Viggo Mortensen

Jameson Empire Awards 2009 - Arrivals

Mortensen in 2009, photo by PrPhotos

Birth Name: Viggo Peter Mortensen, Jr.

Place of Birth: Watertown, New York, U.S.

Date of Birth: October 20, 1958

*father – Danish
*mother – English, small amount of Scottish

Viggo Mortensen is an American actor, author, musician, photographer, poet, and painter. He is known for his roles in A Perfect Murder, A History of Violence, Eastern Promises, Captain Fantastic, Green Book, and Leatherface: The Texas Chainsaw Massacre III, among many other films.

Viggo is the son of Grace Gamble (Atkinson) and Viggo Peter Mortensen. His father was Danish. His mother was American-born, from Watertown, Jefferson, New York, and was of English, and a small amount of Scottish, ancestry. Many branches of her family tree had lived in the United States for many generations.

During his childhood, Viggo spent time in Denmark and Argentina, living in Córdoba, Chaco, and Buenos Aires, before returning to New York. He is fluent in English, Danish, Spanish, and French. Aside from American, he is also a Danish citizen.

Viggo has a son with his former wife, singer, artist, and poet Exene Cervenka.

Viggo’s paternal grandfather was Charles Viggo Mortensen (the son of Morten Peder Mortensen and Caroline Johanne Nielsen). Charles was born in Søbjerggaard, Thorup, Samsø. Morten was the son of Morten Hendrik Mortensen Øster and Marie Kirstine Pedersen.

Viggo’s paternal grandmother was Anna Jørgine Rasmussen (the daughter of Jakob Rasmussen/Ramussen and Ane Kathrine Wadstrup). Viggo’s grandmother Anna was born in Damstrupgaard, Brundby, Samsø. Jakob was the son of Friderich Rasmussen and Birthe Marie Staer. Viggo’s great-grandmother Ane was the daughter of Søren Jørgensen Wadstrup/Vadstrup and Maren Mikkelsen.

Viggo’s maternal grandfather was Walter Sidney/Sydney Atkinson (the son of Martin Gay Atkinson and Emma A. Cutten). Walter was born in Parrsboro, Cumberland, Nova Scotia, Canada, and had some American-born ancestors. Martin was the son of John George Atkinson, whose father was English, and of Elizabeth Fawcett, whose father was also English. Some of his ancestors through this line were born in New Brunswick. Emma was the daughter of John R. Cutten and Martha Teed.

Viggo’s maternal grandmother was Mary Annis Gamble (the daughter of John Munson Gamble and Blanche Ethelwyn Chapman). Mary was born in New York, to a family with roots in Oneida and Onondaga, in upstate NY. John was the son of John Wesley Gamble and Mary Annis Munson. He founded the Brownville Paper Company and the Brownville Board Company. Blanche was the daughter of James Lincoln Chapman and Agnes Josephine Barnes.

Sources: Genealogies of Viggo Mortensen –

Genealogy of Viggo Mortensen (focusing on his mother’s side) –


Curious about ethnicity

10 Responses

  1. NOTREALLY says:

    funnily enough he can be quite ambiguous IMO, he’s played Italians (green book) and also played in a couple Spanish movies as Castillian characters and he does pass for those quite convincingly

    • andrew says:

      Because he is also a polyglot.

      • NOTREALLY says:

        that is true, but he also (IMO again) does have a bit of southern European vibe to him regardless of his ethnicity, maybe because he’s “swarthier” (he’s still lightskinned, i don’t mean anything by that), he’s in fact, way “”darker”” than his Spanish partner Ariadna Gil×640/6/6/a/ariadna-viggo1.jpg
        Check him out in “Alatriste” where he plays a Castillian among many Spanish actors n the film and he surprisingly doesn’t stick out much apart from being…well….Viggo Mortensen

        • PAP1216 says:

          Based on the photo you show, he is tan and has a pink undertone whereas she has a yellow undertone. I do not see him as way darker than his partner or even darker at all. He looks Northwest European to me.

          • NOTREALLY says:

            i literally put darker between quotation marks my man, and yes, his partner is visibly lighter than him

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