Yani Gellman

"Holes" Hollywood Premiere - Arrivals

Gellman in 2003, photo by Prphotos.com

Birth Name: Yani D. Gellman

Place of Birth: Miami, Florida, U.S.

Date of Birth: September

Ethnicity: Ashkenazi Jewish, possibly other

Yani Gellman is an American and Canadian actor. His roles include the films Urban Legends: Final Cut, Jason X, The Lizzie McGuire Movie, and 47 Meters Down; the series Goosebumps, Tru Confessions, Guinevere Jones, Monster Warriors, The Young and the Restless, Pretty Little Liars, and 90210, and the made-for-tv films Boss of Bosses and The Matthew Shepard Story.

He was born in Miami. His mother, Marilyn James, is Australian, and his father, David Henry Gellman, was Canadian. An article that described Yani as being of Jewish heritage also stated that he was “born to a Russian-English father from Toronto and a Spanish-English mother from Australia.” His father’s parents were both Jewish, from Russia and England, respectively. It is not clear from this description if his mother is of Jewish heritage as well. Some web sites describe Yani as having Sephardi Jewish ancestry.

He was named after a family friend, writer Jan Joors.

Because of his father’s work as a reporter, the family frequently moved during Yani’s childhood, living in Australia, Spain, and Texas, before settling in Toronto, Canada. Yani speaks Spanish.

Yani’s paternal grandfather was Morris Gellman (the son of David Gelman and Esther Kitz/Kotz). Morris was a Russian Jewish immigrant.

Yani’s paternal grandmother was Annie/Anne Miller (the daughter of Isack Miller and Deborah Seltzer). Annie was born in Leeds, Yorkshire, England, to Russian Jewish parents.

Sources: Genealogy of Yani Gellman (focusing on his father’s side) – https://www.geni.com

Obituary of Yani’s father – https://www.legacy.com

4 Responses

  1. stlucas says:

    It’s no wonder that, visually speaking, Gellman fit so seamlessly into the cast. Born to a Russian-English father from Toronto and a Spanish-English mother from Australia, Gellman’s striking mix and Jewish heritage has resulted in a set of sultry features: thick black hair, which alternates between side parted and polished to long and rugged, depending on his mood, large dark eyes and a telling smile.


  2. lelo4 says:

    Another Ashkenazi Jew who looks Turkish.

    • l!ttletimmy says:

      In my humble opinion he looks more Hispanic, like Central American and European mixed. Although genetically speaking, he’d be much closer to an Anatolian Turk. Phenotype is not the same is genotype. I feel like people often forget that.

      I believe this also shows how race is a social construct and everyone has a different idea of what constitutes “European” or “Middle Eastern” etc. It is very interesting to learn from the perspectives of different people. Ethnicity and race are touchy subjects nowadays.

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