See that pretty boy up there? Does he remind you of anyone? Better yet, do you even know who he is? I do, because…well, he’s a pretty boy and I make it my business to keep up with the pretty boys. And men. And women. My life is very full, but never too full for beauty — we’re supposed to stop and smell the roses but if it’s the middle of winter and there are no roses, we must amuse ourselves with pretty pictures.
Anyway, I’m sure there was a point to all this. Oh yes, famously related people we don’t know are related. While doing my very important Pajiba research, I often stumble upon little tidbits that surprise me. Sometimes it’s porn, sometimes not; some things can be shared and others… For instance, when I searched for an image on that actor in the header pic, there were plenty of naked posterior shots. I didn’t mind too much; I do what I have to in the name of a seriously random list. So here you go, in no discernible order, the top five unknown Hollywood relations:
5. Your mission, Phelps, is to uncover your brother:
Star of the real (I refuse to acknowledge Tom Cruise’s version) “Mission Impossible,” Golden Globe and Emmy winner, Peter Graves managed to hide the fact that he had a famous brother: “Gunsmoke” Marshal Matt Dillon himself, James Arness. Graves had a fantastic career right up until his death at age 83, starring in both television and in films like Stalag 17, The Night of the Hunter, Airplane! and a number of cameos in Men in Black II, Addams Family Values and House on Haunted Hill. Emmy nominated, Arness, in addition to heading up “Gunsmoke” and “How the West Was Won,” also dabbled in film (Them!, The Thing and several outings with pal John Wayne, including The Sea Chase).
4. The “Star Trek” connection: Chris Pine:
Who knew? Even with the same last names, I never put these two together. Long before baby-faced Chris Pine won the coveted role of Captain James T. Kirk in Underdog’s film version of Star Trek, his daddy, Robert had guest starring roles on both “Star Trek: Enterprise” and “Star Trek: Voyager.” But Robert Pine is likely best known for his role as Sergeant Joseph Getraer on the television series “CHiPs”; since then he has made appearances in many shows and films including “Six Feet Under,” Independence Day, Lost in Space, Lakeview Terrace and “Big Love.” Young Chris’s film career seems to be ripe for take-off and he has several upcoming roles, including reprising Kirk in the 2012 Star Trek sequel.
3. Jennifer Jason Leigh, you’ve just entered The Twilight Zone:
Apropos of nothing, it’s really hard to find a picture of Jennifer Jason Leigh happily smiling. I might be related to her myself. But no, turns out that she of Single White Female and Margot at the Wedding fame is actually the daughter of Vic Morrow. Morrow was a pretty big television actor, heading up a show called “Combat!” in the 60s, then guest roles on “Mannix,” “Mission Impossible,”Charlie’s Angels” and “Roots.” He appeared in a couple of films, Dirty Mary, Crazy Larry, The Bad News Bears, but his career was cut short when he (along with two child actors) was tragically killed in a horrific accident during the filming of Twilight Zone: The Movie. I suppose people might wonder if Morrow’s death affected Jennifer’s acting, but let’s be honest — she was already digging in the dirt. Still, knowing your father was decapitated might affect your film role choices (eXistenZ) and your ability to smile. Jason-Leigh’s mother, Barbara Turner, is also a screenwriter who has dabbled in acting (Margot at the Wedding)
2. To the Moon, Jason Patric!:
Jason Patric is the son of Academy Award nominated actor and Pulizer Prize winning playwright, Jason Miller (That Championship Season, The Exorcist) and the grandson of television legend, Jackie Gleason (“The Honeymooners,” The Hustler, Smokey and the Bandit II, Nothing in Common). Patric started off his career by appearing in Solarbabies and The Lost Boys and he then famously ran off with Julia Roberts when she dumped Kiefer Sutherland. But apparently Kiefer didn’t hold a grudge (bullet dodged, dude) as he and Patric have remained friends and are getting ready to appear together on Broadway in the 2011 revival of his father’s play. Patric’s pedigree and talent should have spawned a better career than it has; he did receive accolades for his performance in Your Friends & Neighbors and Expired.
1. Number One and Laura:
Man, I don’t care if I lose all my street cred, this one rocks my world. (Street cred? Who am I kidding?) Back when my grandmother was still alive, she watched her “stories” every day — right after lunch and a nap (smart woman). When I spent summers at her house, drowning myself in meatballs and cakes and pies, I’d join in and hey, who knew bad acting was addictive? In the 80s, I guess everyone did, because everyone watched “General Hospital” or at least knew who Luke and Laura (Genie Francis) were.
In one of the most crazy, controversial love stories ever told, Laura fell in love with and married her rapist and the world stopped to watch. Later on down the 80s road, a little show called “Star Trek: The Next Generation caused women around the world to crush on either Jean-Luc Picard or Number One, Commander William T. Riker (Jonathan Frakes) — or both. Somewhere in the middle, Frakes and Francis met working together on a nightime cheese fest called “Bare Essence.” The two got married and have been together ever since.
Everybody say, “Aaaaaw!” Frakes has gone on to direct a couple of Star Trek films (First Contact, Insurrection) and executive produce “Roswell.” Francis (whose father Ivor was also an actor) sporadically appears in cable movies and seems to return to “GH” every few years.
So there you have it. Buried among the Baldwins and the Estevez/Sheens are the hidden connections, many of them to stars of years gone by. But it’s pretty cool to discover that say, Rebecca De Mornay used to be Ryan O’Neal’s daughter-in-law and Deborah Winger used to be married to Timothy Hutton and is currently married to Arliss Howard (Full Metal Jacket, “Medium”). Peace out, y’all. I’ve got to get back to my “research.”