The full text of this article is available to Plus members only.
For full access to all of our articles, please Join or Log In.
Not a Plus Member?
Halle Berry's Ancestry
An Oscar-winning actress' mixed heritage includes cousin connections to playwright Tennessee Williams, actor Richard Gere and other famous figures.

Movie star Halle Berry—recently visible on big screens and small as Catwoman, a Bond girl and a makeup model—delivered that tearful "this moment is so much bigger than me" speech in 2002, after winning the first Oscar awarded to an African-American actress. Berry's mixed heritage is well-known: She's said, "I don't see a white woman. I see a black woman, even though my mother is white."

Although Berry sees herself as African-American, knowing her mother's European heritage was a genealogical advantage for me. I reached back 12 generations and found lots of links to a variety of famous folk. Through John Perkins, an early-1600s settler of Ipswich, Mass., Berry can count actors Richard Gere and Montgomery Clift among her 10th cousins once removed (for the juicy details on Gere's ancestry, see the December 2004 Family Tree Magazine.) The same colonial ancestor makes her a ninth cousin twice removed to playwright Thomas Lanier "Tennessee" Williams and a sixth cousin four times removed to 13th US President Millard Fillmore.

To continue reading this article
Share |
Did you enjoy this article?
Please share it!
Recent Blog Posts »
Recent Articles »

Free Genealogy Downloads

Historical Maps of Europe Premium Collection
When you buy the Historical Maps of Europe Premium Collection, you'll get the brand new Family Tree Historical Maps Book: Europe, as well as an assortment of other incredible tools to trace you ancestors back to the home country and visualize the world in which they lived--in full color.
Only available in March, this collection has a retail value of $197.95, but is yours this month only for $59.99!

They're going fast - get yours today!

©  F+W All rights reserved.