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, also known as JGL, is an American actor, filmmaker, and entrepreneur. Beginning as a child actor, he transitioned into adult roles in both indies and blockbusters throughout the 2000s. He has featured in the films A River Runs Through It, Holy Matrimony, Angels in the Outfield (1994), The Juror, Sweet Jane, Halloween H20: 20 Years Later, 10 Things I Hate About You, Manic, Treasure Planet, as the voice of Jim Hawkins; Latter Days, Mysterious Skin, Brick, Havoc, Shadowboxer, The Lookout, Stop-Loss, Miracle at St. Anna, Killshot, (500) Days of Summer, Uncertainty, Women in Trouble, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, Hesher, Elektra Luxx, Inception, 50/50, The Dark Knight Rises, Premium Rush, Looper, Lincoln (2012), Don Jon, which he also directed and wrote; The Wind Rises, in voice role; Sin City: A Dame to Kill For, The Walk, Snowden, 7500, Project Power, The Trial of the Chicago 7, and Disney’s live action Pinocchio, as the voice of Jiminy Cricket. On television, his roles include Dark Shadows, 3rd Rock from the Sun, Mr. Corman, which he also created, and directed and wrote for; and Super Pumped. He founded online media platform HitRecord.

Joseph is the son of Jane Gordon and Dennis Levitt. His parents worked for Pacifica radio station KPFK-FM, his father as a news director and his mother as a program guide editor; they were also among the founders of the Progressive Jewish Alliance. His brother was photographer and fire spinner Daniel Gordon-Levitt, and his maternal grandfather was director Michael Gordon, of Cyrano de Bergerac (1950) and Pillow Talk; he had been blacklisted in the 1950s. Joseph was raised in Sherman Oaks. He 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. A picture of Joseph’s parents can be seen here.

Joseph has stated, likely referring to having taken a DNA test, that his ancestry is:

*100% Ashkenazi Jewish

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). Joseph’s great-grandmother Fraudel was the daughter of Dave Isaacson and Irene/Lena Ida/Riva Feinstock. While census records list Fraudel as having been born in Russia, one source states that Fraudel was born in then-Ottoman Palestine, in 1894. At the time, known as the First Aliyah, many Ashkenazi Jews from Eastern Europe had moved to the area.

Joseph’s paternal grandmother was Celia Roth (the daughter of F. Charles Roth and Fanny/Fradel Mekel). Celia was born in Pennsylvania, to Polish Jewish parents. Fanny was the daughter of 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. They 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/Gviener/Greiner.

Joseph’s maternal grandmother was Elizabeth A. Cohn (the daughter of Isaac “Isak” Cohn/Cohen and Mollie Fineberg). Elizabeth was born in Ohio. Isaac was a Romanian Jewish immigrant, the son of Frank/Efraim Cohn and Hanna/Hena. 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 –

Obituaries of Joseph’s maternal grandfather, Michael Gordon –

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

208 Responses

  1. indo says:

    Looks exactly like Heath ledger.

  2. passingtime85 says:

    Is it just me, or did all the comments on this profile disappear?

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