Russell Crowe

Crowe in 2010, photo by Joe Seer /

Birth Name: Russell Ira Crowe

Place of Birth: Wellington, New Zealand

Date of Birth: 7 April, 1964

Ethnicity: Welsh, English, Scottish, Irish, approx. 1/8th Māori, 1/16th Norwegian, 1/16th Swedish, 1/32 German, 1/32 Italian

Russell Crowe is an actor, film producer, and musician. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for Gladiator (2000).

He was born in Wellington, New Zealand, to New Zealand parents, Jocelyn Yvonne (Wemyss) and John Alexander Crowe, who were film set caterers. He was raised in Sydney, Australia from the age of four. Russell’s maternal grandfather, Stan Wemyss, was a prominent cinematographer. Russell has two children with his former wife, actress, singer, and songwriter Danielle Spencer.

Russell’s father is of Welsh, Scottish, Norwegian, Swedish, and probably English and Irish, descent. Russell’s maternal grandfather was born to a father of Scottish, English, and German descent, and to an almost entirely Māori mother, Erana Putiputi Hayes Heihi, making Russell Crowe of approx. 1/8th Māori ancestry. Russell’s maternal grandmother had Scottish, English, Irish, and one eighth Italian, ancestry.

His uncle (father’s brother) was cricketer Dave Crowe. He is a cousin of cricketers Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe, who are Dave’s sons.

Russell’s paternal grandfather was John Doubleday Crowe (the son of William Frederick Crowe and Keziah Marie Davies). John was Welsh, born in Wrexham, Denbighshire, Wales, and later moved to New Zealand. John likely had some English and Irish ancestry, along with Welsh. Russell’s great-grandfather William was the son of Henry Richard Crowe and Sarah Ellen Luggar. Russell’s great-grandmother Keziah was the daughter of Francis Davies and Elizabeth Hannah Doubleday.

Russell’s paternal grandmother was Lois Catherine Jean Cunningham (the daughter of James Cunningham and Maria Kristie “Gangy” Johaneson). Lois was born in Petone, Lower Hutt, Lower Hutt City, Wellington, New Zealand. James was the son of Alex Cunningham and Johanna Fraser, and had Scottish, and probably Irish, ancestry. Maria’s father, Johannes Johansen, was Norwegian, and Maria’s mother, Martha Olofsdotter, was Swedish.

Russell’s maternal grandfather was Stanley James Taihoa Ira/Iria Wemyss (the son of Athol Stanley Wemyss and Erana Putiputi Hayes Heihi). Russell’s grandfather Stanley was born in Carterton, Wellington, New Zealand. Athol’s father, Stanley James Wemyss, was born in Ladhope, Roxburgh, Scotland. Athol’s mother, Hannah Elizabeth Crowe, was born in Croydon, Surrey, England, to an English father, Robert Crowe, and a German mother, Katerine/Katherine Harriette Fried, from Kirn, Prussia. Russell’s great-grandmother Erana was Māori, the daughter of Hone/John Hayes Heihi and Harata/Whainoa Poiwa Te Moko.

Russell’s maternal grandmother was Esmee Jocelyn/Joycelyn Burns (the daughter of John Burns and Rhoda Major). Esmee was born in Wellington, New Zealand. John was the son of a Scottish father, John Burns, and of an English mother, Clara/Clarice Jane Henley. Rhoda was born in Wellington, New Zealand, the daughter of Frederick Major and Annie Ghezzie, whose own father, Luigi Ghezzi, was born in Parma, Emilia-Romagna, Italy, and whose own mother had roots in Limerick, Ireland.


Genealogies of Russell Crowe –

Notes on Russell’s Welsh ancestry –

Genealogy of Russell Crowe (focusing on his father’s side) –

Genealogy of Russell Crowe (focusing on his mother’s side) –

Genealogy of Russell’s maternal grandfather, Stanley James Taihoa Ira/Iria Wemyss –

Notes on Russell’s German maternal great-great-great-grandmother, Katerine Harriette Fried –

by Ethnic and Mooki


Curious about ethnicity

44 Responses

  1. michaelthompson says:

    Is he a white person? He’s usually perceived as such.

  2. Heather Gray says:

    Luigi Ghezzi was my Great Grand Father too. My Great grandfather was Joseph who was Russels Grandmother Anastasia or Annie’s sister. I have loads of interesting information on the Ghezzies.

  3. jackson9 says:

    Russell Crowe is at least 1/32 Italian. He is the son of Yvonne Wemyss, the daughter of Esmee J Burns, the daughter of Rhoda Major (1892-1978), the daughter of Annie Ghezzie (1861-1929), the daughter of Luigi Ghezzi and Mary Ann Lauire Curtain. Luigi was born in Sandino, Italy and died in New Zealand. (1829-1917).

    • andrew says:

      Wow. That is interesting because not many Italians moved to NZ. Luigi Ghezzi appears to have roots in Parma (Ghezzi is typical Northern Italian surname) and his wife in Limerick, Ireland. The couple married in Cape Town, South Africa. There is plenty of material about them.

      Sandino or Borgo, Sandino do not exist. The man went from Italy to Argentina, then to India but ended in SA, where he met the Irish lady with whom moved to NZ. And there you have the Gladiator.

      Cool story.

  4. andrew says:

    He is less than 1/8 Maori because Erana Putiputi Hayes Heihi descended to John Hayes, an Englishman.

    • comrade says:

      So Russell’s more like 7/64th Māori?

      Erana herself was only 1/8th English.

      • andrew says:

        I am not that good at math. I guess a “around/approx. 1/8 Māori” editing by mods for Russell.

        • comrade says:

          7/64th = 10.94%. So Russell is 10.94% Māori as opposed to 1/8th (=12.50% Māori). Not to sound too pedantic but maybe write it in percentages?

          73.44% British Isles (Welsh, English, Scottish and Irish)
          10.94% Māori
          6.25% Norwegian
          6.25% Swedish
          3.125% German
          possibly distant Italian

          Not sure if that 1.56% not Māori makes any difference? What do you think?

  5. andrew says:

    his paternal uncle (father’s brother) was cricketer Dave Crowe. Dave’s sons, cricketers Martin Crowe and Jeff Crowe, are Russell’s cousins. Martin played for New Zealand National Cricket Team.

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