13 Surprising Irish Celebrities

Alicia Keys? Barack Obama? Ben Stiller? Yes, yes, and yes.

By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff

Posted Mar 17, 2010 10:43 AM CDT

(Newser) – Lots of celebrities are likely to be celebrating St. Patrick’s Day tonight—but you might be surprised to discover which of them actually have Irish roots. The Daily Beast lists 13 you might not expect:

  1. Barack Obama: Yes, it’s Obama, not O’Bama. Nevertheless, the president has an Irish great-great-great-grandfather.
  2. Christina Aguilera: She’s known more for her Ecuadorian roots and Latin rhythms, but her mom is Irish.

  1. Harrison Ford: As Adam Sandler noted in “The Chanukah Song,” he is part Jewish—and half Irish.
  2. Alicia Keys: She’s black, Italian, Scottish, and a teensy bit Irish.
  3. Ben Stiller: Known as—as Time magazine once put it—a “big Jew,” he’s actually half Irish.
  4. John Travolta: He always seems to play Italian guys—and his dad is Italian—but his mom was Irish and he grew up with Irish traditions.
  5. John Stamos: He played a Greek on Full House and he really is half Greek, but Uncle Jesse's character was almost named Adam Cochran—and his mom is Irish.
  6. Janeane Garofalo: The half-Irish comedian got in touch with her roots in 1997’s The Matchmaker, set in Ireland.
Click here for the complete list.

Barack Obama: Yes, it’s Obama, not O’Bama. Nevertheless, the president has an Irish great-great-great-grandfather.
Barack Obama: Yes, it’s Obama, not O’Bama. Nevertheless, the president has an Irish great-great-great-grandfather.   (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak)
Christina Aguilera: She’s known more for her Ecuadorian roots and Latin rhythms, but her mom is Irish.
Christina Aguilera: She’s known more for her Ecuadorian roots and Latin rhythms, but her mom is Irish.   (AP Photo/Mark J. Terrill)
Harrison Ford: As Adam Sandler noted in “The Chanukah Song,” he is part Jewish—and half Irish.
Harrison Ford: As Adam Sandler noted in “The Chanukah Song,” he is part Jewish—and half Irish.   (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Alicia Keys: She’s black, Italian, Scottish, and a teensy bit Irish.
Alicia Keys: She’s black, Italian, Scottish, and a teensy bit Irish.   (AP Photo/Matt Sayles)
Ben Stiller: Known as—as Time magazine once put it—a “big Jew,” he’s actually half Irish.
Ben Stiller: Known as—as Time magazine once put it—a “big Jew,” he’s actually half Irish.   (AP Photo/Joel Ryan)
Ana Ortiz: This Hispanic actress is part Irish, but she once said, “Nobody ever casts me as anything other than Latin.”
Ana Ortiz: This Hispanic actress is part Irish, but she once said, “Nobody ever casts me as anything other than Latin.”   (AP Photo/Kathy Willens)
John Travolta: He always seems to play Italian guys—and his dad is Italian—but his mom was Irish and he grew up with Irish traditions.
John Travolta: He always seems to play Italian guys—and his dad is Italian—but his mom was Irish and he grew up with Irish traditions.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
John Stamos: He played a Greek on Full House and he really is half Greek, but Uncle Jesse was almost named Adam Cochran—and his mom is Irish.
John Stamos: He played a Greek on Full House and he really is half Greek, but Uncle Jesse was almost named Adam Cochran—and his mom is Irish.   (AP Photo/Damian Dovarganes, File)
Gwen Stefani: Her mom is part Irish, part Scottish.
Gwen Stefani: Her mom is part Irish, part Scottish.   (AP Photo/Dan Steinberg)
Marlon Brando: His mom was Irish, and he died before finishing a movie about an elderly Irish priest.
Marlon Brando: His mom was Irish, and he died before finishing a movie about an elderly Irish priest.   (Getty Images)
Janeane Garofalo: The half-Irish comedian got in touch with her roots in 1997’s The Matchmaker, set in Ireland.
Janeane Garofalo: The half-Irish comedian got in touch with her roots in 1997’s The Matchmaker, set in Ireland.   (AP Photo/Gus Ruelas)
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: The Harvard professor who was arrested last year while trying to enter his Cambridge home is the descendant of an Irish immigrant and an African slave.
Henry Louis Gates Jr.: The Harvard professor who was arrested last year while trying to enter his Cambridge home is the descendant of an Irish immigrant and an African slave.   (AP Photo/Evan Agostini)
Kathy Ireland: Born in California to American parents, but her last name—and yes, it is her original name—indicates some Irish blood.
Kathy Ireland: Born in California to American parents, but her last name—and yes, it is her original name—indicates some Irish blood.   (AP Photo/Disney, Preston Mack)
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