Although the population of Lithuania is just under 3 million, Lithuania gave the world many stellar personalities that have and continue to impress, entertain and influence the world.
Here is our selection of 6 famous people you may not have suspected to have Lithuanian roots.
An incredibly successful musician and artist. For more than five decades, Dylan has been touring consistently since 1980 and plays guitar, piano, and harmonica. He has won innumerable awards, including the Nobel prize in literature, and has gained worldwide recognition for his genius.
Bob Dylan was born Robert Allen Zimmerman on May 24, 1941, in Duluth, Minnesota. Dylan’s father was Abram Zimmerman, whose parents were Russian Jews that emigrated as a result of anti-semitic pogroms in 1905. His maternal grandparents were Jewish-Lithuanians who emigrated in 1902.
Charles Bronson was born to a very poor Lithuanian migrant family in Ehrenfeld, Pennsylvania, in 1921. He went on to become one of the most iconic movie stars of the 20th century. His mother was born in America to Lithuanian parents. His father, born in the Lithuanian town of Druskininkai, was a Lithuanian Lipka Tatar, meaning he was a descendant of Mongolians. Bronson spoke only Lithuanian and Russian until he was a teenager. After learning to speak English in his teens, he went on to become one of the most recognizable US actors of his generation.
Born Alecia Beth Moore in Pennsylvania, Pink has strong Lithuanian roots with her mother a Litvak, or Lithuanian Jew, with roots leading back to Lithuania’s capital Vilnius. She has described her background as “Irish-German-Lithuanian-Jew”. The internationally famous US singer, songwriter, dancer and actress, Pink has won three Grammy Awards, a Brit Award and six MTV Video Music Awards. In 2009, Billboard named Pink as one of the Pop Artists of the Decade and was the second most-played female solo artist in the United Kingdom during the 2000s decade, behind Madonna.
John C. Reilly
The American comedian, actor, and singer who for some is best known for co-starring with Will Ferrell in popular Hollywood comedies was the fifth of six children born to a Lithuanian mother and an Irish father on the south side of Chicago.
John C. Reilly is well known for his roles in What’s Eating Gilbert Grape (1993), The Hours (2002), Chicago (2002), and more.
Anthony Kiedis, the energetic singer of the alternative rock group, was born on November 1, 1962, in Grand Rapids, Michigan. His paternal grandfather’s family emigrated from Lithuania in the early 1900s; the remainder of his ancestry includes Irish, English, French, and Dutch. Anthony Kiedis is the lead singer of the Red Hot Chili Peppers. Their breakthrough alternative rock album, 1991’s BloodSugarSexMagik, sold more than 4 million copies.
The famous US actor Sean Penn, the two-time Oscar winner, appears to have Lithuanian roots. With his Litvak (Lithuanian Jewish) grandfather. Penn was born in Los Angeles on August 27th, 1960. His paternal grandparents were Jewish-Lithuanians. His mother is of Catholic Irish-Italian descent. Penn’s grandfather was at that time not called Penn, but Pinon, and was born in 1897 on October 12 in the picturesque town of Merkinė in the south of Lithuania.