Nine Actors with Rock Star Parents

Mickey Sumner, Sting’s daughter

Years ago, when I was still on Twitter, I saw someone rhetorically ask, "Since when did children of celebrities think they could be pop stars?" He was referring to Miley Cyrus, I guess, but I replied to him and said, "Since Ricky Nelson." We've come a long way from Ozzie and Harriet and their son's teen idol days; now the tables have turned and the children of rock, pop, and R&B stars have Hollywood acting careers. Such as:

  1. Eve Hewson. I commence with this Irish-born thespian because I recently watched her Netflix series Behind Her Eyes (it's not very good), noticed her surname "Hewson", and wondered if she was the daughter of U2 front man Paul "Bono" Hewson. She is, in fact. And thus I was inspired to write this list.
  2. Liv Tyler. The first majorly successful "actor child of rock royalty", Tyler's father is Aerosmith's Steven Tyler, and she got her big break starring in Aerosmith videos. Her big screen debut was the since-forgotten Richard Dreyfuss/Linda Hamilton/John Lithgow drama Silent Fall, but it was her leading role in Bernardo Bertolucci's Stealing Beauty that put her on the A-list. After 2008's The Incredible Hulk, Tyler has split her time between indie movies and TV series.
  3. Lily Collins. Singer/drummer Phil Collins's progeny was already an established model and up-and-coming thespian when she landed her first leading role in the 2012 Snow White comedy Mirror Mirror opposite Julia Roberts. After a couple of box office duds like Rules Don't Apply, Collins found a home on Netflix, with several features and the romcom series Emily in Paris.
  4. Zoë Kravitz. What's funny about Kravitz is that her dad Lenny Kravitz – mom is Lisa Bonet – was himself the son of an actress: Roxie Roker was a series regular on The Jeffersons (and cousin to Today Show weatherman Al Roker). Zoë Kravitz earned her first credit on another since-forgotten film, 2007's No Reservations, a vehicle for Catherine Zeta-Jones and Aaron Eckhart. Her filmography has since improved, vastly, with Mad Max: Fury Road, the Fantastic Beasts franchise, the HBO series Big Little Lies, and the upcoming The Batman.
  5. Mickey Sumner. As with Eve Hewson, you need to know a little about rock pseudonyms to suss out that Mickey Sumner's father is none other than Sting (the singer, not the wrestler). Sumner herself has become a muse of writer/director Noah Baumbach: she has appeared in four of his films, including Frances Ha. She's also part of the ensemble on Snowpiercer, the TNT series based on the cult film.
  6. Tracee Ellis-Ross. Diana Ross isn't a "rock star", per se – but then she totally is. In any event, her daughter Tracee began acting in the late '90s, made her name on the 2000s TV series Girlfriends, and now stars hit series Black-ish.
  7. Rashida Jones. Producer/songwriter/composer Quincy Jones is known for his work behind the scenes, not behind the microphone. But he's one of those rare impresarios so influential that they become pop stars in their own right. Rashida Jones, his daughter with Mod Squad/Twin Peaks actress Peggy Lipton, is also a multi-hyphenate: you may know her from her acting work on NBC's Parks and Recreation or films like I Love You, Man, but she's also an accomplished writer, with credits on Toy Story 4, the Black Mirror episode "Nosedive" (starring Bryce Dallas Howard, another showbiz offspring-turned-hyphenate), and her own big screen vehicle Celeste & Jesse Forever. She's also produced a number of TV shows.
  8. Maya Rudolph. Whereas the other women on this list – I didn't design it to be all-female, but there you have it – have either mostly or not quite matched their parents' level of fame, it's safe to say that comedy star Maya Rudolph is much better known than her mother Minnie Riperton ever was, partly because one-hit-wonder Riperton (1975's "Lovin' You", which Riperton and husband Richard Rudolph wrote partly as a song for Maya) died at 31.
  9. Tracy Nelson. I opened this list with a nod toward Ricky Nelson, pop star son of Ozzie and Harriet. Now I come full-circle with Ricky's daughter Tracy. While Liv Tyler may be the first rock & roll offspring to make it huge, Tracy Nelson was the first one out of the gate. She played one of Henry Fonda and Lucille Ball's 18 kids in the 1968 proto-Brady Bunch comedy Yours, Mine & Ours, but didn't act again until the cult '80s sitcom Square Pegs, in which she antagonized a young Sarah Jessica Parker. Nelson has been a working actress, if not a household name, ever since. P.S. Her brothers Matthew and Gunnar were fleetingly popular in the early '90s as rock duo Nelson.