Alessandra Torresani

Torresani in 2010, image via kathclick/

Birth Name: Alessandra Olivia Toreson

Place of Birth: Palo Alto, Santa Clara, California, United States

Date of Birth: May 29, 1987

Ethnicity: 3/8ths Polish, one eighth Tyrolean Italian, along with German, Irish, English, some Welsh

Alessandra Torresani is an American actress. Her roles include the series Caprica, Husbands, The Fosters, and The Big Bang Theory, the made-for-tv movie Going to the Mat, and the films Playback (2012), The Moment (2013), Car Dogs, and Step Sisters. She has also been credited under her birth name Alessandra Toreson.

Alessandra’s father has one quarter Tyrolean Italian, as well as Irish, German, English, and some Welsh, ancestry. Alessandra’s mother is of three quarters Polish and one quarter German descent.

Alessandra has stated that she is “half Jewish.” However, this is not correct. Alessandra is not of Jewish heritage. Alessandra is also listed in many places on the internet as being the daughter of Italian immigrants, however she is not; or as being of Italian ancestry. One eighth of her ancestry is Tyrolean Italian, from Trentino-South Tyrol, which was in the Austro-Hungarian Empire at the time of her great-grandfather’s birth. Tyrol is now split between both Austria and Italy, and had a historically ethnically Austrian and Italian population, among others. Her great-grandfather listed his language as “Tyrolean.”

Alessandra’s paternal grandfather was James R. Toreson (the son of Sylvester/Silvio Ludwig/Lodovico Toreson/Torresani and Catherine Boyle). James was born in Pennsylvania. Sylvester was born in Rumo, Trentino-South Tyrol, then in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, now in Italy, and was the son of Luigi/Louis Giovanni Torresani/Toreson and Domenica Caterina Bonan. Alessandra’s great-grandmother Catherine was born in Pennsylvania. Catherine’s father, Manus Boyle, was Irish, the son of Manus Boyle and Mary Ferry. Catherine’s mother, Catherine Elisabeth Lindeman, was German, the daughter of Conrad Lindeman and Anna Dorothea Jane Coleman/Collmann.

Alessandra’s paternal grandmother was Ruth E. Babcock (daughter of Bert H. Babcock and Lulu E. Davis). Ruth was born in Michigan, and had English, and some Welsh, ancestry. Bert was the son of Caleb S. Babcock and Sarah L. Thomas. Lulu was the daughter of Joseph Horace Davis and Willamina Elizabeth Georgina Bothwell.

Alessandra’s maternal grandfather was Stanley A. Glow (originally Glowczewski, the son of Stanley Ignacy Glowczewski and Mary Magdalene Kahler). Alessandra’s grandfather Stanley was born in Ohio. Alessandra’s great-grandfather Stanley was of Polish descent, the son of Ignatius F. Glowczewski and Francis Slupecki/Slupeck. Mary Magdalene was of German ancestry, the daughter of Frank Kahler and Louisa Nieman.

Alessandra’s maternal grandmother was Dorothy M. Kaminski (the daughter of Frank J. Kaminski and Stella/Estella Lewandowska/Lewandowski). Dorothy was born in Ohio, to Polish parents. Stella was the daughter of John Lewandowski and Marianna Pawlowska.

Sources: Genealogy of Alessandra Torresani (focusing on her father’s side) –

Marriage record of Alessandra’s paternal grandparents, James R. Toreson and Ruth E. Babcock –

Alessandra’s paternal grandfather, James R. Toreson, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Alessandra’s maternal grandfather, Stanley A. Glow –

Alessandra’s maternal grandmother, Dorothy M. Kaminski, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Obituary of Alessandra’s maternal grandmother, Dorothy M. (Kaminski) Glow –

Obituary of Alessandra’s maternal great-grandmother, Stella/Estella (Lewandowska/Lewandowski) Kaminski –

31 Responses

  1. alexgxo says:

    She use to use her legal birth name “Alessandra Toreson” all the time for her acting credits. Then in 2007, she decided to make her stage name “Alessandra Torresani”, and later claim to be half Italian and even mentioned being half Jewish, even though this contradicts the evidence presented, and none of her family is confirmed as being Jewish, just Catholics and presumably other Christian sects.

    I wonder why she’d falsify her family background. Is it so her given name “fits” with her surname?

  2. bablah says:

    Sylvester Toreson was from Rumo, Trentino, Italy.

    • andrew says:

      That means he was ethnically Italian and not Austrian at all. People from the Province of Trento speak Italian as first language and are ethnically Italian, while those from the Province of Bolzano have German as mother tongue and also carry Germanic surnames (except for the Ladin minority). The region Trentino-Alto Adige (or Südtirol in German) is made by these two provinces.

      Also there are a lot of people named “Torresani” in Rumo according to Google

      • andrew says:

        I’ve been on holidays in Trentino-Alto Adige (actually more in the German speaking part) about ten times so I’m pretty confident with that area. Some locals speak rusty Italian while many ones are very skilled and naturally switch from German to Italian into a normal conversation

  3. passingtime85 says:

    I was perusing twitter and found this post:

    I wonder why she thinks her mother is Jewish…

    • follers says:

      Does she think that?

      • passingtime85 says:

        Did I read the twitter post incorrectly?

        • passingtime85 says:

          Seems like an easily understood exchange –

          @broughlapze to @bambolabambina – if you were a jewish american princess I’d charm you in a second. Since you’re a shiksa I’d just pay to see you naked.

          @bambolabambina to @broughlapze – Too bad I’m a half jew and my mama is jewish so ha jokes on u

          • follers says:

            Yes, but does she actually believe what’s she’s saying?

          • passingtime85 says:

            Well from her twitter posts about Hannukah, to her interviews where she mentions she’s Jewish, to this direct exchange, it certainly seems like she either wants people to believe she’s actually Jewish, or she does indeed actually believes that she is.

            Maybe a simple answer is that her mother is a convert and it’s not publicly known ::shrug::

  4. passingtime85 says:


    According to Alessandra herself, she’s half Jewish. Or maybe she just thinks she is, not sure. Perhaps she’s another celeb that fancies the idea like Twiggy or Richard Burton.

    • follers says:

      I know. That’s why I wrote “Alessandra is not of Jewish heritage”.

      Can you point out her Jewish ancestor? Her mother’s family are blatantly Polish (and some German) Catholics, and her father isn’t Jewish either.

      • ashash says:

        Robert Pattinson is getting married to FKA Twigs? I’m so excited! I hope you have a page for each of these gorgeous specimen! Their baby is going to be another Blue Ivy.

        Alessandra is not half Jewish. She either knows nothing about her actual ancestry or made it up.

      • passingtime85 says:

        Maybe her family, not sure which side, are Crypto-Jews, or maybe they’re recent converts, I know she’s mentioned on Twitter that she celebrates Hanukkah. You are correct though, the paper trail definitely points to non-Jewish origins.

        • follers says:

          I doubt that she was raised celebrating Hanukkah in the home.

          What is a “Crypto-Jew” in this context? Her mother’s family were typical Polish Catholics with ethnically Polish names across the board.

          Her great-great-grandfather was Ignatius Glowczewski, son of another Ignatius Glowczewski. Polish Jews very rarely name their children after themselves. So Ignatius, the father, was Jewish and converted to Christianity? And then his son married Francis Slupecki, who was also ethnically Jewish and converted to Christianity? And they just kept marrying women who had non-Jewish names but were ethnically Jewish and had converted to Christianity? Where would they find these women?

          She could have a Jewish ancestor somewhere, like every person on earth, but there isn’t evidence of one.

          • passingtime85 says:

            Well I don’t think all the members of her family are Cryptos, I just think the Torresons would be the most likely. Although Poland did have the highest population of Jews in Europe for a long time. On a side note though, Cryptos typically are able to find each other, much like any secret society, they pick up clues, habits, etc. Otherwise their heritage would be lost to the annals of time.

            But like I said, the paper trail does not lead to Jewish origins, almost certainly unequivocally. It’s just odd she’d mention it.

          • follers says:

            The Toresons were Jewish? You mean her great-grandfather was Jewish? Secretly? (Obviously, his wife was not). And Alessandra decided to practice Judaism because of that?

            Poland had a lot of Jews, not a lot of “Crypto-Jews”.

            Actually, outside of people of Spanish origin, there’s no such thing as a “Crypto-Jew”. It’s an antI-Jewish myth.

          • passingtime85 says:

            No, I wouldn’t think or suggest her family would fully practice Judaism because of one Jewish great grandparent. Yet, I have met several people in real life that have had a single Jewish grand parent or even great grand parent, that say they’re “Jew-ish” because of their heritage. Some of them even celebrated Hannukah, mostly just for the presents, but never really more than that. I don’t know a term for that, perhaps pseudo-Jews, or people with Jewish tendencies? That’s why I used the term Crypto, it’s just a well known term.

            Well Poland had a lot of Jews, and many of them married into Catholic/Christian families or even converted, and many, many of them hid or even shunned and denied their Jewish origins. While you’re right Crypto-Jew doesn’t describe such people, as Crpytos supposedly practice Judaism in secret, not those that simply hide their ancestry, again, I don’t know a term for those people.

          • bearboy says:

            I will pass on discussing Alessandra Torresani claiming “half Jewish” ancestry. But I was interested when Follers said, “She could have a Jewish ancestor somewhere, like every person on earth, but there isn’t evidence of one.” While I agree that Alessandra and many others have Jewish ancestry going back 3,000-4,000 years approximately when Judaism began but I wouldn’t say every one. There are many parts of the world that people have been living 5,000 + years where the chances of interaction with someone Jewish was very unlikely. I mean no offense btw, I found that part of the quote interesting.

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