Did You Know They’re Jewish?

10 stars you didn’t know were members of the tribe.

Published: June 16th 2011
in Culture » Movies

Dianna Agron in "I Am Number Four"
Pic: DreamWorks
Andrew Garfield in "The Social Network"
Pic: Columbia Pictures
Ginnifer Goodwin in "Something Borowed"
Pic: Warner Bros.

For every Jerry Seinfeld or Seth Rogen, there are dozens of other stars who you might not know are Jewish. Here are 10 celebs you probably didn't know were members of the tribe:



Helena Bonham Carter


This two-time Oscar nominee who’s starred in films such as Sweeney Todd and recently, The King's Speech, has more than 50 acting credits under her belt. In her decade-spanning career, Helena Bonham Carter has played an evil wizard, a character from Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night and two queens. But it was her role as a Jewish mother in the movie Sixty Six that made her own Jewish mother proud. "I look completely like my mum," Bonham Carter told The Guardian back in 2006. "She's very foreign, very Jewish." According to the newspaper, when Bonham Carter’s mother found out her daughter would be playing a Jewish mother for the first time, she said: “Finally!” 


Dianna Agron


Glee’s Dianna Agron may play a Christian cheerleader on the hit TV show, but the 24-year-old actress is actually a nice Jewish girl; she had a Bat Mitzvah and everything. Not only can she sing, dance and act, Agron is also a director and screenwriter (she wrote and directed the short film A Fuchsia Elephant, which co-starred James Franco’s younger brother Dave Franco).  


Andrew Garfield


Andrew Garfield wowed audiences in last year’s The Social Network (which earned him his first Golden Globe nomination). He played Eduardo Saverin (who’s a Brazilian-born Jew) in the Oscar-winning film about the beginnings of Facebook, and is set to star as the new Spider-Man. In an interview with Indie London, the young actor mentioned he had a guilt complex. When the interviewer asked him where the complex came from, he said: “Being Jewish and, yes, I’m sure it stems from being privileged. I was brought up in a middle-class home.”



Ashley Tisdale


Today, Ashley Tisdale is known to children and teens worldwide for roles in TV shows such as The Suit Life and the High School Musical movies. But what a lot of fans don’t know is that the actress (whose mother is Jewish) began her theatrical career performing in musical productions at her local Jewish community centre in Monmouth County, N.J., according to Billboard.com. Tisdale recently got to play Sharpay Evans (her fan-favourite character from High School Musical) in the movie Sharpay’s Fabulous Adventure, which was filmed in Toronto. 



James Maslow


You might not know who James Maslow is, but odds are your 10-year-old daughter, son or younger sibling watches his show. He stars in The Big Time Rush -- one of the most popular shows on Nickelodeon. The 20-year-old actor said in an interview with Clever TV that his favourite holiday is Hanukkah. 



Rashida Jones


Rashida Jones (I Love You, Man, The Office, Parks and Recreation) is the daughter of musician Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton (who’s Jewish). She attended Hebrew school as a kid and enjoyed celebrating Jewish holidays. “We always celebrated the High Holidays,” she told American Jewish Life. “I did fast in high school for Yom Kippur and attend services. We always went to seder for Passover. I really liked the cultural and the familial side of Judaism.”



Elizabeth Banks


Elizabeth Banks -- who starred opposite Seth Rogen in Zack and Miri Make a Porno -- converted to Judaism when she married her college sweetheart, sportswriter Max Handelman. She tweeted this during passover: “Happy Passover. On my way to Seder. I think I just saw Elijah sneaking around in the bushes.”



Paul Rudd 


Paul Rudd -- the star of hit comedies such as I Love You, Man and Role Models -- is Jewish. Before he hit it big, Rudd used to DJ at parties -- including Bat Mitzvahs. Check him out in action. 


Ginnifer Goodwin


Ginnifer Goodwin, who’s starred in romantic comedies such as He’s Just Not That Into You and this year’s Something Borrowed, is Jewish. Watch out for the talented actress in the upcoming TV Show Once Upon a Time, premiering this fall. 



Taylor Mays


Taylor Mays, the 23-year-old football player for the San Francisco 49ers, said in an interview with the Los Angeles Times that his Bar Mitzvah helped him become an adult. 

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