Place of Birth: Hackensack, New Jersey, U.S.
Date of Birth: May 3, 2001
*father – three quarters Polish, smaller amounts of German and Italian
*mother – Colombian
Rachel Zegler is an American actress, singer, and YouTuber. She has starred in Steven Spielberg’s version of West Side Story, as the lead Maria; and in the films Shazam! Fury of the Gods and The Hunger Games: The Ballad of Songbirds & Snakes.
Her character Maria is Hispanic, of Puerto Rican descent. She was previously played by Natalie Wood. In the film, Maria romances Tony, who is of Polish descent. Rachel’s parents have similar backgrounds to Tony and Maria, respectively. Her father Craig is of three quarters Polish ancestry, with the remainder being German and Italian. Rachel’s mother Gina is of Colombian origin. A picture of Rachel with her parents can be seen here. Rachel was raised in Clifton, New Jersey.
Rachel has stated:
West Side Story was the first musical I encountered with a Latina lead character. As a Colombian-American, I am humbled by the opportunity to play a role that means so much to the Hispanic community.
While her name sounds like it could be of Jewish origin, she is not Jewish.
Rachel’s paternal grandfather is Chester Joseph Zegler (the son of Chester John Ziegler/Zegler and Stefanie/Stephanie Marie Zimnicki). Rachel’s grandfather Chester was born in New Jersey. Rachel’s great-grandfather Chester was born in New Jersey, to Polish parents, John Ziegler and Sophia/Sophie. Stephanie was also of Polish origin.
Rachel’s paternal grandmother is Maureen Teresa Porowski/Cahill (the daughter of Martin Porowski and Ruth F. Thielbar/Linskey). Maureen was born in New Jersey. Martin was the son of Polish parents, Frank Porowski and Agnes Lakowski. Ruth was the daughter of John Thielbar, whose mother was German, and of Frances/Rose Cafiero/Cofiers, whose parents were Italian. Her stepfather was named Terrance/Terrence Linskey.
Rachel’s paternal great-grandfather, Chester John Ziegler/Zegler, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Rachel’s maternal grandmother, Maureen Teresa Porowski/Cahill, on the 1940 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Marriage record of Rachel’s paternal great-grandparents, Martin Porowski and Ruth F. Thielbar/Linskey – https://www.familysearch.org
Rachel’s paternal great-grandmother, Ruth F. Thielbar, on the 1920 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org
Rachel’s paternal great-grandmother, Ruth F. Thielbar/Linskey, on the 1930 U.S. Census – https://www.familysearch.org