Tom Arnold

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Arnold in 2013, photo by PrPhotos

Birth Name: Thomas Duane/Dwaine Arnold

Place of Birth: Ottumwa, Iowa, U.S.

Date of Birth: March 6, 1959

Ethnicity: Swedish, German, English, Irish, Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, distant French, French Huguenot, and Dutch

Tom Arnold is an American actor and comedian. His many roles include the films Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare, True Lies, Nine Months, Big Bully, The Stupids, McHale’s Navy, Animal Factory, Cradle 2 the Grave, Mr. 3000, Happy Endings, Pride (2007), The Great Buck Howard, and Madea’s Witness Protection; the series Roseanne, The Jackie Thomas Show, Tom, The Tom Show, and Sons of Anarchy; and as the host of The Best Damn Sports Show Period.

Tom is the son of Linda (Graham) and Jack Arnold. He has Swedish, German, English, Irish, Scottish, Scots-Irish/Northern Irish, and distant French, French Huguenot, and Dutch, ancestry. His aunt, father’s sister, was actress Kay Arnold. His sister is Lori Arnold, who was a prominent methamphetamine dealer in the Midwest throughout the 1980s.

Tom was widely reported as having converted to Judaism when marrying comedian Roseanne in the 1990s. He practices Judaism today. He has also often referenced some degree of Jewish ancestry on his mother’s side, and has denied having converted, citing his mother’s ancestry as making him Jewish by birth. However, it does not appear that his mother had Jewish heritage; the name Coens, which is among her family lineage, most likely originates with non-Jewish Dutch forebears.

Tom has two children with his former wife Ashley Groussman. Ashley is Jewish.

Tom is a second cousin, once removed, of actor Joey Pollari. Tom’s paternal great-grandparents, John Malcolm Copeland and Hannah H. Hedback, were also Joey’s maternal great-great-grandparents.

Tom’s patrilineal line can be traced to his great-great-great-great-grandfather, Jacques “Jacob” Arnold, an Alsatian German, who was born, c. 1798, in Alsace, France.

Tom’s paternal grandfather was Dwaine/Duane Berwyln “DB” Arnold (the son of Ulysses Sheridan Arnold and Elsie May Larson). Dwaine was born in Saskatchewan, Canada. Ulysses was of German descent, the son of George Phillip Arnold and Katherine Cecile “Katie” Hilderman. Elsie was born in Illinois, the daughter of Frans/Frank Oskar Larsson/Larson, who was Swedish, from Gärdserum, Åtvidaberg, Östergötlands Län, and of Hannah A. Salow, whose father was German and whose mother was Swedish, from Gotlands län.

Tom’s paternal grandmother was Florence Eleanor “Dottie” Copeland (the daughter of John Malcolm Copeland and Hannah H. Hedback). Florence was born in Minnesota. John was Scottish, born in Palmire, Wigtownshire, Scotland, the son of John Moffat Copeland and Grace Hazilet McKeand. Hannah was Swedish, born in Väse, the daughter of Robert Wilhelm Hedbäck and Kristina/Christine Nilsdotter Arnquist.

Tom’s maternal grandfather was Thomas Everett/F. Graham (the son of Charles Felix Graham and Indiabelle/India Mary Bell/Belle Despain). Thomas was born in Iowa. Charles was born in Illinois, the son of Irish parents, John Graham, from Cloughfin, and Ellen English. India was the daughter of William Marshall DeSpain and Rachel Cox. Rachel was the daughter of Isaac Cox and Eleanor/Elenora Coens/Coen. Eleanor is sometimes cited as the daughter of Frederick Coens, a man who may have been of Dutch ancestry.

Tom’s maternal grandmother was Dorothy Pauline Ranard (the daughter of Benjamin Oscar Ranard and Lottie/Charlotte Twiesell/Twiesel). Dorothy was born in Iowa. Benjamin was the son of Joseph Ranard and Sarah Caroline Harris. Lottie was the daughter of Henry M. Twiesel, who was German, and of Eva Abby/Addie/Addaline Sylvia Libbie/Libby/Libbey.

Sources: Genealogy of Tom Arnold (focusing on his father’s side) –

Tom’s paternal grandmother, Florence Eleanor “Dottie” Copeland, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

Birth record of Tom’s mother –

Tom’s maternal grandmother, Dorothy Pauline Ranard, on the 1930 U.S. Census –

5 Responses

  1. bablah says:

    Tom Arnold is a 2nd cousin once removed of Joey Pollari through John Malcolm Copeland and Hannah H. Hedback.

    He’s also a half fifth cousin of Filipino actor Sam Milby throu the DeSpaine line.

  2. andrew says:

    Assuming that Tom’s father has no English ancestry, his mother has not enough of it to be the first ethnicity of his background. Tom has French Huguenot and some Dutch heritage too on his Despain line, in addition to other French ancestry on his mother’s side. John Graham was Northern Irish.

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