Melissa Leo

Melissa Leo at the "Prisoners" World Premiere, Academy of Motion

Birth Name: Melissa Chessington Leo

Place of Birth: Manhattan, New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: September 14, 1960

Ethnicity: German, English, distant Scottish

Melissa Leo is an American actress. She won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for The Fighter (2010).

She has German, English, and distant Scottish, ancestry (her surname is of German origin). She is the daughter of Margaret (Chessington), a teacher, and Arnold Leo III, a fisherman, editor at Grove Press, and spokesman for the East Hampton Baymen’s Association. Her aunt (father’s sister) is author, art historian, curator, photographer, and consultant Christine Leo Roussel.

Melissa has a son with her former partner, actor John Heard.

Melissa’s paternal grandfather was Arnold Gustav Leo (the son of Arnold Gustave/Gustav Leo and Lida/Leda May Christman). Melissa’s grandfather Arnold was born in New York. Melissa’s great-grandfather Arnold was the son of German parents, Gustave “Carl” Leo, from Mannheim, Karlsruhe, Baden-W├╝rttemberg, and Caroline/Carolina “Lina” Baptistella, from Mainz, Darmstadt, Rhineland-Palatinate. Lida was the daughter of Charles Christman and Mary Hyne.

Melissa’s paternal grandmother was Elinore Baisley Wellington (the daughter of James M. Higby Wellington and May Bird Howell). Elinore was born in New York.

Melissa’s maternal grandfather was James Buell Chessington (the son of James Buell Chessington and Mollie Past). Melissa’s grandfather James was born in New York. Melissa’s great-grandfather James was the son of Guy M. F. Montgomery/Chessington and Sarah Priscilla Glover. Mollie was the daughter of Edward Swain Past and Mary Ann Whiteman.

Melissa’s maternal grandmother was Frances Clara/Clarise Stone (the daughter of Clarence Albert Stone and Ferna/Fern May/Mae Forrest). Frances was born in California. Ferna was the daughter of Wilson Albro Forrest and Ethel Lenora Chapman. Ethel was the daughter of Martin Van Buren Chapman and Mary E. Stiles; Mary E. was the daughter of David Stiles and Clarinda Cummings Shaw; Clarinda was the daughter of Levi Shaw and Phila Merritt.

Sources: Genealogy of Melissa Leo –

Marriage record of Melissa’s paternal grandparents, Arnold Gustav Leo and Elinore Baisley Wellington –

Genealogy of Melissa’s paternal grandfather, Arnold Gustav Leo (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Melissa’s maternal grandmother, Frances Clara Stone (focusing on her own mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Melissa’s maternal great-grandmother, Ferna/Fern May/Mae Forrest –

Photo by s_bukley/

4 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    I thought she had Italian heritage. Leo and Baptistella are not German

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