Academy Award for Best Director

Danny Boyle

by andrew on July 19, 2018

Danny Boyle – 54th Annual Times BFI London Film Festival – “127 Hours” Premiere – Arrivals – Vue West End – London, UK – Keywords: Orientation: Portrait Face Count: 1 Headshot – False – Photo Credit: Solarpix / PR Photos

Birth Name: Daniel F. Boyle

Place of Birth: Bury, Lancashire, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 20 October, 1956

Ethnicity: Irish

Danny Boyle is a British director, producer, screenwriter, and theatre director. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for Slumdog Millionaire (2008). He is also known for his work on the films Trainspotting and Sunshine, among others.

Danny was born to Irish Catholic parents, Annie (Meheran) and Frank “Patrick” Boyle, from County Galway. His mother was born in Liscappul, Ballinasloe.



William Friedkin

by stlucas on May 28, 2017

Place of Birth: Chicago, Cook, Illinois, United States

Date of Birth: August 29, 1935

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

William Friedkin is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The French Connection (1971).

William is the son of Raechael/Rachael “Rae” (Green) and Louis Friedkin. They were both Jewish. William’s father was born in Illinois, U.S. William’s mother was born in Kiev, Russian Empire (now Ukraine).

William is married to actress and film studio executive Sherry Lansing. He has a son with his former partner, Australian dancer and choreographer Jennifer Nairn-Smith, and a son with his former wife, English actress, model, and singer Lesley-Anne Down.

William’s paternal grandparents were David Friedkin and Lena Cohen. David and Lena were from Russia.

William’s maternal grandparents were Morris Green and Eva Lovenberg. Morris and Eva were from Russia.

Sources: Birth record of William Friedkin –

Marriage record of William’s parents, Louis Friedkin and Raechael/Rachael “Rae” Green –

William’s mother, Raechael/Rachael “Rae” Green, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of William Friedkin –

Photo by s_bukley/


Elia Kazan

by stlucas on February 13, 2017

Birth Name: Elia Kazantzoglou

Date of Birth: September 7, 1909

Place of Birth: Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey)

Date of Death: September 28, 2003

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

Ethnicity: Greek

Elia Kazan was a Greek-American director, producer, writer, and actor. He twice won the Academy Award for Best Director, for Gentleman’s Agreement (1947) and On the Waterfront (1954).

He was born in Constantinople, Ottoman Empire (now Istanbul, Turkey), the son of George Kazantzoglou and Athena Shishmanoglou. The family moved to the U.S. when Elia was four years old. George and Athena were Cappadocian Greeks. Cappadocian Greeks are people of Greek background who are native to the Cappadocia region of Central-eastern Anatolia (modern Turkey).

Elia was married to English author Frances Kazan, until his death. He had four children with his first wife, playwright Molly Day Thacher, and a son with his second wife, actress Barbara Loden, to whom he was married until her death.

Screenwriter and filmmaker Nicholas Kazan is among Elia’s children with Molly. Elia’s granddaughters are actresses Zoe Kazan and Maya Kazan.

Elia’s paternal grandfather was also named Elia Kazantzoglou.

Elia’s maternal grandfparents were Isaak Shishmanoglou and Anna Karajosifoglou.

Sources: Genealogy of Elia Kazan –

Elia Kazan: A Life – autobiography by Elia Kazan, 1988


Kathryn Bigelow

by stlucas on February 13, 2017

Birth Name: Kathryn Ann Bigelow

Place of Birth: San Mateo, California, United States

Date of Birth: November 27, 1951

*English, German, remote Swedish, Irish, and Swiss-German (father)
*Norwegian (mother)

Kathryn Bigelow is an American film director, producer, and writer. She won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Hurt Locker (2009). She is the first, and thus far only, woman to have won.

She is the daughter of Gertrude Kathryn (Larson) and Ronald Elliot Bigelow.

Kathryn’s patrilineal ancestry can be traced back to his eight times great-grandparents, John Biglo/Bigelow and Mary Warren, who were from Suffolk, England. Kathryn has described her mother as a “very stoic Norwegian Lutheran.”

Kathryn’s paternal grandfather was Cecil Elliot Bigelow (the son of Granville Alexander Bigelow and Sarah Louise Wilhite). Cecil was born in Missouri. Granville was the son of Rufus Bigelow and Henriette/Henrietta Elizabeth Everman/Eversman. Sarah was the daughter of William Wilhite and Martha.

Kathryn’s paternal grandmother was Maude Lulu Folkers (the daughter of Richard V. Folkers and Sarah J.). Richard was German.

Kathryn’s maternal grandfather was Samuel Larson (the son of Jens Reseland/Larsen and Kari Johannesdatter Fet). Samuel was born in Wisconsin, to Norwegian parents. Jens was born in Reseland, Hafslo, Sogn og Fjordane, the son of Lars Samuelsen Reseland and Margarethe Jensdatter. Kari was born in Fet, Hafslo, the daughter of Johannes Olsen Fet and Ragnild Augundsdatter Melheim.

Kathryn’s maternal grandmother was Bertha L. Dahl (the daughter of The Rev. Andreas Larsen Dahl and Gjertrud/Gertrude Amundsen). Bertha was born in Wisconsin. The Rev. Andreas was born in Dalen, Nord-Aurdal, Oppland, Norway, the son of Lars Nilsen Dalen and Berthe Nilsdatter Lund. Gjertrud was born in Wisconsin, the daughter of Norwegian parents, Anders Amundsen Vambheim, from Vambheim, Ulvik, Hordaland, and Sara Larsdatter Ødven, from Ødven, Ulvik.


Genealogy of Kathryn Bigelow –

Genealogies of Kathryn Bigelow (focusing on her father’s side) –

Genealogy of Kathryn’s paternal great-great-grandfather, Rufus Bigelow –

Photo by Starfrenzy/


Francis Ford Coppola

by stlucas on February 13, 2017

Place of Birth: Detroit, Michigan, U.S.

Date of Birth: April 7, 1939

Ethnicity: Italian

Francis Ford Coppola is an American film director, producer, and screenwriter. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for The Godfather Part II (1974). All of Francis’s grandparents were Italian.

Francis is the son of flautist and composer Carmine Coppola and Italia Pennino. He is the brother of academic and author August Coppola and actress Talia Shire. With his wife, filmmaker, artist, and author Eleanor Coppola, he has three children, including filmmaker Roman Coppola and actress and director Sofia Coppola. His nephews are actors Nicolas Cage, Jason Schwartzman, and Robert Carmine.

Francis’s paternal grandparents were Agostino/August Nicola Coppola (the son of Carmine Coppola and Filomena Coppola) and Maria Lillian Zasa (the daughter of Pancrazio Zasa and Antonia Montesano). Agostino and Maria Lillian were from Bernalda, Province of Matera, Basilicata, Italy. The Coppola family owns a luxury resort in Bernalda.

Francis’s maternal grandparents were Francesco “Frank” Pennino and Anna Giaquinto. Francis’s grandfather Francesco was also a composer, who was born, c. 1880, in Naples, Campania, Italy.

Sources: Genealogies of Francis Ford Coppola –

Photo by s_bukley/