Alessandro Nivola

Alessandro Nivola

Nivola in 2012, photo by prphotos

Birth Name: Alessandro Antine Nivola

Place of Birth: Boston, Massachusetts, U.S.

Date of Birth: June 28, 1972

*25% Italian/Sardinian
*25% Ashkenazi Jewish
*50% English/Scottish

Alessandro Nivola is an American actor and producer. He is known for his roles in the films Face/Off, Best Laid Plans, Mansfield Park, Jurassic Park III, Laurel Canyon, The Clearing, Junebug, Grace Is Gone, The Eye, Howl, American Hustle, Devil’s Knot, A Most Violent Year, Disobedience, The Red Sea Diving Resort, and The Many Saints of Newark.

He is the son of Virginia, an artist, and Pietro Salvatore Nivola, a professor of political science. His father was born in New York, to a Sardinian father and a German Jewish mother. His mother has English and Scottish ancestry. Alessandro is married to English actress Emily Mortimer, with whom he has two children, actors Sam Nivola and May Nivola.

Alessandro’s paternal grandfather was Costantino Nivola (the son of Nicola/Nicolò Nivola and Giovanna Mele). Costantino, a prominent sculptor, architectural sculptor, muralist, designer, and teacher, was Italian, and was from Orani, a small village in Sardinia. Nicola was the son of Giuseppe Nivola and Maria Cossu. Giovanna was the daughter of Giuseppe Mele and Maria Antonia Zichi.

Alessandro’s paternal grandmother was Ruth Guggenheim (the daughter of Samuel Guggenheim and Magnia Brochis). Ruth was born, c. 1917, in Munich, Germany, to a German Jewish father and a mother of Russian Jewish descent. She left for Milan, Italy, in the 1930s to escape the Nazis. Samuel was a neurologist.

Alessandro’s maternal grandfather was Thomas J. Davis (the son of Thomas Jefferson Davis and Jane J. Brown). Alessandro’s grandfather Thomas was born in Ohio. Alessandro’s great-grandfather Thomas was the son of Mitchell G. B. Davis and Nancy M. Jane was the daughter of James D. Brown and Lizzie A. Armstrong.

Alessandro’s maternal grandmother was named Shirley Ross.

Sources: Genealogy of Alessandro Nivola –

Obituary of Alessandro’s father –

Genealogy of Alessandro Nivola (focusing on his father’s side) –

Alessandro’s maternal grandfather, Thomas J. Davis, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Marriage record of Alessandro’s maternal great-grandparents, Thomas Jefferson Davis and Jane J. Brown –


Curious about ethnicity

7 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    Giovanna was the daughter of Giuseppe Mele

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