7 Celebrities Whose Parents Changed History Before Raising a Star
Our parents have fascinating stories. You probably remember those anecdotes that they told when they were younger, their bizarre adventures, their professions, and of course, “the good old days.” The parents of these celebrities are no exception. Before raising a Hollywood star, they also had their own moment to make history by doing what they were most passionate about.
We at Bright Side wanted to recognize those parents who not only raised a celeb, but in one way or another changed history forever and showed us that talent comes with genes.
1. Kylie and Kendall Jenner’s father: Bruce Jenner
Bruce Jenner, now known as Caitlyn Jenner, was a world record-breaking athlete before becoming part of the Kardashian family and having Kylie and Kendall Jenner, with his then-wife Kris Jenner. He was a famous American decathlete who represented his country several times in the Olympics and world competitions.
In 1976, during the Montreal Olympics, he set a “World Record” with a score of 8,618 points. Not only did his impressive results go down in history, but in 2015, he became the most well-known athlete to come out as transgender.
2. Glenn Close’s father: Dr. William Close
Famous for her acting skills and her lead role as Cruella de Vil in the 1996 film 101 Dalmatians, Glenn Close is the daughter of one of the most historically important doctors of the 1970s. Her father, Dr. William Taliaferro Close, stopped the Ebola hemorrhagic fever outbreak in Central Africa.
In 1976, when it began to spread in African regions, he was in charge of coordinating the efforts to contain it and devised an action plan that prevented its massive spread, saving thousands of lives. Dr. Close also served as personal physician to the President of Zaire, Mobutu Sese Seko.
3. Kanye West’s father: Ray West
When it comes to his father, rapper Kanye West is mostly secretive about him but, if anything, he has let us know that his dad is his best friend. Ray West was a member of an American organization founded to spread people’s rights.
Additionally, Ray West became the first photojournalist in his community to work for the Atlanta Constitution-Journal. He photographed important figures of the decade like President Ronald Reagan and the famous author Maya Angelou.
4. Katharine Hepburn’s mother: Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn
Katherine Hepburn is known as an icon of classic Hollywood. Nominated for several Oscars and winner of 4 Academy Awards, this famous actress found her inspiration in her mom. Katharine Martha Houghton Hepburn was an early 20th-century feminist role model, suffragette, and leader of the birth control movement.
From a very young age, she believed in the equality of women. In 1899, Hepburn’s mother graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and history and devoted her entire life to working for women’s rights. She became one of Connecticut’s most inspiring suffragettes.
Together with Margaret Sanger, she founded the Birth Control League of America, an organization now known as Planned Parenthood, which is the oldest and largest voluntary family planning organization in the United States.
5. Lenny Kravitz mother: Roxie Roker
Talented musician and producer, Lenny Kravitz, was raised by a strong woman who made a name for herself when racism was at its height in society and in the entertainment industry. Roxie Rocker was an African-Bahamian-American actress who was the first to portray an interracial couple on television in The Jeffersons alongside Franklin Cover.
She not only made her way in Hollywood, but she also worked for her community. She participated in movements in favor of children’s rights and showed an entire country that talent has no racial barriers.
6. Hugh Laurie’s father: Ran Laurie
In his biggest role as Dr. House, Hugh Laurie made a name for himself in acting. And we could speculate that his greatest inspiration to play a role as a doctor was his own father Ran Laurie.
He worked as a physician, but what led him to write his own name in the history books was that Ran became a renowned rowing athlete. In 1930, he won several titles in rowing, and in 1948, together with his partner Jack Wilson, they competed in the London Olympics winning gold in their home country.
7. Jack Black’s mother: Judith Love Cohen
Jack Black’s mother is a modern-day hero and her story reminds us that it is possible to save the world on the same day that you are giving birth to the next big Hollywood star. Judith Love Cohen was an aerospace engineer. With a deep love for math and science, she worked as an electrical engineer for the Hubble Space Telescope and for the TRW company on aerospace projects.
However, her most brilliant story was when Jack Black was born. On August 28, 1969, she left the office to go to the hospital but stopped on her way out to collect the documents she was working on. Later that same day, she solved the problem with the Abort-Guidance System, the master plan that was crucial to safely return the crew and rescue the Apollo 13 astronauts. All this just before giving birth.
Do your parents have a unique story to tell from before you were born? Share it with us!