James Franco

by ethnic on March 26, 2008

james franco Photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: James Edward Franco

Place of Birth: Santa Clara, California, United States

Date of Birth: April 19, 1978

*Portuguese/Madeiran, Swedish (father)
*Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

James Franco is an American actor, director, producer, and writer. He became famous for his role as Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man movies. He is the brother of Tom and actor Dave Franco.

James is the son of Betsy (Verne) and Douglas Eugene Franco. His father ran a Silicon Valley business, and his mother is a writer and actress. James’s father was of half Portuguese/Madeiran and half Swedish descent. James’s mother is Jewish (of Russian Jewish, German Jewish, Polish Jewish, and Lithuanian Jewish descent). James has said, “I’m Jewish, my mother’s Jewish”, although he is not religious. In 2015, he had an official Bar Mitzvah ceremony, presided by a rabbi of the Reform denomination.

James’s paternal grandfather was Daniel Franco, Jr. (the son of Daniel Franco and Eugénia Baptista). James’s grandfather Daniel was born in Illinois, to Portuguese emigrants, from the Madeira islands. James’s great-grandfather Daniel was the son of João Franco and Maria de Mendonça. James’s great-grandmother Eugénia was the daughter of João Baptista and Carlota de Freitas.

James’s paternal grandmother is Marjorie J. Peterson (the daughter of Claus Fredolph Peterson and Martha Louise Rehn). James’s grandmother Marjorie Franco was born in Illinois, and is a children’s author. Claus was born in Illinois, to Swedish parents, Carl Magnus Peterson and Amelia Bernadette Ackerman. Martha was also born in Illinois, to Swedish parents, Edward Anderson Rehn and Anna Louise Knall.

James’s maternal grandfather was Daniel Surad Verovitz/Verne (the son of Carroll Verovitz and Bessie G. Surad). Daniel was born in Ohio. Carroll was born in Chicago, Illinois. Carroll’s father, Harry/Harris David Verovitz, was a Russian Jewish immigrant. Carroll’s mother, Mary Harris, was born in Ohio, to a German Jewish father and a Polish Jewish mother. Bessie was born in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of Philip Surad and Mary Shank, who were Jewish emigrants from Russia.

James’s maternal grandmother was Marcella Ruth “Mitzie” Levine (the daughter of Emanuel “Manuel” Levine and Jessie Bialosky). Marcella was born in Ohio, and owned the Verne Art Gallery, a prominent art gallery in Cleveland. Emanuel was a noted judge in Cleveland; he was born in Vilna, Lithuania, to Jewish parents, David J. Levine and Michelle Corban. Jessie was born in Ohio, the daughter of Louis Bialosky and Rebecca Shapiro, who were Polish Jewish immigrants.

Sources: Genealogies of James Franco – http://familypedia.wikia.com

James’s paternal grandfather, Daniel Franco, Jr., on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s paternal grandmother, Marjorie J. Peterson, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal grandfather, Daniel Surad Verovitz, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Harry/Harris David Verovitz, on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal grandmother, Marcella Ruth “Mitzie” Levine, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal great-grandmother, Jessie Bialosky, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Helga Esteb / Shutterstock.com

{ 94 comments… read them below or add one }

Ardor February 8, 2017 at 6:25 pm

Hello gorgeous.

phaedra May 11, 2016 at 8:54 pm

Can easily pass as full Portuguese or Jewish.

andrew October 9, 2015 at 7:21 pm

He has stated to have roots in Madeira Island


xoxo August 15, 2015 at 4:24 am

He used to be good-looking when he was younger, he looks ugly now. His brother looks way better.

Capricious October 9, 2015 at 12:53 am

Really??? I thought hes getting hotter as he’s ageing.

I didn’t find him attractive in Tristan + Isolde though. Dunno why.

ashash April 1, 2015 at 12:52 pm

He looks Arab. He is quite dark.

Capricious April 2, 2015 at 7:08 pm

He is not that dark. He is very olive-skinned or tanned. He looks full Lebanese or Syrian to me. He could also pass as an Assyrian or Turkish (especially the latter)…

I’m Middle Eastern (Assyrian) and I’m lighter than him – We range in colour.

visokozen April 30, 2015 at 3:18 am

Probably smells like an Arab as well.

Oliver Hill April 3, 2017 at 7:00 am

did you know that some people get a tan on purpose?

bearboy November 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm

English roots I meant

bearboy November 17, 2014 at 6:59 pm

Great, funny actor! By his appearance would have thought he was more than 25% mediterranean. Wouldn’t have thought he had Ashkenazi Jewish and Swedish roots.

Check7t November 17, 2014 at 7:04 pm

There are a lot of Ashkenazi Jews who are Mediterranean in appearance.

follers November 17, 2014 at 7:06 pm

His “mediterranean” look comes from his mother. His father had a lighter complexion.


His father looked like Steny Hoyer, the congressman.

“Franco” can be a Sephardi Jewish last name.

bearboy November 17, 2014 at 7:12 pm

Good point Check7t and is it possible follers that anyone on his paternal lineage was Sephardi Jewish? Sorry if the way I phrased the comment offended anyone didn’t know what his ethnicity was until now.

follers November 17, 2014 at 7:14 pm

A lot of people of Portuguese and Spanish ancestry have Sephardi Jewish roots of some sort. So it’s possible even without the last name. But his ancestry in Portugal is hard to trace from here.

Drew Barrymore’s mother-in-law is a Sephardi Jew surnamed “Franco”.

bearboy November 17, 2014 at 7:20 pm

But by that first statement wouldn’t all our English presidents (descended from King Edward III) be capable of having Sephardi roots?

follers November 17, 2014 at 8:42 pm

Most of the ancestry I’m talking about happened because of the Inquisition in Spain and Portugal, which was after Edward III. I don’t doubt that all American presidents have a Jewish ancestor if you go back far enough (1000 years, etc.).

andrew November 18, 2014 at 3:28 am
lelo4 August 12, 2016 at 11:27 pm

lol, Ashkenazi Jews are mostly (Eastern) Mediterranean. Portuguese/Iberians on the other hand are more related to Atlatic/Western Europeans.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=oUwBYwjQPMw January 18, 2014 at 1:43 pm

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a great computer scientist or a great technologist, or a song that is played.
Then grab a monitor and keyboard and then reach around to the it support specialist test.

In a particular, I have together Professor John it support specialist Guttag over
here, I think just thinking up creative ways to solve problems,
if you’re in the market. This is not about memory. 2, it makes it very easy to have good understanding
of the system.

the punisher December 7, 2013 at 3:19 pm

Sometimes I think these actor lie about their ethnicity just to get excepted in Hollywood but at lease they should be smart and change their Spanish name to English or a Portuguese name Franco is Spanish name not Portuguese

follers December 7, 2013 at 3:25 pm

Did James’s great-grandparents lie about their birthplaces on the 1930 census?

the punisher December 7, 2013 at 6:02 pm

even if they here born in Portugal they have Spanish blood Spain invaded Portugal at one point, Franco is defenetly not Portuguese name

Alex December 9, 2013 at 2:14 pm

but James Franco didn’t lie about anything thou

Richard December 9, 2013 at 7:30 pm

It is part of roots to portuguese also. just as carro is spanish and portuguese. Also, Ethnicity is what he was raised, for Franco and no other way. No one can entirely lie about an ethnicity if they are raised it. He was most likely raised American but with all those ethinicities.

migeek March 20, 2015 at 11:32 pm

I’m from PORTUGAL and franco is def a portugese lol research before U say stuff and look silly

Olivers January 15, 2014 at 1:28 pm

The last name is italian.

tinasheeeee February 15, 2015 at 10:21 am

If you’re talking about the last name, it’s not only Italian. It’s also Spanish & Portuguese, but James & Dave aren’t italian, they’re Portuguese.

migeek March 20, 2015 at 11:34 pm

It’s a Latin name thafs y

sarahle February 16, 2015 at 1:32 pm



franco is spelled the same in all these (latin based) languages and derives from the germanic name frank…

tinasheeeee February 16, 2015 at 8:01 pm

That’s about what I said -_-

nnnnn May 12, 2013 at 1:51 pm

1. The name “Franco” is sephardic jewish??? Was a general
Franco a jew?
2. “Russian” should be removed.

Nikki June 17, 2014 at 6:57 pm

He is Ashkenazi Jewish on his mother’s side. His father was of Portuguese and Swedish descent.

I love you, Roger Scientist March 8, 2012 at 10:07 pm

He is a douche.

nnnnn May 12, 2013 at 1:22 pm

“I love you, Roger Scientist”:Yes, he is. As well as all modern male and female actors,who use stuntmen even to quick walking. (Besides of Statham, Johnson, Diesel)

ihatemostpeople June 17, 2014 at 7:15 pm

Yep, just like his younger brother.

me March 4, 2012 at 9:49 pm

his hair is curly

andrew May 12, 2013 at 6:56 pm
J March 4, 2012 at 9:40 pm

The last name Franco is Spanish, Portuguese, and Italian. Saying he’s Spanish because Francisco Franco is Spanish is silly. Francisco Franco is, more specifically, Galician, and Galicians share similar last names as Portuguese because their language (Spain has four official languages in case you didn’t know) is similar to Portuguese. Anyway, his last name is Latin in origin, so it isn’t that big a surprise that it would be common in Latin-European countries (Spain, Italy, Portugal, France, etc). If he says he’s Portuguese/a Sephardi Jewish Portuguese is probably true.

H.Schlickmann February 15, 2015 at 12:11 am

Yes Galician and Portuguese were a single language at some point and ultimately Franco is linked to Franks and can be traced to a French migrant. And he’s Ashkenazi Jewish through his maternal side. Not entire Portugal is Sephardi Jew and England and Central Europe’s citizens can also be partially Jewish just like many Americans.

lopac February 25, 2012 at 1:40 pm

Franco is a spanish name. I guess he’s ashamed saying his father immigrated from spain.

andrew May 12, 2013 at 6:54 pm

I can’t get why he should be ashamed

nnnnn May 13, 2013 at 11:35 pm

Never heard, that smb is ashamed to be spain. They are
very proud.

Haley January 28, 2012 at 3:46 pm

Portuguese are similiar to Spanish & Italian. Romanian & French are also similiar to them too.

Tommy January 13, 2012 at 8:34 pm

dude i love all your movies my favorite one is Pinneappl Express.

Anonymous December 31, 2011 at 2:15 pm
Laila October 21, 2011 at 11:56 am

Franco is a Spanish lastname, in the Americas is a common lastname and most people are from Spanish ancestry not Italian

Marta Paglianni September 25, 2011 at 3:41 pm

The name Franco comes from Spain, google Francisco Franco. Spain ruled the world and part of Italy was under Spanish ruled for over 300 yrs. That is how Franco made it into Italy. But the name is 100% Spanish.

Anonymous December 31, 2011 at 2:16 pm

It is, Italian.

PP January 6, 2012 at 6:41 pm

Both, Italian and Spanish last name

Btw, FRANCO is an Italian and Spanish WORD

ae11 August 14, 2011 at 1:23 pm

Well, his father is Portuguese-Swedish, his mother Russian Jewish.

Evelyn August 14, 2011 at 8:48 am

I had no idea . . .

alex March 3, 2011 at 2:38 am

He is not part russian.. his mom is russian jew.. that means she is a jew from russia.

katalina February 28, 2011 at 5:11 pm

franco is also a spanish name. my friend is colombian

anonymous February 27, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I know a few portuguese people with the last name Franco.

Salvatore November 4, 2010 at 11:05 am

Actually Franco is a Sephardic Surname (Spaniard-Portuguese Jewish )
It was a commun Jewish surname in Spain until 1492 when the inquisition persecuted Jews in the iberian peninsula as wells as places as Sicily, Sardinia, Naples, Calabria and also in the New World as Mexico, Colombia and Peru.

The converted Jews were called “marranos” or pigs or new Christians adopting a new religion. Christianity. And the Jews that escaped moved to different regions of Italy adopting a new culture, also to the Netherlands (Amsterdam), Turkey, Greece, Palestine, Egypt.

Today we see in Israel many of those that survived that kept their last name. Franco.

Anonymous October 4, 2010 at 6:40 pm

I think jews are the finest ethnicity ever. :)

Alexis October 10, 2010 at 4:45 pm

That would be Spanish & Italians, they always win as the top two nations with the hottest people constantly.

nina March 28, 2015 at 12:14 pm

From what country are they?

ashash March 28, 2015 at 1:10 pm

Ashkenazi Jewish is an ethnicity.

Portuguese Franco October 4, 2010 at 4:59 pm

Actually Franco is a latin name.
It’s a common name in Portugal, Spain, Italy, etc.

I’m Portuguese.

Sonia September 27, 2010 at 6:13 am

Franco is an italian last name…

Shannon Franco August 25, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Franco is a very common last name. It’s my last name and I’m Italian. It’s just a common name that many nationalities share. I was disappointed that he isn’t Italian. I thought we could be related. :(

Anonymous November 27, 2010 at 8:48 pm

i hear of this also.

lishaa June 26, 2011 at 5:09 am

are you sure? idont think he is

IloveJamesFranco August 5, 2010 at 8:55 pm

totally has the jewish.

Anonymous August 4, 2010 at 9:11 pm

My gosh I’m madly in love with James Franco and I think he’s sexy and talented…but I’m 14. I should like someone close to my age like Justin Bieber. Ha!

zuzanna August 16, 2010 at 2:19 am

hahaha i’m madly in love with him too! watched almost half of his movies ! ;d

Britney Baker July 25, 2010 at 10:56 am

The Portuguese and the Spainards are both white european ethnic groups. They are considerd latin cultures, but Latinoes are people of LatinAmerican descent which can be people of any race.

jf April 8, 2011 at 3:42 am

Seems kind of non-sequitur to bring up the “white” and “latino race” issue. I mean was anyone here denying that the actor, or that Portuguese and Spaniards were white? From what I see, people were discussing nationalities and cultures, NOT race.

zuzanna July 25, 2010 at 9:10 am

He is AMAZING! i love him when he played James Dean, they are so similar but i don’t think so Dean had the same ethnicity as Franco.

ethnic July 25, 2010 at 9:13 am

Hey Zuzanna, I can see the resemblance. btw James Dean was Scottish


melody59500 June 22, 2010 at 12:06 pm


Anonymous May 12, 2010 at 6:52 am

Please upload his photo.:)

Anonymous April 10, 2010 at 9:43 pm

He’s sooo hot!!!

shevillz March 31, 2010 at 8:55 am

yea im part portuguese but my grandma has the last name franco and is spanish puerto rican

ethnic February 18, 2010 at 3:46 pm

Elisa thanks for the insight.


Elisa Maciel February 18, 2010 at 9:31 am

Spoooky u are totally WRONG!
Portugal never was “part of” Spanish… Portugal never was under the same King of Spain… U don’t know nothing about European history.
Is Vasco da Gama who “found” Brazil, Mozambique, Angola, Goa, etc etc… Spain really follow Portugal… Latinos do not mean “Spanish” only, latinos mean portuguese, spanish, italian…

Franco is a Portuguese surname, but exist in Spain too, like “Maciel” is a Portuguese surname but exist too in Spain because we have words in common, like we have words in common with the english…

Anon. February 10, 2010 at 1:25 pm

Why is danielle steel not on this list. Shes portuguese and german. And what about jennifer connely and many others. Oh well…. James franco is damn hot as hell.

kira February 3, 2010 at 10:33 am

haha i KNOW right!!! :D

Anonymous February 3, 2010 at 10:02 am

He’s REALLY hot.

kira February 3, 2010 at 9:31 am

hottest man on earth!

angela January 28, 2010 at 3:48 am
Spoooky October 24, 2009 at 1:17 am

Portugal use to be part of Spain, under the same king. The Spanish never followed the Portuguese, who do u think gave Columbus a lift to the Americas. Also the Spanish language came from Italian from way back in ancient Rome…so if anything Portugal came from Spain.

Portuguese Franco October 4, 2010 at 5:05 pm

Wikipedia is your friend, learn the facts and get real.
Portugal and Spain are not the same, saying that, is proving you are ignorant. There was once a Spanish King in Portugal which was Filipe I, but he never disolved Portugal Kingship into Spain, and that was the only time Spain touched portuguese territory.

Portuguese Franco October 4, 2010 at 5:06 pm

Forgot to say that after that Portugal regained its throne to portuguese once again.

Kaylie August 17, 2009 at 3:53 pm

He’s fucking sexy. And, he’s Jewish and Portuguese-Swedish.

James Franco nationality

ethnic August 18, 2009 at 1:06 am

in an interview which can be found at the link above, he states that he is of Swedish, Russian, Portuguese descent.

nnnnn May 12, 2012 at 2:41 am

Some people can not read. He’s not italian at all

mina July 27, 2009 at 10:24 am

lol lol The Spanish NEVER traveled to “Portuguese”. Actually were the Portuguese who whent everywhere…and the Spanish followed them !!!!
Portugal is a Country in Europe NEXT to Spain.
Franco is a Latin name, there’s many other names in common between the Portuguese and Spanish.
The DNA in the South of Europe is ALL the same.

LINDA LEYVA July 5, 2009 at 11:17 pm


Portuguese Franco October 4, 2010 at 5:08 pm

Franco is latin (latin -> rome), not actually latino.


marjanel August 16, 2014 at 6:31 pm

Latin and latino is the same, only that latino is in Spanish.If You search in a Spanish dictionary the word Latino it means the same than latin.I am Latin American

crytonite March 30, 2009 at 2:09 pm

I like your movies.

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