Birth Name: Jurnee Diana Smollett
Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.
Date of Birth: October 1, 1986
*Ashkenazi Jewish (father)
*African-American, Native American, Louisiana Creole, Irish (mother)
Jurnee Smollett-Bell, also credited as Jurnee Smollett, is an American actress. She played Samantha Booke in the film The Great Debaters. She is the daughter of Janet (Harris) and Joel Smollett. Her siblings include Jojo Smollett, Jazz Smollett, Jussie Smollett, Jake Smollett, and Jocqui Smollett, all of whom have been involved in the entertainment business.
Jurnee’s father, who was white, was Ashkenazi Jewish (from a family from Romania, Russia, and Poland). Jurnee’s mother is black.
Jurnee stated in an interview that her mother has African-American, Native American, Louisiana Creole, and Irish ancestry.
Jurnee is married to musician Josiah Bell, with whom she has a son.
Jurnee’s paternal grandfather was Peter Smollett (the son of David Smollett and Dawley/Dawlly Levy). Peter was born in New York. David was a Romanian Jewish emigrant, born in Iași, the son of Jacob Smollett and Rebecca. Dawley was born in New York, to Polish Jewish parents, Charles Levy and Esty Cohen.
Jurnee’s paternal grandmother is named Molly Hirschenson.
Jurnee’s maternal grandparents are John Harris and Grace Smith.
Sources: Jurnee’s paternal grandfather, Peter Smollett, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Obituary of Jurnee’s paternal grandfather, Peter Smollett – http://www.legacy.com
Marriage record of Jurnee’s paternal great-grandparents, David Smollett and Dawley/Dawlly Levy – https://www.familysearch.org
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