7 famous Americans you didn’t know had Russian roots


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Hello, Comrade!

Sergey today

Did you know that some of the most famous Americans have Russian roots? Many of the cultural icons we know and love, from musicians and actors to business moguls and political figures, can trace their heritage back to the vast country.

We decided to do a little digging and found some influential American citizens who were either born or have Russian heritage. Take a look at the seven famous Americans with Russian roots.

1. Regina Spector

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor may not appear synonymous with Russia, but the pianist and singer owes much of her creative inspiration to her roots in the vast country. Born in Moscow in 1980, Regina began studying classical piano when she was just seven years old, immersing herself in the rich cultural tapestry of her homeland. In 1989, Regina’s family moved to New York, leaving behind her beloved piano. Undeterred, she practiced her music by tapping on windowsills until she found a teacher who could provide her with free lessons.
Today, Regina Spektor remains a celebrated figure in the music industry, recognized for her unique voice and artistic vision. She continues to draw upon her Russian heritage as a source of creative inspiration, infusing her music with the sounds, sights, and stories of her homeland.

2. Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner

Yul Brynner, the renowned actor, was born in Vladivostok, Russia, in 1920 to a Swiss-Mongolian engineering family. Brynner spent his youth as a trapeze artist in France before moving to the United States, where he became known for his most iconic role as King Mongkut of Siam in the musical “The King and I” on Broadway. Brynner’s incredible portrayal of the character won him an Academy Award for Best Actor in 1956, and his illustrious career is forever immortalized on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6162 Hollywood Boulevard.

3. Al Jolson

Al Johnson

Al Johnson

You might know him as Al Jolson, but the legendary comedian, singer, actor, and vaudevillian was born Asa Yoelson in Srednik, Russia, at the end of the 19th century.  Jolson made a name for himself in America with his high-energy acts and vaudeville performances. He received critical acclaim for his musicals and song “My Mammy,” which sold millions of copies and was a great feat at the time.

4. Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin

Irving Berlin.

The legendary songwriter and composer Irving Berlin was born  Israel Beilin in 1888 in a small village in Imperial Russia. Irving Berlin arrived in the United States at the tender age of five, bringing with him a passion for music that would soon change the course of American popular culture. Despite facing numerous obstacles as a young immigrant, Berlin’s indomitable spirit and unmatched talent propelled him to the top of his field.

In 1907, Berlin published his first song, “Marie from Sunny Italy,” a catchy and upbeat tune that immediately caught the attention of music industry insiders. Though he received a mere 33 cents for the publishing rights, it was clear that Berlin’s star was on the rise.

Over the years, Berlin went on to produce a staggering number of hit songs, including classics like “Alexander’s Ragtime Band,” “Blue Skies,” “Cheek to Cheek,” “God Bless America,” “White Christmas,” and “There’s No Business Like Show Business.”

5. Sergey Brin

Sergey Brin

Sergey Mikhailovich Brin, the co-founder of Google and one of the most influential figures in the technology industry with a current net worth of a whopping $89 billion, was born in Moscow, Russia, in 1973. At the age of six, he and his family immigrated to the United States, where he would go on to achieve great success and leave an indelible mark on the world.

6. Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand

Ayn Rand, born Alisa Zinovyevna Rosenbaum in St. Petersburg, Russia, was a novelist, philosopher, and controversial figure who remains a prominent influence in American politics and culture. Rand immigrated to the United States in 1926, settling in Hollywood, where she began her career as a screenwriter.

However, it was her novels, including “The Fountainhead” and “Atlas Shrugged,” that gained her widespread recognition and a devoted following. Her philosophy, known as Objectivism, emphasized individualism, reason, and laissez-faire capitalism, and was both celebrated and criticized for its uncompromising stance on individual rights.

7. Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov

Isaac Asimov was a literary titan whose name has become synonymous with science fiction. Throughout his lifetime, he authored a staggering 500 novels and an estimated 90,000 letters and postcards. Born in Petrovichi, Russia in 1920, Asimov and his family immigrated to the United States, settling in Brooklyn, New York, where he completed his education.

Despite becoming a biochemistry professor at Boston University School of Medicine, Asimov never lost his passion for writing. His first story was published in 1938, and over the following decades, he developed a prolific writing career, culminating in his groundbreaking works “I, Robot” in 1950 and “Foundation” in 1951. Asimov’s innovative writing style and imaginative storytelling earned him numerous accolades, including several Hugo and Nebula Awards.