Celebrities & Their Honorable Ancestors
First Published: May 23, 2009 12:22 PM EDT Credit: The Weinstein Company
LOS ANGELES, Calif. -- Brad Pitt stars as a WWII solider in the upcoming “Inglourious Basterds,” but the actor’s sixth great-grandfather was a soldier in real life – one who was involved in one of the American Revolution’s first battles. And in honor of Memorial Day, Ancestry.com has complied a list of celebrities like Brad, whose family members served our country, putting their lives on the frontlines of history’s biggest battles.
- Johnny Depp’s fifth great-grandfather William Depp served in the American Revolution. He fought in the March 1781 Battle of Guilford Courthouse in North Carolina. He enlisted in the Virginia state militia three times.
- Jennifer Aniston’s great-grandfather, Francis Dow was still a British citizen when he signed up for the WWI draft in Maine in 1918. He was born in Canada in 1876, which was still part of England at the time. Dow’s registration card states he never had to serve in WWI.
- Brad Pitt’s sixth great-grandfather, Abraham Hammer, who was a Quaker, was told to leave his Quaker community in 1768 for “warlike preparations.” He was among the many who petitioned North Carolina for unjust taxation. Their petition later started the Battle of Alamance, which is considered to be one of the first battles of the American Revolutionary War.
- Paris Hilton’s great-grandfather Conrad Hilton was a Reserve Officer in WWI. He worked as training camp at the Presidio in San Francisco, Calif. before going off to war.
- Tom Cruise’s great-grandfather Thomas Cruise Mapother’s WWI draft registration card describes him as short, stout and bald – a far cry from the looks of his famous great-grandson.
- Reese Witherspoon’s grandfathers both enlisted to fight in WWII, just a week apart from each other at the same fort in Atlanta, Georgia. The actress’ great-great-grandfather Ridley Draper was also a veteran, serving as a first lieutenant in the Confederate Army in the Civil War.
-Ryan Seacrest’s grandfather Merle Zullinger joined the Marines and served as a Corporal during World War II. He fought in the Solomon Islands, Okinawa, and Guam.
And it’s not only celebrities’ forefathers who have fought for our country. Elvis Presley, Jimmy Stewart, Don Knotts, Desi Arnaz, Mickey Rooney and Tony Bennett are some of the Hollywood greats who served our country in the Armed Services.
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