It’s no secret that Americans of Russian descent have played an important role in the history of the United States, including politics, science, sports and the arts.
And there are countless actors and actresses whose roots stem from either Russia or former Soviet republics.
Here’s a list of 10 Hollywood stars with Russian roots:
Natalie Portman: Her mother is of partial Russian ancestry. Portman’s parents moved to Jerusalem (where she was born) from Kishinev, Moldova.
Leonardo DiCaprio: His maternal grandparents were Russian immigrants. Perhaps that influenced the actor’s decision to play famed Russian mystic Grigori Rasputin in an upcoming movie.
Mila Kunis: She is a Ukrainian-born actress who speaks fluent Russian. Her full name is Milena Markovna Kunis.
Lisa Kudrow: Her ancestors were of Belarusian descent. The name Kudrow means “curly hair” in Belarussian.
Harrison Ford: His maternal grandparents were immigrants from Belarus, when it was part of the Russian Empire.
Yul Brynner: Brynner, whose original name was Yuliy Borisovich Briner, was born in Vladivostok, Russia. A statue of him stands in the city with an inscription that reads: “Yul Brynner—king of theater and film”.
Natalie Wood: Born Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko, Wood’s parents were immigrants from Russia. She also spoke Russian, and once stated, “I’m very Russian, you know.”
Joan Rivers: Born to Russian immigrants, Rivers’ given name was Joan Alexandra Molinsky.
Milla Jovovich: Milica Nastasha Jovovich, the actress and model, was born in Kiev, Ukraine, when it was part of the Soviet Union. She, too, speaks Russian.
Michael Douglas: His famous father Kirk, whose original full name was Issur Danielovich-Demsky, is of Belarussian ancestry.