AARP Eye Center
TV’s original genealogy hunter — Harvard professor Henry Louis Gates Jr., 68 — returns to Finding Your Roots, Season 5, on PBS Jan. 8 at 8 p.m. ET (check local listings for airing dates of each episode), to help celebrities learn about their fascinating forebears. Last season, Carly Simon, 73, found out her grandmother was not the illegitimate daughter of the king of Spain, as her nana had claimed. Now, Gates and his team of genetics and history experts dips into the gene pools of 25 more celebs, including actresses Marisa Tomei, 54, and Law & Order favorite S. Epatha Merkerson, 66, news personalities Michael Strahan, 47, and Ann Curry, 62, politicians Paul Ryan, 48, and Marco Rubio, 47, goofy comedians Andy Samberg, 40, and Sarah Silverman, 48, newsmakers Michael Moore, 64, and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg, 49, and Game of Thrones novelist George R.R. Martin, 70, whose family tree sprouts a new branch he hadn't known — we hope they're royalty, but we'll see.
Gates, who helped popularize today’s DNA-kit craze, tells AARP about some of the most emotional moments in Season 5, and he cries when he tells us about his own newfound ancestor.
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Unknown mom found
Even private investigators couldn’t help ex-SNL comic Andy Samberg find the biological parents of his mother, Marjorie, who was adopted. But in the Jan. 8 premiere, Gates surprises Andy and Marjorie with a photo ... of Marjorie’s long-lost mother. “Andy’s mom has a speech impediment, so she signs,” says Gates. “She let out a moan of anguish, combined with sublime exhilaration — it’s one of the most haunting things that I have ever heard. Andy and I just froze while she processed the fact that we had found her mother. And then we found her father, too. After all these years.”