Rashida Jones and 10 Other Second-Generation Celeb Success Stories

Not every celeb with famous parents stumbled into fame – some had the goods to back it up

Photo: Slaven Vlasic/Getty Images

This week, the comedy series Angie Tribeca premiered on TBS. And while the show is the brainchild of a comedy power couple, Steve Carell and Nancy Walls Carell, star Rashida Jones is herself the daughter of two famous people: music producer Quincy Jones and Mod Squad actress Peggy Lipton. (They shot a scene together!)

In the past decade, Rashida Jones has made a name for herself in comedy, having acted in The Office and Parks and Recreation as well as films such as I Love You, Man and Celeste and Jesse Forever to the point that she gets a pass from the pooh-poohing that can sometimes follow celebrities who happen to descend from famous parents. She’s doing her own thing and doing it well.

Having showbiz parents can help up-and-coming performers, for sure, but it also creates a certain awkwardness in that those up-and-comers have to prove themselves – either by forging out in a direction different from their parents or by enduring Hollywood long enough to let fans know that they’re there on their own merits. After all, that initial bump only gets you so far, and there are plenty of famous offspring who never make it big.

While everyone knows about, say, the famous parents of Angelina Jolie, Gwyneth Paltrow and Kate Hudson, we’re taking a moment to look at some other celebs who’ve arguably cleared that hurdle of ,”Oh, they’re just famous because of their parents.”

1. Chris Pine

He plays the lead in the of one of the biggest movie franchises in recent years, but this Star Trek actor comes by his acting skills partly thanks to his parents. Chris Pine’s father, Robert Pine, played the commanding officer Sgt. Joseph Getraer on six seasons of the TV series CHiPs. Pine’s mother, Gwynne Gilford, acted through the ’70s and ’80s (even opposite her husband on CHiPs) and herself is the daughter of the 1940s actress Anne Gwynne. In 10 years of acting, however, Chris Pine may have become the biggest star in the family so far.

2. Zooey Deschanel

Zooey and her sister, Bones star Emily Deschanel, grew up around Hollywood. Their father, Caleb, is a director and cinematographer who’s a five-time Oscar nominee. Their mother, Mary Jo Deschanel, is an actress who is perhaps best remembered for her recurring role on Twin Peaks (on which Peggy Lipton starred). Zooey Deschanel, meanwhile, has used her family as a springboard to fame as a comedic lead on New Girl as well as a side career as a singer-songwriter in the duo She & Him. In short, she found her own thing and ran with it.

Zooey Deschanel Goes Makeup-Free!

3. Jason Schwartzman

Starting with his film debut in 1998’s Rushmore, Schwartzman has enjoyed a solid career, with roles in Saving Mr. Banks, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Big Eyes, among others. What casual fans sometimes don’t realize is that he is also the son of actress Talia Shire, who herself the sister of Francis Ford Coppola and therefore an aunt to director Sofia Coppola. Furthermore, Schwartzman’s father is the late movie producer Jack Schwartzman, whose credits include Never Say Never Again and Being There. At this point in his career, however, Jason Schwartzman can stand on his own.

4. Maya Rudolph

Longtime fans know that she can credit her stellar voice to her mother, the late singer Minnie Riperton. (You can even hear her singing Maya’s name in the 1975 hit “Lovin’ You.”) Her father, meanwhile, is music producer Richard Rudolph. Maya Rudolph, however, has found her success as a comedian and impressionist, first on Saturday Night Live and now in movies such as Bridesmaids and Sisters. We say this sketch alone – a perfect fusion of music and comedy – makes good on her family’s showbiz legacy.

5. Damon Wayans Jr.

Before he became a regular on New Girl with Deschanel, Damon Wayans Jr. had his big intro to the comedy world on the cult sitcom Happy Endings. It’s hard to hide the fact that you have one of the most famous family names in all of comedy, especially with that “Jr.” on the end of it, so he just embraced it and had Damon Wayans Sr. appear opposite him on the show. Since Happy Endings, the younger Wayans has forged a different comedic path than his relatives to the point that most people aren’t watching him and thinking In Living Color: The Next Generation.

6. Elle King

Sure, King only has one album to her name so far, but we’re saying the “Ex’s and Oh’s” singer gets a pass on having famous parents purely because people generally don’t know that she’s the daughter of SNL star Rob Schneider. She grew up out of the spotlight (though she did make a cameo in Deuce Bigalow: Male Gigolo) with her mother, former model London King. If more children of comedians want to grow up to become soulful rockers, we’re all for it.

7. Stella McCartney

The daughter of Paul McCartney and the late Linda McCartney, she could have easily followed her parents into the world of music. Stella McCartney sought to make her name famous in her own right, however. Since starting her own fashion house in 2001, she’s experienced continued commercial success, proving that creative potential in her family could cross into a new medium and that whatever initial boost she got from famous parents was matched by something special within herself.

8. Zoë Kravitz

Not only is she the daughter of actress Lisa Bonet and rocker Lenny Kravitz, her paternal grandmother is the late Jeffersons star Roxie Roker (which makes her a distant cousin of Today‘s Al Roker). And while Zoë Kravitz only made her film debut in 2007’s No Reservations, she’s since scored roles in X-Men: First Class, two Divergent movies and most recently Mad Max: Fury Road. At this point, we’re saying when people see her onscreen, they recognize her from her own previous film work and not just being the daughter of famous people. And she’s just getting started.

9. Kelly Osbourne

Hear us out on this one: There was a time when she used her famous name (and her family’s famous reality show) to record an album. Following that, however, Kelly Osbourne changed her public persona drastically to become a fashion plate and TV personality, competing admirably on her season of Dancing with the Stars and ultimately leveraging her stint on Fashion Police to greater stuff. For example, who would have guessed Kelly Osbourne would grow up to be not only a Project Runway judge but one who offers eloquent opinions? She does still make the occasional controversial comment – that, after all, is an Osbourne family tradition – but you can’t say she hasn’t found a niche in the pop culture landscape.

10. Tony Goldwyn

True, if people hold anything against Goldwyn, it’s that he did too good a job playing the villain in Ghost. Today, however, he’s best known for playing President Fitzgerald Grant III on Scandal. Maybe more than anyone else on this list, he has the business in his blood: He’s the daughter of actress Jennifer Howard and Samuel Goldwyn Jr., and the grandson of actress Frances Howard and the famed movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn – as in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, as in the “G” in “MGM.” Those are some serious showbiz legacy credentials, but today most people know him for his roles, not his status as a scion of one of the most famous families on Hollywood. Go, Fitz.

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