Among the many criticisms hurled at the young cast of HBO’s “Girls” (and particularly its star and creator, Lena Dunham), the ridiculous charge of “nepotism” struck me as the most inane.
You can’t throw a Louboutin in Hollywood without hitting SOMEONE’s daughter. In fact, I’m pretty sure being someone’s daughter is actually a prerequisite for dating Brad Pitt. “Girls” starts its second season in January and I, for one, welcome the return because, by the end of season one, Dunham’s seemingly pampered world view revealed itself to be a well-honed critique she turned on herself. Think “Louie” with marginally fewer masturbation jokes. If “Girls” ain’t your cup of tea, that’s fine. But cram the nepotism crap up your cramhole. Unless, of course, you’re willing to write off the following TV actors as well.
Melissa McCarthy — “Mike and Molly”: McCarthy got her acting start with a small role on her cousin Jenny McCarthy’s sitcom.
Tony Goldwyn — “Scandal”: Though he’s perhaps best known as the weaselly bad guy from Ghost, he’ll always be the voice of Disney’s Tarzan to me. These days Goldwyn is steaming up the Oval Office windows on “Scandal,” but his famous surname (putting the “G” in MGM since 1924) should give you hint of how he got his start.
Mariska Hargitay — “Law & Order: SVU”: If your mother was the glorious Jayne Mansfield (subject of my favorite photos ever), you’d be confident in your sexuality too.
Campbell Scott — “Royal Pains”: First of all, Campbell Scott, it hurts me that you’re on this show. Secondly, Scott is, of course, the son of George C. Scott and Colleen Dewhurst. What would happen if Marilla Cuthbert and Patton had a baby, you ask? This.
Damon Wayans Jr. — “Happy Endings”: Don’t worry, I know you already knew this one.
Kyra Sedgwick — “The Closer: Kyra Sedgwick is, of course, half of one of Hollywood’s most enduring and enduringly adorable couples. But did you know that she’s also the cousin of Edie Sedgwick aka the Factory Girl? Yeah I don’t know how much that helped Kyra in her career, but it was a bit of oddness I wanted to share.
Martha Plimpton — “Raising Hope”: Despite using her mother’s last name, Martha Plimpton is a Carradine. Daughter of Keith, niece of David and Robert. So, her father’s character on “Deadwood,” Wild Bill Hickok, was shot by Garret Dillahunt who now plays her husband on “Raising Hope.” Sticky.
Timothy Hutton — “Leverage”: Hutton won the Academy Award in 1980 for Ordinary People, but got his start in the business due, in part, to the pedigree of his father, 1960s film star Jim Hutton. P.S. The image below has forever ruined Beautiful Girls for me.
Minka Kelly — “Friday Night Lights”/”Charlie’s Angels”: Ol’ Lyla Garrity here is the daughter of former Aerosmith guitarist, Rick Dufay. Not impressive? Oh I’d say it’s a pretty close match to the daughter of Bad Company’s drummer.
Juliet Landau — “Buffy The Vampire Slayer”: Though Drusilla hasn’t been working steadily in TV for quite some time now, I somehow never put it together that she’s Martin Landau’s daughter. Which makes me a bad Whedonite, I know.
The Sisters Deschanel — “Bones”/”New Girl”: Their father is an Academy Award-winning cinematographer and their mother was a series regular on “Twin Peaks.”
Emily Mortimer — “The Newsroom”: Americans and non-bookish types may not have heard of Emily Mortimer’s father, John. But, trust me, he was super famous, chiefly for his “Rumpole of the Bailey” book series. For simplicity’s sake, let’s inaccurately call him the British John Grisham.
Mamie Gummer — “Emily Owens, MD”: Gummer is, don’t get me wrong, very talented. And I give her major points for not using her mother’s last name. But that doesn’t change the fact that she’s Meryl Streep’s daughter and that fact alone must have opened many doors for her. Oh and no, if you’re wondering, her show is not very good. Yes, she falls down a lot. She should stick to kicking *ss on “The Good Wife.”
Rashida Jones — “Parks & Recreation”: Being Quincy Jones’ daughter cannot have hurt this beautiful tropical fish.
Richard Belzer — “Law & Order”: Is the Fonz’s cousin.
Dakota Johnson — “Ben & Kate”: Dakota is adorable on the new Fox sitcom and I hope her show sticks around. She also happens to be Don Johnson and Melanie Griffith’s daughter. Maybe that will help.
Anderson Cooper — “Anderson Cooper 360°”: Cooper is Gloria Vanderbilt’s son. I’m pretty sure her genes were enough to get him anywhere he wanted to go.
Abby Elliott — “SNL: First person to ever be a second generation “SNL” cast member. I never liked Elliott on the show and am glad she’s gone. But, then again, I felt the same way about her dad Chris.
Bryan Cranston — “Breaking Bad”: Yup, the king of television himself, Bryan Cranston, comes an actor/producer family in Hollywood. Are they anyone I’ve ever heard of? Nope. But, then again, I hadn’t heard of Laurie Simmons before either.
(This is, by no means, an exhaustive list. And if I had but time enough, I would have included all the Capshaws, Derns and Caans you could possibly hope for.)