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 the son of 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 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). 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 “Mitzie” Ruth Levine (the daughter of Emanuel “Manuel” Levine and Jessie Bialosky). Marcella 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 “Mitzie” Ruth 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

{ 31 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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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 -_-

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