Date of Birth: c. 2001/2002
*father – Polish, smaller amounts of Irish, German, and Italian
*mother – Colombian
Rachel Zegler is an American actress and singer. She will star as the lead Maria in Steven Spielberg’s upcoming version of West Side Story. Maria is a Hispanic character, of Puerto Rican descent. She was previously played by Natalie Wood.
Rachel has said:
West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.
Rachel has said that she is of Polish and Colombian descent. Her father is of Polish ancestry on his own father’s side, and of Irish, German, and Italian ancestry on his own mother’s. Rachel’s mother is of Colombian origin.
While her name sounds like it could be of Jewish origin, she is not Jewish.
Rachel’s paternal grandfather is Chester Joseph Zegler (the son of Chester John Ziegler/Zegler and Stefanie/Stephanie Marie Zimnicki). Rachel’s grandfather Chester was born in New Jersey. Rachel’s great-grandfather Chester was born in New Jersey, to Polish parents, John Ziegler and Sophia/Sophie. Stephanie was also of Polish origin.
Rachel’s paternal grandmother is Maureen Teresa Cahill (the daughter of Charles J. Cahill and Ruth F. Thielbar/Linskey). Ruth was the daughter of John Thielbar, whose mother was German, and of Frances/Rose Cafiero, whose parents were Italian. Her stepfather was named Terrance/Terrence Linskey.
Sources: Rachel’s paternal great-grandfather, Chester John Ziegler/Zegler, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Rachel’s paternal great-grandmother, Ruth F. Thielbar, on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.orgDGD
Rachel’s paternal great-grandmother, Ruth F. Thielbar/Linskey, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org