James Franco

james franco

Franco in 2008, photo by Prphotos

Birth Name: James Edward Franco

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

Date of Birth: April 19, 1978

*father – half Portuguese Madeiran, half Swedish
*mother – Ashkenazi Jewish

James Franco is an American actor, director, producer, and writer. His roles include Harry Osborn in the Spider-Man films, as well as Whatever It Takes, James Dean, City by the Sea, Annapolis, Milk, Howl, Date Night, 127 Hours, Rise of the Planet of the Apes, Spring Breakers, Oz the Great and Powerful, Palo Alto, Homefront, True Story, and Why Him? Among his films as director are Sal, As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and The Disaster Artist, all of which he appeared in.

James is the son of Betsy (Verne) and Douglas Eugene Franco. His father ran a Silicon Valley business, and his mother is a writer and actress. His brothers are actor and artist Tom Franco, who founded the Firehouse Art Collective in Berkeley, and actor and filmmaker Dave Franco. A picture of James’s father can be seen here. A picture of James’s mother can be seen here.

James’s father was of half Portuguese/Madeiran and half Swedish descent. James’s mother is Jewish, of Russian Jewish, German Jewish, Polish Jewish, and Lithuanian Jewish descent. James has said, “I’m Jewish, my mother’s Jewish,” although he is not religious. In 2015, he had an official Bar Mitzvah ceremony, presided by a rabbi of the Reform denomination.

James’s paternal grandfather was Daniel Franco, Jr. (the son of Daniel Franco and Eugénia Baptista). James’s grandfather Daniel was born in Illinois, to Portuguese emigrants, from the Madeira islands. James’s great-grandfather Daniel was the son of João Franco and Maria de Mendonça. James’s great-grandmother Eugénia was the daughter of João Baptista and Carlota de Freitas.

James’s paternal grandmother was Marjorie J. Peterson (the daughter of Claus Fredolph Peterson and Martha Louise Rehn). James’s grandmother Marjorie Franco was born in Illinois, and is a children’s author. Claus was born in Illinois, to Swedish parents, Carl Magnus Peterson and Amelia Bernadette Ackerman. Martha was also born in Illinois, to Swedish parents, Edward Anderson Rehn and Anna Louise Knall.

James’s maternal grandfather was Daniel Surad Verovitz/Verne (the son of Carroll Verovitz and Bessie G. Surad). Daniel was born in Ohio. Carroll was born in Chicago, Illinois. Carroll’s father, Harry/Harris David Verovitz, was a Russian Jewish immigrant. Carroll’s mother, Mary Harris, was born in Ohio, to a German Jewish father and a Polish Jewish mother. Bessie was born in Portland, Oregon, the daughter of Philip Surad and Mary Shank, who were Jewish emigrants from Russia.

James’s maternal grandmother was Marcella Ruth “Mitzie” Levine (the daughter of Emanuel “Manuel” Levine and Jessie Bialosky). Marcella was born in Ohio, and owned the Verne Art Gallery, a prominent art gallery in Cleveland. Emanuel was a noted judge in Cleveland; he was born in Vilna, Lithuania, to Jewish parents, David J. Levine and Michelle Corban. Jessie was born in Ohio, the daughter of Louis Bialosky and Rebecca Shapiro, who were Polish Jewish immigrants.

Sources: Genealogies of James Franco – http://familypedia.wikia.com

James’s paternal grandfather, Daniel Franco, Jr., on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s paternal grandmother, Marjorie J. Peterson, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Obituary of James’s paternal grandmother, Marjorie J. (Peterson) Franco – https://www.legacy.com

James’s maternal grandfather, Daniel Surad Verovitz, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal great-great-grandfather, Harry/Harris David Verovitz, on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal grandmother, Marcella Ruth “Mitzie” Levine, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

James’s maternal great-grandmother, Jessie Bialosky, on the 1900 U.S. Census – https://familysearch.org

Franco in 2011, Kathy Hutchins / Shutterstock.com


Curious about ethnicity

117 Responses

  1. jonasbsjr says:

    his paternal grandmother must be one of those Alicia Vinkander type sweeds, no way she is/was a pale, blue-eyed blonde, Franco would at least have a lighter hair and complexion, especially because his other 3 grandparents are from ethnicities that usually have light traits(and yes, Portuguese people are mostly pale and light haired, usually blondish and redish brown)

    • jonasbsjr says:


    • andrew says:


      Are you serious? Portuguese people have some of the swarthiest and most exotic people on European continent. Surely there are light-featured people but they are a minority.

      • jonasbsjr says:

        ”Portuguese people have some of the swarthiest and most exotic people on European continent.”… Wrong, for anyone who have been in more than two portuguese cities, or have read enough about them know that they are far from being ”swarthy”(but for americans and northwestern euros, anyone who is not pasty white, with blonde hair or ginger, and blue and green eyed is ”swarthy”)…Italians, and greeks, not to mentions eastern euros such as bulgarians and romanians, albanians, etc have far more non-euro admixture, and usually darker traits. Also when i said ”mostly” i did not meant an absolute majority, more like 50 to 60% are naturally pale-skinned, with ligh-brown hair(usually a bit redish), and hazel-to-green eyed. Those darker portuguese people that the media often shows as ”the avarage portuguese” are almost always from either Lisbon or Porto, those are the biggest cities in the country and have always had massive waives of non-euro immigrants, mostly north-african, is in the small to mid cities that you can see the real native portuguese with ancient roots in Iberia

    • al201 says:

      You must not know how genetics work. His younger brother Dave Franco has light brown hair. Genotype doesn’t equal phenotype. People within the same family come out w different skin hair and eye colors.

  2. Kadir says:

    He looks too Iberian to me.

  3. muricansareallmutts says:

    Only Portuguese mixed to Arabs of this ancient origin not everybody he can looks an ethnic Slav of Turkish root too.
    Atypical to be Swede and Scandinavian in general.
    You don’t know Euros.

    • NOTREALLY says:

      Are you ever going to learn proper English?

    • daizyson says:

      You dont know euros too. West/east slavs are mainly blonde/Light Brown haired. He is a typical in Poland to Russia(West/east slavs) Ethnic Slav of turkish root?

      • andrew says:

        Dont listen to any word that user writes.

      • muricansareallmutts says:

        Loooool I’m one of the rare Euro user from Europe who lives in the Old Continent and I know very well my people.
        Yeah true that these Slavs are phenotypically as you described and also the last question only the ethnic part&distant Turkified Slavs can be like Franco.
        His look is common in the Balkans and Central-East like Romania and Bulgaria in that side of the East heavily mixed to Turkish and less in the very East.

  4. Mixed Kidd says:

    you definitely can tell he’s Portuguese and Jewish, I would’ve never knew that he even had Swedish ancestry until this site

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