Sam Mendes

Sam Mendes

Mendes in 2013, photo by

Birth Name: Samuel Alexander Mendes

Place of Birth: Reading, Berkshire, England, U.K.

Date of Birth: 1 August, 1965

*father – Portuguese, Italian
*mother – Ashkenazi Jewish

Sam Mendes is a British film and stage director. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for American Beauty (1999). He also directed the James Bond movies Skyfall (2012) and Spectre (2015), as well as Road to Perdition, Revolutionary Road, and 1917.

Sam is the only child of Valerie Mendes (born Valerie Helene Barnett), a novelist, children’s writer, and poet, and Jameson Peter Mendes, an academic. His father, who was born in New York, to parents from Trinidad and Uruguay, has Portuguese Madeiran and Italian ancestry. Sam’s mother is an English Jew.

Sam is married to trumpet soloist, arranger, and producer Alison Balsom. He has a son with his former wife, actress Kate Winslet; and a daughter with Alison.

Sam’s paternal grandfather was Alfred Mendes (Alfred Hubert Mendes, the son of Alfred Mendes and Isabella/Isabelle/Belle Jardine/Jardim). Sam’s grandfather Alfred, a writer, was born in Port of Spain, Trinidad, of what is sometimes described as “Portuguese Creole” origin. His World War I experiences inspired Sam’s film 1917. Sam’s great-grandfather Alfred was the son of Portuguese parents, from Madeira, Francisco Mendes and Risa/Rose d’Andrade/de Andrade. He served as vice-consul for Portugal, from 1931 to 1948.

Sam’s paternal grandmother was Ellen Perachini (the daughter of Santiago Peracchini/Perachini and Virginia Giannetti). Ellen was born in Uruguay, to Italian parents. Santiago was born in Florence, Tuscany.

Sam’s maternal grandfather was named Reuben Barnett.

Sam’s maternal grandmother was named Jane Herschman/Hersham. Jane was born in Liverpool, Lancashire, England.

Source: Genealogy of Sam Mendes (focusing on his father’s side) –

18 Responses

  1. andrew says:

    Isabella Jardim was a Catholic woman from Grenada (Jardine is an anglicization), of Madeiran background (NOT mestiza or something)

    All the info in “The Autobiography of Alfred H. Mendes 1897-1991”, by Alfred Hubert Mendes.

    Remove “possibly other”.

  2. justjustinjacobs says:

    I’m sure it was beneficial for his grandad to just say he was Portuguese but looking at pictures and knowing the history of Trinidad and Tobago I don’t think that his dad is only Portuguese. He is far dark in complection than any Portuguese person I have seen.

    • andrew says:

      You haven’t seen many Portuguese/Spanish people then..

      Sam’s great-grandfather Alfred was the son of Portuguese parents from Madeira, Francisco Mendes and Risa d’Andrade.

      Ellen Perachini was the daughter of Santiago Peracchini and Virginia Giannetti. Ellen was born in Uruguay, to parents from Italy.

      • justjustinjacobs says:

        That’s his great grandfather who was obviously fully Portuguese, without the link needed. I’m referring to his grandfather who was born in Trinidad

        • madman says:

          Many sources refers to Alfred as a “Portuguese Creole”. This article seems to pinpoint the original source:

          “‘Alfy,’ as he was called by family and friends, was the ‘eldest of six children in a rising Portuguese Creole family,’ Michele Levy wrote in her introduction to the Autobiography of Alfred H Mendes, 1897-1991.”

          That books also includes:
          “It is the first of a number of stories which Mendes wrote about Chinese immigrants. There are also stories about East Indian, Spanish and Syrian characters, English expatriates, and Mendes’s own people, the Portuguese Creoles of Trinidad.”

          Though, every record I’ve seen of his grandfather has him listed as either “White” or “Portuguese”.

          • andrew says:

            In this case Creole does not refer to mixed heritage I think.

            It’s interesting that Perachini children were born in 3 different South American countries and that Sam’s paternal grandparents married in Virginia. A long journey.

          • madman says:

            In this case, pretty much all possibilities are open. It’s not impossible that Isabella Jardine had some non-European ancestry, even if that’s not what the evidence suggests. Or she was also of Portuguese descent (which could very well be the case even if Creole actually is meant to refer to mixed heritage).

            I’m glad you’ve learned to used records to prove your points.

          • justjustinjacobs says:

            Jardine is very much a French surname. In this case I think French Creole very much refers to mixed heritage which is very common in Trinidad.

          • bablah says:

            Criollos basically are people born to European immigrants. Only in certain cases has it taken the “mixed race” meaning, and again for the same reason (descendant of a European). In Spanish speaking countries it almost exclusively means white Spaniards. In Lusophone countries it’s a mixed bag. I think only the former French colonies used it with the meaning of “mixed race”.

          • justjustinjacobs says:

            Trinidad was very much influenced by the French colonists so again that leads to the Creole meaning something different than what a Spanish speaking area might use that term for.

          • andrew says:


            “Jardin” is also a family from Madeira, NOT French


            It looks like Isabella Jardin/Jardine was from Grenada.

          • justjustinjacobs says:

            Your evidence of a name is a link of some one whose listed surname is Jardim and they aren’t even sure where their family came from? Greneda further backs the idea of mixed ancestry.

  3. andrew says:

    his great-grandfather Alfred Mendes, who was from Madeira, was a member of the Presbyterian Portuguese community which was exiled in Trinidad after they were persecuted in their country. He served as vice-consul of Trinidad from 1931 to 1948.

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