Top 5 Nepo Babies
In case you’ve been hiding under a rock and haven’t heard of the term ‘Nepo Baby’. It’s essentially a VIP who has ‘allegedly’ gotten a head start in the entertainment world due to their parentage. The term has been thrown around a lot lately, probably peaking at the 2023 Oscars as Jamie Lee Curtis stepped up to collect her statue and thanked her parents.
As we reviewed 1978’s Halloween recently on Two Drink Cinema we couldn’t help but discuss JLC’s Nepo Baby status and that led us to rank our person Top 5 Nepo Babies. While many of the Nepo Babies on the list got their start due to their familial connections, they’re at the top of the list due to their longevity and the impact of their own body of work.
Brett’s Top 5 Nepo Babies
5. Carrie Fisher
Princess Leia in Star Wars and the chick with the machine gun from The Blues Brothers. Well, at least that’s what comes to mind first when we think of Carrie Fisher. But she’s also the daughter of actress Debbie Reynolds and singer Eddie Fisher. Her parentage gave her access to the entertainment world at an early age but it’s hard to deny the impact she had in her own right as an iconic character and personality on and off the screen. She also gave birth to honourable mention Billie Lourd, so she’s a Nepo Mama and a Nepo Baby all in one.
4. Anjelica Huston
She is the daughter of acclaimed director Jon Huston and although she initially got her start through those connections she has undoubtedly forged herself her own path. We know her from reviewing The Witches and The Addams Family but her quirky roles in Wes Anderson films and her Academy Award-winning role in Prizzi’s Honour speak for themselves.
3. Michael Douglas
The star of Fatal Attraction Son of Spartacus (Kirk Douglas) and an actress Lee’s never heard of (Diana Dill), Michael certainly hasn’t been a flash in the pan with a career that’s just tipped over into its sixth decade. He is an Academy Award winner as an actor and as a producer and has starred in films across genres. He is also continuing the nepo baby legacy with his two children with actress Catherine Zeta-Jones also building careers for themselves as actors.
2. Liza Minnelli
Liza is an icon in her own right (nearly off Cabaret alone) it could be easy to forget that she’s a nepo baby; the daughter of actress Judy Garland and director Vincente Minnelli. Though her first screen appearance was as a baby in one of Judy Garland’s films and her first film acting work was as the voice of Dorothy, a role made famous by Garland, Liza holds a rare place as an EGOT winner (and she’s the only Nepo Baby to hold that status).
1. Jane Fonda
The Fonda family is Hollywood royalty and there’s no doubt that that has influenced Jane’s place at the top of this list. Henry Fonda is the patriarch with Jane and Peter forging their own careers and Bridget stepping up for the next generation. While Jane Fonda just short of EGOT status the longevity of her career from 1960’s Tall Story to 2023’s 80 For Brady, as well as starring roles across genres and formats there’s no doubt she’s more than Henry Fonda’s daughter.
Lee’s Top 5 Nepo Babies
5. Mariska Hargitay
The powerhouse lead of the long-running Law and Order: SVU, the fact that most people don’t know, or often forget that she is the daughter of Hollywood actress and sex symbol Jayne Mansfield shows how strong her career is in its own right. She is an Emmy and a Golden Globe winner for her role in SVU and has become a TV drama icon.
4. Ben Stiller
Son of TV comedy legend Jerry Stiller and comedian and actress Anne Meara, Ben hasn’t won the awards to compare with some of Brett’s selections but there aren’t many leading many of comedy who have had the list of successes that Ben Stiller has had. He’s led iconic comedies such as Zoolander and There’s Something About Mary and has starred in many ensemble casts and had audiences laughing for decades now.
3. Liza Minnelli
One of only two that feature in both Lee’s and Brett’s lists, Liza’s iconic status makes her rise above the nepo baby label. Thank goodness she was more successful and made better decisions as a performer than she did as a wife.
2. Jamie Lee Curtis
The big time, big news nepo baby. She’s been a feature of a number of news articles in 2023 about this nepo baby realisation that the movie going public seems to have at the moment. She doesn’t shy away from her nepo baby status, and John Carpenter even admits to casting her in Halloween just because Janet Leigh was her mother, but when you build a decades-long career across multiple genres and stand up to hold an Oscar statuette, you can thank your actress mother and Hollywood legend father Tony Curtis if you want.
1. Michael Douglas
The second of the double-ups on the brothers’ lists so we’ll just reiterate his Academy Award wins; Best Picture win for One Flew Over The Cuckoo’s Nest and Best Actor for Wall Street. He also has an AFI Lifetime Achievement Award and six Golden Globe wins. Certainly a Nepo Baby with a career of his own.
- Maya Hawke – it’s early days but the daughter of Uma Thurman and Ethan Hawke is one to watch.
- Billie Lourd & Dakota Johnson – nepo grandbabies who are working to make their own way in Hollywood.
- Miley Cyrus – has arguably surpassed her Achy Breaky Heart singer father Billy Ray.
- Charlie Sheen – a large career in his own right but he’s really owning his nepo baby status by taking on his father’s screen surname, unlike brother Emilio Estevez
Do you think we’ve forgotten anyone? Comment below on who you think the most highly-rated nepo baby should be.