Bill Maher

Maher in 2010, image via Joe Seer/

Birth Name: William Maher

Place of Birth: New York City, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: January 20, 1956

*Irish (father)
*Ashkenazi Jewish (mother)

Bill Maher is an American television personality, comedian, political commentator, writer, critic, actor, and producer. He has hosted the show Real Time with Bill Maher since 2003. He previously hosted the show Politically Incorrect from 1993 to 2002. He was also behind the film Religulous.

Bill’s father, William Aloysius Maher, Jr., was of Irish Catholic descent, with some roots in County Kerry. His mother, Julie (Berman), was Jewish (of Russian Jewish, Polish Jewish, and Hungarian Jewish descent). Maher was raised Catholic, and did not find out about his mother’s heritage until he was thirteen. Bill was raised in River Vale, New Jersey.

A DNA test taken by the show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr. (2016) stated that Bill’s genetic ancestry is:

*49.6% Ashkenazi [Jewish]
*41.9% British & Irish
*2.9% French & German
*2.7% Broadly Northern European
*1.8% Broadly European
*1.1% Broadly Southern European

Bill’s paternal grandfather was William Aloysius Maher, Sr. (the son of James Maher and Mary C. Navil). Bill’s grandfather William was born in New Jersey. Bill’s great-grandfather James was born in New Jersey, to Irish parents, William Maher and Elizabeth Fagan. Mary C. was also born in New Jersey, also to Irish parents.

Bill’s paternal grandmother was Mary Agnes O’Toole (the daughter of William J. O’Toole and Annie M. Greany). Bill’s grandmother Mary Agnes was born in New Jersey, with roots in Killury, County Kerry. Bill’s great-grandfather William was born in New Jersey, to Irish parents. Annie was born in New York, to Irish parents, Dennis Greany and Mary Dalton.

Bill’s maternal grandfather was Nathan Berman (the son of Louis Berman and Annie Cohen). Nathan was born in New York, to Jewish parents from Poland/Russia. Louis was the son of Jacob Berman and Yetta Finkelstein.

Bill’s maternal grandmother was Stella Fox (born Stella Fuchs, the daughter of Samuel/Simon Fuchs, later Fox, and of Esther Freundlich). Stella was born in New York, to Jewish parents from either Hungary or Germany (depending on the census). Samuel was the son of Abraham Fuchs and Toube/Taube Kurnhanser/Kornhauser. Esther was the daughter of Bernhard/Bernath Dov Freundlich and Julia Neuman.

Sources: Genealogy of Bill Maher –

Bill’s paternal grandfather, William Aloysius Maher, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Bill’s paternal grandmother, Mary Agnes O’Toole, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Bill’s mother on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Bill’s maternal grandfather, Nathan Berman, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

14 Responses

  1. Preservationist says:

    Here it is again. “His father, William Aloysius Maher, Jr., was of Irish Catholic descent, with some roots in County Kerry”.

    You even nail it down to the Irish County. However, if someone is English or Scottish you never mention the county (by example, Devonshire or Cornwall) or their religion, by example: Church of England, etc. Why is that?

    To Alice who posted above. My ancestry is entirely English by heritage and there is not one branch on either side of my family whose forbears arrived later than the late 17th century. Geena (Virginia) Davis and I are third cousins. Where she is profiled at this site they say something quite remarkable about her heritage. I can claim the same ancestral singularity.

    • andrew says:

      People with recent ancestry from England have their county of origin listed, even though are not common (most is from Colonial times you know). Cornish ancestry is separated because they are Celtic people.

      In this case Catholoc is also noted being the other parent Jewish.

    • Oaken05 says:

      You’re going to need to get over this, because this is not going to be changed because of your irrational annoyance with it.

  2. crunty says:

    Lol@British and Irish in the DNA test, as well as German and French. The DNA test looks ridiculous. You can’t group the English in with the Irish, and the French in with the Germans. American DNA tests are simplistic and laughable.

    • bearboy says:

      I agree with you! I think ancestry DNA is the only test that can separate British and Irish DNA. But ancestry DNA is worse in the sense that they don’t have only a German/French category they have a whole “European West”. Hopefully DNA gets more precise in the future.

    • typepope says:

      English and Irish are closely related genetically, and Northern Ireland is part of the UK.
      Not sure what you’re babbling about…
      Many DNA companies specialize in British Isles ancestry and will breakdown regional differences.
      GEDmatch is FREE and anyone can upload their raw data to do so.

  3. bearboy says:

    His Irish heritage goes back to county Kerry! I love the Irish factor episode I have family from county Cork :)

  4. cwm85 says:

    At least you didn’t say he was mixed with black or native this time lol

  5. Capricious says:

    Love him.

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