10 Celebrities You’d Never Guess are of Greek Descent

Betty White celebrities greek celebrity
Betty White is another celebrity who is shockingly Greek! Credit: Angela George/ Wikimedia Commons/CC-BY-SA-3.0

There are many celebrities that have Greek names and speak of their Greek heritage all of the time. However, there are also a bunch of famous people who are of Greek descent that might surprise you!

Let’s take a look at some of the most famous celebrities that are part Greek.

Hank Azaria is the grandchild of Jewish Greeks from Thessaloniki

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Hank Azaria with a fan in New York. The actor is of Greek Jewish descent. Credit: Greg 2600/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Hank Azaria has a Greek Jewish background, as both his maternal and paternal grandparents came from the city of Thessaloniki in northern Greece.

Before World War II, the city was home to a thriving population of Sephardic Jewish Greeks. During the Nazi Occupation of Greece, a significant portion of the city’s Jews were murdered at concentration camps in Europe.

Many of those who survived fled to the US or Israel.

The Greek-American celebrity is famous for his work on TV shows such as “The Simpsons,” where he voices many of the show’s iconic characters, and “Friends.”

Betty White, one of America’s most beloved celebrities, is of Greek descent

Surprisingly, everyone’s favorite “American sweetheart over 90”, Betty White, is of Greek descent, as her maternal grandfather was Greek.

She is famous for her acting on television shows such as “The Golden Girls” and “The Mary Tyler Moore Show.”

More recently, Betty starred in Pixar’s “Toy Story 4,” which put her back in the spotlight!

Angie Harmon

“Law and Order” star Angie Harmon is also of Greek descent! The beautiful celebrity was born in Texas to a Greek-American mother and German and Irish-American father.

The model and actress is also known for her role as the tough, brash Italian-American detective Jane Rizzoli in the hit show “Rizzoli & Isles,” which ended in 2016.

American Idol winner and TV host Kelly Clarkson has Greek heritage

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Kelly Clarkson performs during opening ceremonies for the 2018 Warrior Games. Credit: DoD News/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY 2.0

Kelly Clarkson was the winner of the first season hit reality television show “American Idol” which launched her career as a singer, songwriter and actress. Clarkson now hosts her own daytime talk show called “The Kelly Clarkson Show.”

What you might not know about the celebrity is that she is of Greek, Irish, Welsh, and German descent!

Comedian Tina Fey is Greek!

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Tina Fey is half-Greek. Credit: Mingle Media TV/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 2.0

Tina Fey, superstar actress and comedian known for her work on “30 Rock” and “Saturday Night Live,” was born to a Greek mother from Piraeus.

Fey’s real name is Elizabeth Stamatina Fey.

Rocker Tommy Lee was born in Athens

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Tommy Lee. Credit: Glenn Francis/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 3.0

Motley Crue drummer Tommy Lee is known for his rockstar lifestyle. What many may not know is that the musician was born in Athens to a Greek mother and American father.

His mother represented Greece in the Miss World beauty pageant in 1960.

Celebrity magician Criss Angel is Greek-American

World-famous celebrity magician Criss Angel is Greek!

Angel was born Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos in Long Island, New York. He

decided to pursue a career in magic rather than going to college — and, voila, he is one of the most popular magicians of his time!

Jennifer Aniston

Jennifer Aniston Greek Friends reunion
Jennifer Aniston. Credit: Angela George/Wikimedia Commons/ CC-BY-SA-3.0

You might think that everyone knows that the beautiful celebrity is Greek, however, some people are still surprised to hear it!

Jennifer Aniston’s father, John Aniston, was born Yiannis Anastassakis in Chania, Crete, but moved to the US as a very small child.

Like many Greek immigrants to America, he decided to shorten his name from Anastassakis to Aniston.

Aniston is also the god-daughter of the famous Greek-American actor Telly (Aristotelis) Savalas.

Rita Wilson, one of the most vocal celebrities of Greek descent

Tom Hanks and Rita Wilson celebrate their 33rd annivesary
Credit: Instagram/Rita Wilson

Although Rita Wilson is quite vocal about her love for Greece, and visits the country quite often with her husband Tom Hanks, many may not know that the actress is Greek herself.

Wilson’s mother Dorothea Tzigkou was Greek, born in Albania near the Greek border, and her father was Bulgarian and born in Greece, a member of the Pomak minority.

Legendary filmmaker Elia Kazan and granddaughter Zoe Kazan

Elia Kazan
Elia Kazan. Credit: Public Domain

Elia Kazan, born Ilias Kazantzoglou, is known for directing the classic films “A Streetcar Named Desire” and “On the Waterfront.” He was born in Istanbul and was of Greek descent.

The legendary director released the film “America America” about the journey of a Greek immigrant from Asia Minor to the US, a story that mirrored his own.

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Zoe Kazan. Credit: Bridget Laudien/Wikimedia Commons/CC BY-SA 4.0

His granddaughter Zoe is a screenwriter, actress and playwright, known for her role in the 2017 smash hit “The Big Sick.”


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