Joseph Gordon-Levitt


Gordon-Levitt in 2012, photo by Debby Wong/

Birth Name: Joseph Leonard Gordon-Levitt

Place of Birth: Los Angeles, California, United States

Date of Birth: February 17, 1981

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish

Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an American actor, writer, director, and singer. He is known for playing Tommy on the television series 3rd Rock from the Sun, as well as for his roles in the films 10 Things I Hate About You, (500) Days of Summer, 50/50, and The Dark Knight Rises.

Joseph is the son of Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. His brother was photographer and fire spinner Daniel Gordon-Levitt, and his maternal grandfather was director Michael Gordon. Joseph is married to businessperson Tasha McCauley, with whom he has two children.

Joseph’s parents are both Jewish. His father’s family were Russian Jews and Polish Jews, while his mother’s family were Lithuanian Jews, Romanian Jews, and Russian Jews.

Joseph’s paternal grandfather was Milton R. Levitt (born Milton Levitz, the son of Louis Levitz and Fraudel “Fannie” Isaacson). Milton was born in Ohio, to Russian Jewish parents. Louis’s parents were Meyer Levitz and Lena Friedsohn (the daughter of Nathan Friedsohn and Rachel). Fraudel’s parents were Dave Isaacson and Irene/Lena Ida/Riva Feinstock. While census records list Fraudel as having been born in Russia, one source states that Fraudel, Joseph’s great-grandmother, was born in then-Ottoman Palestine, in 1894. At the time, known as the First Aliyah, there were residences of Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe in the area.

Joseph’s paternal grandmother was Celia Roth (the daughter of F. Charles Roth and Fanny/Fradel Mekel). Celia was born in Pennsylvania. Celia’s parents were Polish Jews. Fanny’s parents were named Boruch Mekel and Sarah.

Joseph’s maternal grandfather was film director Michael Gordon (born Irving Kunin Gordon, the son of Paul Gordon and Eva Kunen). Michael was born in Baltimore, Maryland. Paul and Eva were Jewish. Paul and Eva are listed as being born in Russia in some records, Lithuania in another record, and in yet another record, Paul is listed as having been born in Russia, while Eva is listed as having been born in Pennsylvania, to parents who were born in Russia. Paul’s parents were Leyb/Louis Gordon and Rachel Gviemer.

Joseph’s maternal grandmother was Elizabeth A. Cohn (the daughter of Isaac Cohn and Mollie Fineberg). Elizabeth was born in Ohio. Isaac was a Romanian Jewish immigrant. Mollie was a Russian Jewish immigrant.

Gordon-Levitt in 2010, kathclick/

Sources: Genealogies of Joseph Gordon-Levitt –

Marriage record of Joseph’s paternal grandparents, Milton Levitz (later Milton Levitt) and Celia Roth –

Joseph’s paternal grandfather, Milton Levitz, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Joseph’s paternal grandmother, Celia Roth, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Joseph’s maternal grandparents, Michael Gordon (“Mickeal Gordon”) and Elizabeth Gordon, on the 1940 U.S. Census –

Joseph’s maternal grandfather, Irving Kunin Gordon (later Michael Gordon), on the 1920 U.S. Census –
Irving Kunin Gordon on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Joseph’s maternal grandmother, Elizabeth A. Cohn, on the 1920 U.S. Census –

Joseph is able to speak French and is a self-confessed Francophile. The YouTube link below shows an interview with Joseph on a television show where he speaks French –


Curious about ethnicity

172 Responses

  1. guzel says:

    Jews originated from asia. But it doesnt mean he looks like east asian. Ashkenazi jews is mixed european and west asian/middle eastern. There is some people who have small eyes in middle east.

  2. Yeravam says:

    There are times when I think he looks East Asian, and other times German or Dutch.

    • Lee says:

      Europeans and East, South Asians are genetically related, how many times do i gotta post this? Lol the R hablogroup originally originated in Asia and is a common hablogroup in Europe.

      • Yeravam says:

        Joseph Gordon-Levitt is an Ashkenazi Jew, meaning he’s Levantine-Middle Eastern (the maternal haplogroups are mixed with Greeks and Italians though).

        • Lee says:

          Um.. NO “Ashkenazi” Jews are descendants of the merger of ancient JUDEANS and ROMANS so technically they’re European and “Middle-Easterners” are West Asians.

          • Yeravam says:

            Why the quotation marks around Ashkenazi and Middle Easterners?

            Ashkenazi Jews are part of the Jewish diaspora, an ethnic group that originates in the Middle East. That’s West Asia. That means Ashkenazi Jews are West Asians.

            Ashkenazi Jews are called ‘diaspora Jews’ in every country EXCEPT Israel for a reason.

          • Yeravam says:

            Also, while Ashkenazi Jews did mix with Europeans (Greeks and Italians), it amounts to less than half of their ancestry. Usually it’s around 30 to 45 percent.

            Besides, African-Americans mixed with Europeans, and largely for the same reasons Ashkenazim did, but no one calls them Europeans. Native Americans also mixed with Europeans, and for very similar reasons, but no one calls them Europeans either. Same with Filipinos, indigenous South Americans, Sephardi Jews, and so on.

            Romani Indians were in roughly the same boat as Ashkenazi Jews. No one denies that they are Asian. Even the government of India recognizes them as “children of India”.

          • passingtime85 says:

            Yeravam I don’t care for the facts and figures you share so often. I don’t believe the numbers you quote, reflect the genetic story accurately.

            Paternally AJs are 50-85%, Mid East/North African/Horn of Africa in origin. Depending on what studies you look at those are the extremes in either direction that are the most widely accepted figures.

            Although AJs’ maternal haplogroups are 60-80%, again the extremes, of a non-Levant origin. Yet you don’t mention that. I’m not trying upset you, or bother you, or share misinformation, but that’s what I thought the research shows. I often wonder why you don’t present that along with the other information you use to inform people. If I’m incorrect, tell me. Maybe I’m just recalling facts incorrectly.

          • Yeravam says:

            “I don’t care for the facts and figures you share so often.”

            If you don’t care about facts, then there’s absolutely no point talking with you at all.

            Your Y-DNA claims are way off, by the way. The paternal line is solidly Levantine. It never dips to the 50% mark. The maternal line is more mixed, although K (a Middle Eastern haplogroup) is very common. My mother is K.

          • passingtime85 says:

            I didn’t say I didn’t care about facts, I said I don’t care for the facts you share. I don’t care for the way you word yourself I should have said. You omit data, or gloss over what I consider a significant attribute to the AJ story.

            My figures are not way off. 50% is the lowest I’ve seen, and 85% is the highest I’ve seen in regards to our paternal haplogroups. I was just stating some fact, figures from studies, I wasn’t in the lab with anyone vetting the data however, and studies counter/disprove/reinforce one another from time to time.

            More mixed for the maternal side? That’s a mild remark when several studies show at least 60% is not of mid-East origin, and I think one study pushed that number to 80%, which is why I mentioned it. Any way don’t you mention it more often? It is a significant admixture.

            More on the topic on this profile though. I think JGL probably has East Asian in him. Studies and classic genealogy show that AJs took Asian brides from the Silk road. Maybe a side of his family is one of those with such a history.

        • andrew says:

          How many times should we read again that crap about the mixing of Levantines men with Greek/Italian women?

          Do you really believe to that made-up stuff or it’s simply autism?

          Otherwise how do you explain the recurrence of phenotypes who can not be the product of such ethnic background?

          Are you just dumb or plain stupid?

  3. mode0001 says:

    He doesn’t have curly hair. His mother and father are Jewish. He has the color and the eyes.

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