10 Celebrities You Thought Were Italian

Prepare for disappointment: Ray Liotta and Marlon Brando are not Italian.

Marlon Brando

This one was heartbreaking for me. Not only does Marlon Brando look like the stereotypical Italian stud but he played one of the most famous Italian characters in movie cinema Vito Corleone in The Godfather. (Please note: I realize the Corleone’s are Sicilian but that’s a whole other debate and most people just think they’re simply Italian so I’m going to stick with calling them Italian for now.) He also played another famous Italian, or Roman if you want to be more exact when he played Marc Antony in Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar. His true ancestry is German, Dutch, English, and Irish.

Portia De Rossi

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Now this girl just straight up lied to everyone. Portia De Rossi is not even her given name, it’s Amanda Lee Rogers. The name De Rossi is definitely Italian but ‘Amanda’ herself is not. She chose the name because she wanted something that sounded exotic. Portia is actually from Australia with English and Jewish lineage.  Thanks for the lies Amanda!

Ray Liotta

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This is not a drill. I repeat this is not a drill. Ray Liotta is Scottish not Italian. He was however adopted by Italian parents so he’s unofficially Italian. I have to say this one was more of a shock to me than Marlon Brando. Liotta is best known for his work in Goodfellas and also his stint as Ol’ Blue Eyes in The Rat Pack.

Heather Matarazzo

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Just like Ray Liotta, Heather Matarazzo was adopted by Italian American parents. She is actually Irish. Heather is probably most recognizable for her role as Lily in The Princess Diaries. To date, Heather has never played an Italian on TV or in movies unlike some other pretenders we know, *cough* Ray.

Hank Azaria

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Hank Azaria is best known for his voice work on The Simpsons. He has also starred in movies like The Birdcage, Along Came Polly, and Lovelace. Azaria’s family is Jewish mostly coming from Spain, Portugal, and Greece. However, he has quite a few roles where he plays a character with Italian roots which includes his character in the movie Heat where he stars alongside Al Pacino and Robert Di Niro. 

Jamie-Lynn Sigler

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Meadow Soprano is not Italian. By now this may be old news but it’s new news to me so she’s on the list. Jamie-Lynn has quite the list of heritages making up her DNA but Italian is not one of them. Her mother is Cuban while her father is Ashkenazi and Sephardic Jewish of Romanian, Polish, Greek, and Albanian. P.S. Robert Iler who played her brother AJ Soprano is also not Italian. 

James Caan

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REALLY?! Best know for his role as Sonny Corleone in The Godfather James Caan is also not Italian. My heart is a little broken on this one. It was shattered by Marlone Brando but this just rubs salt into the wound. Caan’s parents were Jewish immigrants from Germany. Additionally, Sonny isn’t the only time Caan has played an Italian. According to IMDb he has played 7 other Italian characters not to mention his voice work in The Godfather video games.

Rhea Pearlman

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Personally, I have never thought Rhea was Italian but I guess her role as Carla Tortelli on Cheers was far too convincing for others. She also played the role of Annette Castellano on The Mindy Project. Pearlman is actually of Jewish descent.   

Abe Vigoda

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Surprise, surprise, here’s another Godfather actor making the list. Abe Vigoda played the role of Salvatore Tessio in The Godfather, along with James Caan and Marlon Brando the two other fakes on this list. Vigoda was actually born to Russian Jewish parents. He took another stab at playing an Italian in the movie Look Who’s Talking as Grandpa Umbriacco. 

Olympia Dukakis

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Olympia Dukakis is definitely not Italian. She is Greek. Clearly, that hasn’t stopped her. Dukakis has played an Italian in 9 other roles including Rose Castorini in Moonstruck and Dolly Sinatra in Sinatra. 





  1. That’s why myself as a person born in Sicily don’t consider myself Italian because as it states in your caption we’ll just call them Italians when referencing the Corleone’s you people need new writers your page as a whole offends Sicilians as myself and Italians get a fuckin life rather than offend people

    1. We re all Italians no matter what country you are from if your Italian your Italian. That’s it. Be proud. And remember Italians are the only true latins since Latin was born in rome 3000 yrs ago and Latina is a city in Italy

  2. Many people are not aware that, when it comes down to their DNA, Italians and Greeks are one ethnicity, and that applies to Sicilians, as well.
    The Italian/Greek DNA ethnicity includes a lot of variations in skin, hair, and eye color.
    Although dark hair, dark eyes, and a wide range of dark and olive skin tones are the most common, as they were in the ancient world, a person of Italian/Greek ethnicity can look essentially look like anyone from any European country and still be Italian/Greek. That these beautiful people are assumed to actually be Italians because of the roles they play, and their attractive features, exceptional charisma, and ability to convey emotion compellingly onscreen is an insult to no one. You must be powerfully compelling and have a certain irresistible charm to be seen as an Italian because that happens to be what Italians are known for. How is that an insult? My father was 100% Italian. His mother’s family was from Villafratti, Sicily, and his Father’s from San Rufo Italy. Papa was the most charming person you could ever hope to meet: devastatingly handsome, highly intelligent , creative, funny, kind, hardworking, resourceful and resilient,…a Navy Veteran of the Korean War, Papa made a real contribution. I like to think I carry some small part of his grace with me. I do consider these people “honorary Italian-Americans” because of the roles they have played and the affection for Italians they have engendered in this country where we Italians were not always appreciated as we are today. I’m sorry for the people who feel offended by that. I am proud of the Italians in America. Even those who went outside the law were fighting extreme prejudices. Most Italians-Americans are the honest, law-abiding, hardworking salt of the earth, who love their families and friends and this country with everything we have. We helped to build this great nation and we have fought to defend it from it’s enemies both foreign and domestic. We have earned our place.That is undeniable.
    To be an American is always to live in two or more cultures.
    The one your people brought with them and the one they found and rebuilt here. It’s hard, I think, for people who are not Americans to understand that we feel that
    you can become part of something you weren’t born into by doing something to sustain and build it. That is the immigrant experience and it is writ large here in America. We seem to afford these actors that same status. It’s Italian-Americans who feel this way. So in that sense it’s more correct, if rather more cumbersome, to say that they’re honorary “Italian-Americans” vs “Italians” per se. Perdonami.

  3. I am of Italian descent. My mothers family is from the mainland and my father’s family is from Sicily. And I don’t want to hear that people from Sicily are not Italian. They are just a little more aggressive. 🤣
    I thought that one of my very dearest friends might have been Italian when we met. Her family is from Greece and she is Jewish.
    My Sicilian grandmother had light hair and blue eyes, which was passed down to one of my siblings.

  4. As a young woman, I would walk down the street and hear myself being called , Hi, Mary, Hi Angelina, Hi Teresa, and smile,,,,to myself. I am mostly Hungarian, some Austrian, Russian. And Romanian. I have dark brown hair and green eyes., but almost every one thought I was Italian. I did marry a handsome guy who’s family is from Naples. So I did get an Italian name finally.

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