Johnny Depp

Depp in 2008

Birth Name: John Christopher Depp II

Place of Birth: Owensboro, Daviess, Kentucky, United States

Date of Birth: June 9, 1963

Ethnicity: English, along with small/distant amounts of Irish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, Welsh, French, French-Canadian, Dutch, Flemish Belgian, and German, as well as 3/2048 African

Johnny Depp is an American actor, musician, and producer. He is the star of the films Edward Scissorhands, the Pirates of the Caribbean series, Public Enemies, and The Lone Ranger, among many others. Johnny was selected People Magazine’s “Sexiest Man Alive” in 2003, and again in 2009. He is also a member of rock supergroup Hollywood Vampires, with Alice Cooper and Joe Perry.

Johnny is the son of Betty Sue (Wells) and John Christopher Depp. He has two children, including actress and model Lily-Rose Depp, with his former partner, French singer, model, and actress Vanessa Paradis.

Much or most of Johnny’s ancestry traces back to England. He also has small amounts (to varying degrees) of Irish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, Scottish, Welsh, French, French-Canadian, Dutch, Flemish Belgian, and German, ancestry, as well as 3/2048 African ancestry (through Elizabeth Key Grinstead, who is his ancestor twice over). Johnny’s patrilineal line is generally traced back to Pierre Deppe, who was born, c. 1706, in France, and to Pierre’s wife, Angelica/Angeline LeVillian/le Villian.

Both of Johnny’s parents, as well as all of Johnny’s grandparents, great-grandparents, and great-great-grandparents, were born in Kentucky. Johnny has stated, on several occasions, that he has or likely has Native American ancestry (of varying tribes, most often Cherokee). For example:

I guess I have some Native American somewhere down the line… My great grandmother was quite a bit of Native American, she grew up Cherokee or maybe Creek Indian. Makes sense in terms of coming from Kentucky, which is rife with Cherokee and Creek.

It does not appear that this Native American ancestry has been documented. All of Johnny’s grandparents and great-grandparents are listed as “White” on United States Censuses. No verified Native American ancestry has been produced for Johnny Depp.

LOS ANGELES – MAY 18: Depp arrives for “Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales” US Premiere in Hollywood, CA, 2017, photo by DFree

Johnny’s paternal grandfather was Oren Laramore/Larimore/Larry Depp (the son of Oren Richard Depp and Effie America Palmore). Johnny’s great-grandfather Oren was the son of John Burks/Burkes Depp and Mariba Elizabeth Reneau. Effie was the daughter of Andrew Houston Palmore and Mary Elizabeth “Mollie” McCreary.

Johnny’s paternal grandmother was Violet Mattie Grinstead (the daughter of Roy F. Grinstead and Mary Edna Bailey). Roy was the son of Christopher Tompkins Grinstead and Martha S. “Mattie” Sanders. Mary was the daughter of Joseph Taylor Bailey and Martha Ann Mansfield.

Johnny’s maternal grandfather was Walter Everett/Everette Wells (the son of Richard Mac/Mack Wells and Anna/Annie Cooper). Richard was the son of Commodore Perry Wells and Rebecca Ann “Beckie” Litteral. Johnny’s great-grandmother Anna was the daughter of William M. “Bill” Cooper and Sarah “Sallie” Craft/Kelly.

Johnny’s maternal grandmother was Bessie Whitaker (the daughter of Branch Whitaker and May/Mae Slone). Branch was the son of William C. Whitaker and Sarilda/Serilda/Sirilda Fletcher. May was the daughter of Wiley Slone and Amanda Bradley.

Johnny is descended from a woman, Martha, who born in 1612, and who was of African descent. Martha had a daughter, Elizabeth Key (also an ancestor of Johnny). Elizabeth’s father, William Grinstead, was caucasian, of English descent. Elizabeth was the first woman of African ancestry to successfully take legal action to free herself from slavery. This happened in 1656. Johnny is descended from Martha twice (on one family tree, she is both one of his eight times great-grandmothers, and one of his nine times great-grandmothers). That would mean that Johnny is of 3/2048 African ancestry.

Some family trees state that Johnny’s nine times great-grandmother was a woman named Nicketti Opechancanough, who is said to have been of Powhatan Native American ancestry. If true, that would make Johnny of 1/2048 Powhatan Native American descent. However, stories about her are believed to be a myth. Scholarly research and records dispute the existence of Nicketti Opechancanough.

Sources: Genealogies of Johnny Depp –

Genealogies of Johnny Depp (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Johnny’s paternal grandparents, Oren Laramore/Larimore/Larry Depp and Violet Mattie Grinstead –

Johnny’s paternal grandfather, Oren Laramore/Larimore/Larry Depp (“Laramore Depp”), on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s paternal grandmother, Violet Mattie Grinstead (“Violet M. Grinstead”), on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s paternal great-great-grandparents, Christopher Tompkins Grinstead and Martha S. “Mattie” Sanders, on the 1880 U.S. Census –

Genealogy and obituary of Johnny’s mother –

Johnny’s maternal grandfather, Walter Everett/Everette Wells (“Everette Wells”), on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Johnny’s maternal great-grandfather, Richard Mac/Mack Wells (focusing on his own mother’s side) –

Johnny’s maternal great-grandmother, Anna/Annie (Cooper) Wells, on the 1900 U.S. Census –

Johnny’s maternal great-great-grandparents, William M. “Bill” Cooper and Sarah “Sallie” Craft/Kelly, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Genealogy of Johnny’s maternal grandmother, Bessie Whitaker (focusing on her mother’s side) –

Johnny’s maternal grandmother, Bessie Whitaker, on the 1910 U.S. Census –

Article about Johnny’s ancestor, Elizabeth (Key) Grinstead –


Curious about ethnicity

722 Responses

  1. muricansareallmutts says:

    Native American.

  2. JRose says:

    Smack my head….all these comments make me want to bang my head against a wall! First if all, many of you mentioned he looks Mediterranean…..WELL he is French. His last name is French for crying out loud. French people have Mediterranean blood and are a Mediterranean country. Many French people look like him. Why do people always assume just because someone has slightly darker features they must be mixed with a “darker” race??! News flash, people come in all shapes and colors all over Europe. Stop the madness and the ignorance, please.

    • jonasbttencourt says:

      Well at least for me he never looked like anything other than white. His hair is straight, his nose and lips are thin, his skin is fair(besides the fact that he can tan quite easily, but nothing surprising for a guy with southern european ancestry), his bone structure is caucasoid, etc… So i really don’t get it why so many people find him “exotic”, hell, not everyone has to look like pewdiepie to be white hahahah in fact pale-blond-blue-eyed people are only like 3% of the world’s population or less, so basically all europeans would not be white if we stick with these crazy standards of who is “qualified” to be white…

  3. andrew says:

    Nah, he is actually and alwais has been the opposite of all the things you have said, and has built a career upon that.

  4. jonasbttencourt says:

    From all the pictures i saw of him over the years, he seems to me just a regular white guy with a bit of an olive complexion. His facial features and bone structure is very european, reading the names in his background, it’s safe to say he is mostly Brittish&Irish, and it shows on his apperience, especially his nose, lips, and ears. He is the typical old stock WASP guy from the south, he just tans easy, his non-white ancestry is likely quite distant, so it would not have any effect on his apperience. Dominic Cooper looks “darker” than him and (as far as we know) he has no ancestry other than Brittish and maybe Irish.

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