): Papa Sutherland started his career in the early 60s and made his name in the war films MASH and Kelly’s Heroes. Kiefer was born in 1966 and grew up watching his father in his prime. Some of Donald’s best work came later in his career playing father figures. Kiefer earned a small part in the Rob Reiner film Stand By Me, and used his strong performance to land roles in The Lost Boys and Young Guns. He worked consistently in the 90s, landing the role that he is most know for, Jack Bauer in TV’s 24. Both men are talented actors with a wide range of film and television credits to their name; Donald has had more critical success, winning two Golden Globes, but Kiefer has had more popular success.
Bob Dylan – Jakob Dylan (Musicians): There’s no doubt that Bob Dylan is more successful than his son, Jakob. In fact, few people know who Jakob Dylan is. He is the lead singer for rock band The Wallflowers, most famous for their 1996 hit single “One Headlight.” Bob rose to fame in the 1960s as a symbol of the sweeping social changes occurring in America. “Blowin’ in the Wind” and “All Along the Watchtower” are two of his most famous songs. In my opinion, Jakob creates more entertaining music, but his father has certainly been more successful.
Jon Voight – Angelina Jolie (Actors): Talk about a dysfunctional family. Angelina’s parents split up when she was one year old, and she was raised by her mother. Voight and Angelina attempted to reconcile several times, most recently in 2010, and have also had several public falling outs. Both actors have received an Academy Award and three Golden Globes, but Angelina has become a much bigger box-office draw than her father, especially in the last decade. Recently, his most successful role has been as Nicolas Cage’s father in the National Treasure film series. Jon Voight has had a successful career in Hollywood, but he never achieved the level of stardom that his daughter has.
Martin Sheen – Charlie Sheen – Emilio Estevez (Actors): A lot of people don’t know that Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez are brothers. Charlie’s real name is Carlos Irwin Estevez, and he is the youngest and most successful of Martin’s children. Most recently he has been in the news for his off-kilter antics, but before that he was working steadily as the highest paid actor on TV. Emilio’s career has slowed down since the middle of the 90s, but he was a popular face in the 80s with The Outsiders, Repo Man, and The Breakfast Club. He later went on to star in the popular Disney franchise, The Mighty Ducks. Martin is considered the best “serious” actor of the three, winning an Emmy for his work on The West Wing and picking his projects with more care than his sons. Martin is also well known for his political views and activism. Overall, Charlie’s career has eclipsed that of his father and older brother.
Some other notable famous families include Tom and Colin Hanks, Elvis and Lisa Marie Presley, Miley and Billy Ray Cyrus, Kate Hudson and Goldie Hawn, and Bryce Dallas and Ron Howard.
Sometimes talent runs in the family, and sometimes famous children likely would never have made a name for themselves without their parents help. One wonders how these individuals, talented as they may be, would have fared had they been born to “regular” parents.