Actors, actresses, directors & producers of Ukrainian descent

From FB page: News from and about Ukraine in English.

IMDb

Stallone, Spielberg , Hoffman..one thing in common…all of Ukrainian descent

“Finally I’m on a native land”, these are the words said by the holder of two Oscars, film director, screenwriter, and producer Steven Spielberg when he arrived in Ukraine for the first time. The reason is that both filmmakers’ grandfathers lived in Ukraine.

Vera FarmigaActress | Up in the Air

Her parents are Ukrainians. Mother – Lubomyra Spas, father – Mykhailo (Michael) Farmiga. She did not speak English until the age of six because was raised with Ukrainian as her native language. In her teens Vera Farmiga was a member of Ukrainian folk-dancing ensemble “Syzokryli” and also was a member of Plast, the Ukrainian Scouts organization. When Farmiga was twelve years old she began attend Ukrainian Greek Catholic school. Her name in Ukrainian pronounced VEE-ra and is written in Cyrillic “Віра” (it means “faith”).


Jack PalanceActor | Shane

His original name was Volodymyr Palahniuk. The last name Palance was actually a derivative of his original name. In an episode of “What’s My Line?” he described how no one could pronounce Palahniuk and that’s why he decided to just use Palance instead. His parents were Ukrainian immigrants Anna Gramiak and Ivan Palahniuk from Lviv and Ternopil regions. Jack Palance spoke Ukrainian fluently. The Hollywood Trident Foundation was formed in 2001 under Jack Palance’s leadership to facilitate contact among professionals working in the entertainment industry who are interested in Ukrainian affairs. In 2004 Palance rejects Russian award of Russian Film Festival in Hollywood declaring “I’m Ukrainian, not Russian”. He refused to accept the award even in private. Chuck Palahniuk, a novelist, is a distant nephew of the actor.


Katheryn WinnickActress | Vikings

She spoke Ukrainian as her first language and did not begin speaking English until she was eight years old. Katheryn Winnick was attending regularly Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Ukrainian school at weekends. She also was a member of Plast, the Ukrainian Scouts organization, until the age of 17. Her grandparents from both sides were Ukrainians from Lviv and Ternopil regions. Her birth name – Katerena Anna Vinitska. The word “winnick” pronounced in Ukrainian means “winemaker”.


Milla JovovichActress | Resident Evil: Afterlife

She was born in Kiev, Ukraine. Her Serbian father, Bogdan Jovovich, was a medical doctor in Kiev. There, he met her mother, Galina Loginova, a Russian actress. At the age of 5 Milla emigrated with her parents first to the United Kingdom and then to the United States. In April 1994 Milla Jovovich released her first folk rock album “The Divine Comedy” with a cover version of the Ukrainian folk song “In a Glade” (original title “Oy u hayu pri Dunayu” – in Ukrainian “Ой у гаю при Дунаю”). Slant Magazine said about the album: “The final track, ‘In a Glade’, is a beautiful traditional Ukrainian folk song that Milla sings in her native tongue.” In summer 1994 PAPER (magazine) wrote about Milla Jovovich: “Her Ukrainian heritage is one topic that can transfrom the good-time cool girl into a sentimental innocent exuding neough vulnerability to get you all teary-eyed and sappy.” Personal Quotes: “I am a strong Ukrainian girl, that is why I work a lot.” Jovovich established a charitable foundation in 2005 to help Ukrainian children. In February 2014 during the Ukrainian revolution Milla wrote on her Facebook page: “I wonder what more I can do to help my people struggling in the Ukraine right now… and you better believe I will find out what I can personally do for the victims of the violence in the Ukraine.” And a few days later: “Update on the Ukrainian Protest: “…i know it was highly educational for me to go through these threads to know more about what is happening during this fight for freedom in the Ukraine right now.”


Mike MazurkiActor | It’s a Mad Mad Mad Mad World

He was born Markiyan (Mykhailo) Mazurkevych in Kupchyntsi, Kozova Raion, near what was then Tarnopol, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Ternopil, Ukraine). Mike Mazurki was from an ethnic Ukrainian family. He emigrated with his family to the United States at the age of six. Upon finishing school, he changed his name Markiyan to “Mike”. From school was fond of recitation as in English so in Ukrainian. Mike Mazurki attended Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Vladimir in Los Angeles.


John HodiakActor | Lifeboat


Olga KurylenkoActress | Quantum of Solace


Anna StenActress | Devushka s korobkoy


Mylène DemongeotActress | Les sorcières de Salem


Taissa FarmigaActress | The Final Girls


Matt CzuchryActor | The Resident


Larisa OleynikActress | 10 Things I Hate About You


Lee StrasbergActor | The Godfather: Part II


Sylvester StalloneActor | Rocky


Steven SpielbergProducer | Schindler’s List


Nick AdamsActor | Kaijû daisensô


Vera KholodnayaActress | Zhizn za zhizn


Dustin HoffmanActor | Tootsie


Elisabeth BergnerActress | The Rise of Catherine the Great


Mark IvanirActor | The Good Shepherd


George DzundzaActor | Basic Instinct


Paul MuniActor | Scarface


Hedy LamarrActress | Samson and Delilah


Erika EleniakActress | Under Siege


Anatole LitvakDirector | The Snake Pit


John SpencerActor | The West Wing


Danny KayeSoundtrack | The Danny Kaye Show


Louis B. MayerProducer | The Great Secret


Leonard NimoyActor | Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home


Zoë WanamakerActress | My Week with Marilyn


David DuchovnyActor | The X Files


Xenia DesniActress | Der Turm des Schweigens


Tatiana MaslanyActress | Perry Mason


Tamara DesniActress | Send for Paul Temple


Bob DylanSoundtrack | Renaldo and Clara


Andy WarholDirector | Chelsea Girls


Edward DmytrykDirector | The Caine Mutiny


Natalie WoodActress | Rebel Without a Cause


Julia DavisWriter | Medal of Honor


Kacey CisykSoundtrack | You Light Up My Life


Chuck PalahniukWriter | Fight Club


Leonardo DiCaprioActor | Inception


Gal GadotActress | Wonder Woman 1984


Mila KunisActress | Black Swan


Lenny KravitzActor | The Hunger Games


Zoë KravitzActress | Mad Max: Fury Road


Stella AdlerActress | Shadow of the Thin Man


Maya DerenDirector | Meshes of the Afternoon


Vadim PerelmanDirector | House of Sand and Fog


Bex Taylor-KlausActress | Voltron: Legendary Defender


Seth RogenProducer | This Is the End

2 comments

    • The ancestors of these people were driven out by Russian pogroms. Many, like Bob Dylan, came from Odessa.
      Imagine the $billions in taxation that they made for the US.
      I really think that phenomenally rich people like Spielberg, Dylan etc ought to think about making donations to the Ukrainian armed forces. Or if they prefer, to the families of putler’s murder victims.

      Liked by 3 people

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