AARP Eye Center
Entertainment media has been abuzz the past few months with talk of “nepo babies,” celebrities’ children who benefited (we might assume) from nepotism. The latest class of A-listers with celebrity parents includes Dakota Johnson and Zoë Kravitz, but multigenerational acting clans are a tale as old as Hollywood itself, going back all the way to the Barrymores. For every Kate Hudson, Jamie Lee Curtis or Laura Dern, there’s a newcomer who you might not have realized hails from an industry family. Here are 11 second-generation stars to keep on your radar.
Her famous dad: Phil Collins
If you’ve spent any time swooning over Netflix’s light-as-a-soufflé comedy Emily in Paris, you may have been taken with the coltish charms of Lily Collins. The 33-year-old actress, who starred as Snow White in Mirror Mirror, is the daughter of Rock & Roll Hall of Famer Phil Collins, 72, and in the show’s most recent season, she followed in her father’s musical footsteps with an earnest cover of Burt Bacharach’s “Alfie.” Lily Collins recently married another “nepo baby”: Her husband, director Charlie McDowell, is the son of Malcolm McDowell, 79, and Mary Steenburgen, 70.
Watch it: Emily in Paris on Netflix
John David Washington
His famous dad: Denzel Washington
Denzel Washington’s son made his screen debut as a child actor in Malcolm X, and after a brief foray into college- and professional football, John David, now 38, made his way back to the family business, earning a Golden Globe nomination for Spike Lee’s BlackKkKlansman. Last year, he made his Broadway debut in August Wilson’s The Piano Lesson, and Denzel has expressed interest in bringing the play to the big screen. You may have also seen the younger Washington in the 2022 David O. Russell comedy thriller Amsterdam, in which he plays a World War II veteran and lawyer.
Watch it: Amsterdam on HBO Max, Prime Video
Her famous parents: Laurie Metcalf and Jeff Perry
On The Big Bang Theory, Laurie Metcalf, 67, earned an Emmy nomination for playing Sheldon Cooper’s mother, Mary. When producers were looking to cast a younger Mary for the prequel series, Young Sheldon, they didn’t have to look far: They went with Zoe Perry, 39, daughter of Metcalf and Jeff Perry, 67, who cofounded the Steppenwolf Theatre Company and later starred as White House chief of staff Cyrus Beene on Scandal. Zoe’s sitcom son, teen actor Iain Armitage, also comes from a theatrical family; his father is Tony-nominated Broadway star Euan Morton, who is stealing scenes as King George III in Hamilton.
Watch it: Young Sheldon on Apple TV, HBO Max, Paramount+, Prime Video
AARP Membership — $12 for your first year when you sign up for Automatic Renewal
Get instant access to members-only products and hundreds of discounts, a free second membership, and a subscription to AARP The Magazine.
His famous parents: Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan
The son of Dennis Quaid, 68, and Meg Ryan, 61, can be seen in his breakout role as civilian tech specialist Hughie Campbell in the Prime Video superhero series The Boys, after appearing in The Hunger Games, Scream and HBO’s Vinyl. Next up, Quaid, 30, is set to play theoretical physicist Richard Feynman in the splashy Christopher Nolan–directed biopic Oppenheimer, which is generating Oscar buzz months before its release. Bonus nepo baby: Among Oppenheimer’s sprawling cast is Swedish actor Gustaf Skarsgård, one of four actor sons of Stellan Skarsgård, 71.
Watch it: The Boys on Apple TV, Prime Video
Her famous mom: Meryl Streep
If you watched the HBO period drama The Gilded Age, you may have had a twinge of recognition every time the character Marian Brook, the penniless niece of the two main characters, came on screen. That’s because she’s the sister of actresses Mamie and Grace Gummer — and, oh yeah, the daughter of Meryl Streep, 73. Unlike her sisters, the 31-year-old Yale School of Drama grad couldn’t take the last name of her father, sculptor Don Gummer, 76, because there was already a Louisa Gummer in the Screen Actors Guild.
Watch it: The Gilded Age on Apple TV, HBO Max, Prime Video
His famous dad: Bill Pullman
If a global box office of nearly $1.5 billion is any indication, there’s a good chance you were one of the many, many movie lovers who saw last year’s Top Gun: Maverick, which is nominated for six Oscars, including best picture. Among the sequel’s new class of pilots is a nepo baby who’s just starting to take off at age 30: The bespectacled Lt. Robert “Bob” Floyd is played by the son of Bill Pullman, 69. He’ll get an even bigger showcase when he takes on the lead role in the upcoming film adaptation of Stephen King’s 1975 vampire novel Salem’s Lot.
Watch it: Top Gun: Maverick on Apple TV, Paramount+, Prime Video