Russell Crowe

by ethnic on September 14, 2009

Birth Name: Russell Ira Crowe

Place of Birth: Wellington, New Zealand

Date of Birth: 7 April, 1964

Ethnicity: Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish, 1/8th Māori, 1/16th Norwegian, 1/16th Swedish, 1/32 German, possibly distant Italian

Russell Crowe is an actor, film producer, and musician. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Gladiator (2000).

He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to New Zealand parents, Jocelyn Yvonne (Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, who were film set caterers. He was raised in Sydney, Australia from the age of four. Russell’s maternal grandfather, Stan Wemyss, was a prominent cinematographer. Russell has two children with his former wife, actress, singer, and songwriter Danielle Spencer.

Russell’s father is of Welsh, Scottish, Norwegian, Swedish, and probably English and Irish, descent. Russell’s maternal grandfather was born to a father of Scottish, English, and German descent, and to a Māori mother, Erana Putiputi Hayes Heihi, making Russell Crowe of 1/8th Māori ancestry. Russell’s maternal grandmother had Scottish and English ancestry.

Russell has also stated that he is of part Italian descent. It is not clear if this ancestry has been documented. No (relatively recent) Italian ancestry appears in any publicly available family trees of Russell Crowe.

His uncle (father’s brother) was cricketer Dave Crowe. He is a cousin of cricketers Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe, who are Dave’s sons.

Russell’s paternal grandfather was John Doubleday Crowe (the son of William Frederick Crowe and Keziah Marie Davies). John was Welsh, born in Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales, and later moved to New Zealand. John likely had some English and Irish ancestry, along with Welsh. Russell’s great-grandfather William was the son of Henry Richard Crowe and Sarah Ellen Luggar. Russell’s great-grandmother Keziah was the daughter of Francis Davies and Elizabeth Hannah Doubleday.

Russell’s paternal grandmother was Lois Catherine Jean Cunningham (the daughter of James Cunningham and Maria Kristie “Gangy” Johaneson). Lois was born in Petone, Lower Hutt, Lower Hutt City, Wellington, New Zealand. James was the son of Alex Cunningham and Johanna Fraser, and had Scottish, and probably Irish, ancestry. Maria’s father, Johannes Johansen, was Norwegian, and Maria’s mother, Martha Olofsdotter, was Swedish.

Russell’s maternal grandfather was Stanley James Taihoa Ira/Iria Wemyss (the son of Athol Stanley Wemyss and Erana Putiputi Hayes Heihi). Russell’s grandfather Stanley was born in Carterton, Wellington, New Zealand. Athol’s father, Stanley James Wemyss, was born in Ladhope, Roxburgh, Scotland. Athol’s mother, Hannah Elizabeth Crowe, was born in Yarmouth, England, to an English father, Robert Crowe, and a German mother, Katerine Harriette Fried, from Kirn, Prussia. Russell’s great-grandmother Erana was Māori, the daughter of Hone Hayes Heihi and Harata Poiwa Temoko.

Russell’s maternal grandmother was Esmee Jocelyn/Joycelyn Burns (the daughter of John Burns and Rhoda Major). Esmee was born in Wellington, New Zealand. John was the son of a Scottish father, John Burns, and of an English mother, Clara/Clarice Jane Henley. Rhoda was born in Wellington, New Zealand.

Sources: Genealogies of Russell Crowe –

Notes on Russell’s Welsh ancestry –

Genealogy of Russell Crowe (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Russell Crowe (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Russell’s maternal grandfather, Stanley James Taihoa Ira/Iria Wemyss –

Notes on Russell’s German maternal great-great-great-grandmother, Katerine Harriette Fried –

photo by Joe Seer /

by Ethnic and Mooki

{ 31 comments… read them below or add one }

andrew June 20, 2018 at 5:25 pm

his paternal uncle (father’s brother) was cricketer Dave Crowe. Dave’s sons, cricketers Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe, are Russell’s cousins. Martin played for New Zealand National Cricket Team.

andrew May 20, 2016 at 6:08 pm
J420 November 11, 2015 at 7:00 pm

He reminds me of Sean Bean sometimes.

ashash November 11, 2015 at 6:55 pm

An actor who actually has Native or indigenous heritage (Maori, who are the indigenous people of New Zealand).

Yet he’s hardly ever mentioned. :(

andrew July 11, 2015 at 12:55 pm

Russell’s tweet

This article (in German) claims his great-great-great-grandmother Catharina Fried was born in 1836 in Kirn, Prussia (now Rhineland-Palatinate, Germany). In 1855 she moved to England where she married an Englishman named Robert. Hannah, one of their daughters, was the grandmother of Stanley James Wemyss, Russell’s grandfather. claims he’s 1/16 Maori

andrew September 16, 2013 at 1:15 pm
MettaWorkPlease September 16, 2013 at 11:56 am

He recently claimed to have some Italian ancestry on twitter

follers September 16, 2013 at 12:25 pm
andrew September 16, 2013 at 1:01 pm
follers September 16, 2013 at 1:03 pm
andrew September 16, 2013 at 1:13 pm
follers September 16, 2013 at 1:17 pm

“Scandinavian Forty Mile bush connections, Italian and possible also convict ancestry”
-Now where does this Italian come from? It is a puzzle.

andrew September 16, 2013 at 1:22 pm

the convict one is alleged too. The 2 things can be related coz u know Australia had a huge Italian immigration while in NZ was small

follers September 16, 2013 at 1:24 pm

The one unknown ancestor is his matrilineal great-grandmother, Rhoda Major, who was born in New Zealand. There is not much on her ancestry. Perhaps she was part Italian. Anyway, I put “possible Italian” up there.

andrew September 16, 2013 at 1:26 pm

nearly 2 millions of Aussies (10% of population) has “some” Italian ancestry, once I read. Italian is the 2nd spoken language in Australia too, but probably Chinese is bigger now

andrew September 16, 2013 at 1:28 pm

I dunno, Russel already played a well famous Roman role, he doesnt need to claim Italian blood

Mint April 10, 2012 at 7:38 am

pft haha some people here must be hardcore anti-white racists or just very insecure with their own ethnicity. If I read what some people think oh I’m glad hes not white yeah right he just looks like every other white person that has Irish/English etc. origins somewhere around the corner. But funny thing hes proud himself to have some distant native heritage that you couldn’t even tell by looking at him that’s just sad If you get off on something like that.

theropod June 24, 2013 at 2:26 am

He is still 100% white looking to me and should be classified as one (like Obama should be classified as black).

Everyone would have a little non-white blood and such in them, but that doesn’t mean they are mixed. Just as long as they aren’t 50/50.

I agree though, with what you said.

normam January 22, 2012 at 8:35 pm

hes mostly norwegian and maori

me January 28, 2012 at 1:02 pm

His great-great grandmother was Maori, which means He is only 1/16th Maori, which means he is 93.75% European and 6.25% Maori. So, no, he is not mostly Maori.

I forgot I was in Nazi land, though. Unless you are pure as the driven snow, you are not white. So, of course, that includes all of those who are over 90% white but not quite 100%.

Ugh. Some of you are so perverse.

Jane January 20, 2012 at 9:20 pm

I guess he is a mutt not white. I am so happy he isn’t full white suck it racist people he is mixed race.

Hate Me January 20, 2012 at 11:22 pm

Who cares? You guys seem to care an awful lot about whether someone is “pure white.” Nazi views much?

Jack December 13, 2011 at 7:18 pm

He’s got beautiful Germanic features.

Dasher October 27, 2011 at 10:50 pm


Why did you choose a picture of him getting arrested?

Brian September 23, 2011 at 12:32 am

I look like Russell Crowe and I’m German, Polish, and English. EUROPEAN PRIDE!

Stefania August 9, 2011 at 4:14 pm

omg the guy is just white lmao…a mixs european basically.

Kiwi girl August 17, 2011 at 9:16 am

Ethnicity is measured differently in NZ for Maori. You are considered Maori if you can prove your heritage, regardless of the percentage of Maori ancestry.

111 February 7, 2011 at 9:54 pm
111 March 4, 2011 at 11:04 pm
felicia October 14, 2011 at 2:09 pm

welsh is a mix of alot of europeans!

Susanne January 28, 2011 at 12:05 am

Russell Crowe is also equal parts Swedish-Norwegian.

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