Actors, actresses, directors & producers of Ukrainian descent

by xena3 | created - 14 Mar 2016 | updated - 11 months ago | Public

It's a list of Ukrainians and also those, who were born in Ukraine or their ancestors were from that country.

1. Vera Farmiga

Actress | The Departed

Vera Farmiga is an American actress who received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Up in the Air (2009) and a Primetime Emmy Award nomination for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in Bates Motel (2013).

She was born Vera Ann Farmiga, the ...

Her parents are Ukrainians. Mother - Lubomyra Spas, father - Mykhailo (Michael) Farmiga. She did not speak English until the age of six because was raised with Ukrainian as her native language. In her teens Vera Farmiga was a member of Ukrainian folk-dancing ensemble "Syzokryli" and also was a member of Plast, the Ukrainian Girl Scouts organization. When Farmiga was twelve years old she began attend Ukrainian Greek Catholic school. Her name in Ukrainian pronounced VEE-ra and is written in Cyrillic "Віра" (it means "faith").

2. Jack Palance

Actor | City Slickers

Jack Palance exemplified evil incarnate on film -- portraying some of the most intensely despised villains witnessed in 50s westerns and melodrama. He received two Best Supporting Actor nominations early in his career, but it would take a grizzled, eccentric comic performance 40 years later for him...

His original name was Volodymyr Palahniuk. The last name Palance was actually a derivative of his original name. In an episode of "What's My Line?" he described how no one could pronounce Palahniuk and that's why he decided to just use Palance instead. His parents were Ukrainian immigrants Anna Gramiak and Ivan Palahniuk from Lviv and Ternopil regions. Jack Palance spoke Ukrainian fluently. The Hollywood Trident Foundation was formed in 2001 under Jack Palance's leadership to facilitate contact among professionals working in the entertainment industry who are interested in Ukrainian affairs. In 2004 Palance rejects Russian award of Russian Film Festival in Hollywood declaring "I'm Ukrainian, not Russian". He refused to accept the award even in private. Chuck Palahniuk, a novelist, is a distant nephew of the actor.

3. Katheryn Winnick

Actress | Vikings

Canadian actress Katheryn Winnick stars in the critically acclaimed, Emmy award-winning television series Vikings (2013). produced by MGM and The History Channel. Entertainment Weekly declared that her role as "Lagertha" may be the most exciting feminist character on TV." Her portrayal of the ...

She spoke Ukrainian as her first language and did not begin speaking English until she was eight years old. Katheryn Winnick was attending regularly Ukrainian Greek Catholic Church and Ukrainian school at weekends. She also was a member of Plast, the Ukrainian Girl Scouts organization, until the age of 17. Her grandparents from both sides were Ukrainians from Lviv and Ternopil regions. Her birth name - Katerena Anna Vinitska. The word "winnick" pronounced in Ukrainian means "winemaker".

4. Milla Jovovich

Actress | Le cinquième élément

Milla Jovovich is an Ukrainian-born actress, supermodel, fashion designer, singer and public figure, who was on the cover of more than a hundred magazines, and starred in such films as The Fifth Element (1997), Ultraviolet (2006), and the Resident Evil (2002) franchise.

Milica Bogdanovna Jovovich ...

She was born in Kiev, Ukraine. Her Serbian father, Bogdan Jovovich, was a medical doctor in Kiev. There, he met her mother, Galina Loginova, a Russian actress. At the age of 5 Milla emigrated with her parents first to the United Kingdom and then to the United States. In April 1994 Milla Jovovich released her first folk rock album "The Divine Comedy" with a cover version of the Ukrainian folk song "In a Glade" (original title "Oy u hayu pri Dunayu" - in Ukrainian "Ой у гаю при Дунаю"). Slant Magazine said about the album: "The final track, 'In a Glade', is a beautiful traditional Ukrainian folk song that Milla sings in her native tongue." In summer 1994 PAPER (magazine) wrote about Milla Jovovich: "Her Ukrainian heritage is one topic that can transfrom the good-time cool girl into a sentimental innocent exuding neough vulnerability to get you all teary-eyed and sappy." Personal Quotes: "I am a strong Ukrainian girl, that is why I work a lot." Jovovich established a charitable foundation in 2005 to help Ukrainian children. In February 2014 during the Ukrainian revolution Milla wrote on her Facebook page: "I wonder what more I can do to help my people struggling in the Ukraine right now... and you better believe I will find out what I can personally do for the victims of the violence in the Ukraine." And a few days later: "Update on the Ukrainian Protest: "...i know it was highly educational for me to go through these threads to know more about what is happening during this fight for freedom in the Ukraine right now."

5. Mike Mazurki

Actor | Some Like It Hot

With an intimidating face like craggy granite and a towering 6'5" solid frame, Mike Mazurki (born Mikhail Mazuruski or Mikhail Mazurkiewicz) was one of cinema's first serial thugs and specialized in playing strongarm men, gangsters and bullies for over 50 years on screen. Nearly always portrayed as...

He was born Markiyan (Mykhailo) Mazurkevych in Kupchyntsi, Kozova Raion, near what was then Tarnopol, Galicia, Austria-Hungary (now Ternopil, Ukraine). Mike Mazurki was from an ethnic Ukrainian family. He emigrated with his family to the United States at the age of six. Upon finishing school, he changed his name Markiyan to "Mike". From school was fond of recitation as in English so in Ukrainian. Mike Mazurki attended Ukrainian Orthodox Cathedral of Saint Vladimir in Los Angeles.

6. John Hodiak

Actor | Lifeboat

Pittsburgh-born John Hodiak was one of several up-and-coming male talents who managed to take advantage of the dearth of WWII-era superstars (MGM's Clark Gable, Van Johnson, Robert Taylor and James Stewart, among others) who were off serving their country. John's early death at age 41, however, ...

7. Olga Kurylenko

Actress | Oblivion

Olga Kurylenko, a Ukrainian-born actress and model, went from sharing a cramped flat with her aunt, uncle, grandparents and cousin to starring as a Bond girl opposite Daniel Craig.

She was born Olga Konstantinovna Kurylenko on November 14, 1979, in Berdyansk, Ukraine, Soviet Union. Her mother, ...

8. Anna Sten

Actress | Nana

Born in Russia to a Ukrainian father and a Swedish mother, Anna Sten studied at the Russian Film Academy and joined the Moscow Art Theater. Strikingly beautiful, she went on to appear in a number of Russian silent films, but it was in the German film Der Mörder Dimitri Karamasoff (1931) that ...

9. Mylène Demongeot

Actress | Les sorcières de Salem

Mylène Demongeot, one of the blond sex symbols of French cinema during the 1950s and 1960s, managed to overcome typecasting and survived a long hiatus before a stellar comeback in her 70s. She appeared in more than 70 films, including such classics as the Fantomas trilogy.

She was born Marie-Helene ...

10. Taissa Farmiga

Actress | The Final Girls

Taissa Farmiga is an American actress, and the younger sister of Academy Award nominee Vera Farmiga, who is 21 years her senior. She was born in Readington Township, New Jersey, USA, to Ukrainian-born parents Michael and Lubomyra (Spas) Farmiga.

Unlike her older sister, Taissa initially had no ...

11. Matt Czuchry

Actor | Eight Legged Freaks

Matthew Charles Czuchry, also known as Matt, was born on May 20, 1977 in Manchester, New Hampshire, USA. He is an actor, best known for his work as Logan Huntsburger on Gilmore Girls (2000). Matt would later reprise his role when the popular series was launched with the reprisal of Gilmore Girls: A...

12. Larisa Oleynik

Actress | 10 Things I Hate About You

Larisa Oleynik was born in Santa Clara County, California, to Lorraine (Allen), a nurse, and Roman Oleynik, an anesthesiologist. Her father is of Ukrainian and Rusyn descent.

Larisa's big break came when she was eight. She had gotten the part of young Cosette in a production of "Les Misérables". Her...

13. Lee Strasberg

Actor | The Godfather: Part II

Famed acting teacher Lee Strassberg was born in Budzanov, Austria-Hungary (now Budanov, Ukraine). Brought to America as a child, he had a brief acting career, before becoming one of the founders of the Group Theatre in 1931, directing a number of plays there. His greatest influence, however, was ...

14. Sylvester Stallone

Actor | Rocky

This athletically built, dark-haired American actor/screenwriter/director may never be mentioned by old-school film critics in the same breath as, say, Richard Burton or Alec Guinness; however, movie fans worldwide have been flocking to see Stallone's films for over 30 years, making "Sly" one of ...

15. Steven Spielberg

Producer | Schindler's List

One of the most influential personalities in the history of cinema, Steven Spielberg is Hollywood's best known director and one of the wealthiest filmmakers in the world. He has an extraordinary number of commercially successful and critically acclaimed credits to his name, either as a director, ...

16. Nick Adams

Actor | Kaijû daisensô

Nick Adams, best known to audiences as Johnny Yuma of the TV series The Rebel (1959), played leads and supporting parts in many films of the 1950s, often cast in the same "troubled young man" mold as his good friend, James Dean. He was nominated for an Oscar for his performance in Twilight of Honor...

17. Vera Kholodnaya

Actress | Zhizn za zhizn

Vera Kholodnaya was born on August 5, 1893 in Poltava, Russian Empire as Vera Vasilyevna Levchenko. She was an actress, known for Her Sister's Rival (1916), Zhivoy trup (1918) and U kamina (1917). She was married to Vladimir Kholodny. She died on February 17, 1919 in Odessa, Ukraine.

18. Dustin Hoffman

Actor | Tootsie

Dustin Lee Hoffman was born in Los Angeles, California, to Lillian (Gold) and Harry Hoffman, who was a furniture salesman and prop supervisor for Columbia Pictures. He was raised in a Jewish family (from Ukraine, Russia-Poland, and Romania). Hoffman graduated from Los Angeles High School in 1955, ...

19. Elisabeth Bergner

Actress | Paris Calling

Elisabeth Bergner was the daughter of the merchant Emil Ettel and his wife Anna Rosa Wagner. She grew up in Vienna, and she made her theatre debut in Innsbruck in 1915. In 1916 she obtained a contract in Zürich, where she played Ophelia next to the famous Alexander Moissi, who fell in love with her...

20. Mark Ivanir

Actor | The Good Shepherd

Mark Ivanir has been working as a professional film and television actor in Los Angeles since 2001. His first major film role was in Steven Spielberg's 1993 Oscar winning epic Schindler's List. He rejoined with Spielberg twice, first for a cameo appearance in Terminal, then again for Tintin. A ...

21. George Dzundza

Actor | Basic Instinct

George Dzundza was born on July 19, 1945 in Rosenheim, Bavaria, Germany as George F. Dzundza. He is an actor and assistant director, known for Basic Instinct (1992), Crimson Tide (1995) and The Deer Hunter (1978). He has been married to Mary Jo Vermeulen since 1982. They have three children.

22. Paul Muni

Actor | Scarface

Paul Muni was born Sept. 22, 1895, in Lemberg, Austro-Hungarian Empire, to Salli and Phillip Weisenfreund, who were both professionals. His family was Jewish, and spoke Yiddish. Paul was educated in New York and Cleveland public schools. He was described as 5 feet 10 inches, with black hair and ...

23. Hedy Lamarr

Actress | Samson and Delilah

Hedy Lamarr, the woman many critics and fans alike regard as the most beautiful ever to appear in films, was born Hedwig Eva Kiesler in Vienna, Austria. She was the daughter of Gertrud (Lichtwitz), from Budapest, and Emil Kiesler, a banker from Lember (now known as Lviv). Her parents were both from...

24. Erika Eleniak

Actress | Under Siege

Erika Maya Eleniak was born on September 29, 1969 in the Los Angeles suburb of Glendale, California. She is the eldest daughter in a family of four girls and one boy. Erika began her acting career at the age of 10, starring in numerous productions for television, film, commercials and theater. Her ...

25. Anatole Litvak

Director | The Snake Pit

The distinguished film director Anatole Litvak was born in the Ukrainian city of Kiev, the son of Jewish parents. His very first job was as a stage hand. In 1915, he became an actor, performing at a little-known experimental theater in St. Petersburg, Russia. As a teenager, he witnessed the 1917 ...

26. John Spencer

Actor | The West Wing

John Spencer was born John Speshock, Jr. in New York City, the only son of Mildred (Benzeroski), a homemaker and occasional waitress, and John Speshock, a truck driver. He grew up near Paterson, New Jersey, and left at age 16 to attend the Professional Children's School. In 1963, he landed a ...

27. Danny Kaye

Soundtrack | The Danny Kaye Show

Danny Kaye left school at the age of 13 to work in the so-called Borscht Belt of Jewish resorts in the Catskill Mountains. It was there he learned the basics of show biz. From there he went through a series of jobs in and out of the business. In 1939, he made his Broadway debut in "Straw Hat Revue,...

28. Louis B. Mayer

Producer | The Great Secret

Mayer was born Lazar Meir in the Ukraine and grew up in Saint John, New Brunswick, Canada after his parents fled Russian oppression in 1886. He had a brutal childhood, raised in poverty and suffering physical and emotional abuse from his nearly-illiterate peddler father. In the early 1890s, he ...

29. Leonard Nimoy

Actor | Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home

Leonard Simon Nimoy was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to Dora (Spinner) and Max Nimoy, who owned a barbershop. His parents were Ukrainian Jewish immigrants. Raised in a tenement and acting in community theaters since age eight, Nimoy did not make his Hollywood debut until he was 20, with a bit ...

30. Zoë Wanamaker

Actress | My Family

Zoë Wanamaker was born on May 13, 1949 in New York City, New York, USA. She is an actress, known for My Family (2000), Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001) and Prime Suspect (1991). She has been married to Gawn Grainger since November 1994.

31. David Duchovny

Actor | The X Files

David William Duchovny was born on August 7, 1960, in New York City, New York, USA. His father, Amram Ducovny, was a writer and publicist who was from a family of Jewish immigrants (from Ukraine and Poland), and worked for the American Jewish Committee. His mother, Margaret (Miller), was a ...

32. Xenia Desni

Actress | Der Turm des Schweigens

Xenia Desni was born on January 19, 1894 in Kiev, Russian Empire. She was an actress, known for Der Turm des Schweigens (1925), Erzherzog Johann (1929) and The Waltz Dream (1925). She died on May 27, 1962 in Roquefort-les-Pins, France.

33. Tatiana Maslany

Actress | Orphan Black

Tatiana Gabrielle Maslany was born September 22, 1985 in Regina, Saskatchewan, to Renate, a translator, and Dan, a woodworker. She graduated from Dr. Martin LeBoldus High school in 2003. She was a well respected student, and participated as often as possible in school productions. She is well known...

34. Tamara Desni

Actress | Send for Paul Temple

Tamara Desni was born on October 22, 1910 in Berlin, Germany as Tamara Brodsky. She was an actress, known for The Green Finger (1946), Hell's Cargo (1935) and Bypass to Happiness (1934). She was married to Albert Lavagna, Raymond Lovell, Roland Gillett, Bruce Seton and Hans Wilhelm. She died on ...

35. Bob Dylan

Soundtrack | Renaldo and Clara

Robert Allen Zimmerman was born 24 May 1941 in Duluth, Minnesota; his father Abe worked for the Standard Oil Co. Six years later the family moved to Hibbing, often the coldest place in the US, where he taught himself piano and guitar and formed several high school rock bands. In 1959 he entered the...

36. Andy Warhol

Director | Blue Movie

Andrew Warhol's father, Ondrej, came from the Austria-Hungary Empire (now Slovakia) in 1912, and sent for his mother, Julia Zavackyová Warholová, in 1921. His father worked as a construction worker and later as a coal miner. Around some time, the family moved to Pittsburgh. During his teenage years...

37. Edward Dmytryk

Director | Crossfire

Edward Dmytryk grew up in San Francisco, the son of Ukrainian immigrants. After his mother died when he was 6, his strict disciplinarian father beat the boy frequently, and the child began running away while in his early teens. Eventually, juvenile authorities allowed him to live alone at the age ...

38. Natalie Wood

Actress | Rebel Without a Cause

Natalie Wood was born on July 20, 1938, in San Francisco, California, as Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko. Her parents, Maria Stepanovna (Zudilova) and Nikolai Stepanovich Zakharenko, were Russian-born émigrés, of Ukrainian and Russian descent, who spoke barely comprehensible English; they changed the...

39. Sergei Polunin

Actor | Murder on the Orient Express

Sergei Polunin was born on November 20, 1989 in Kherson, Ukrainian SSR, USSR as Sergei Vladimirovich Polunin. He is an actor and writer, known for Murder on the Orient Express (2017), Red Sparrow (2018) and The Phantom of the Opera at the Royal Albert Hall (2011).

40. Julia Davis

Stunts | The Amazing Spider-Man 2

Julia Davis is a Ukrainian-born producer in the film and television industry. She is a produced Screenwriter and an Investigative Journalist, with bylines in the Washington Post and the Daily Beast. Julia is a featured Russian Expert at the Atlantic Council's Disinformation Portal, a member of the ...



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