DiCaprio & friends – German-speaking Hollywood stars

Did you know that many Hollywood stars have German roots, and that some even grew up bilingual? So which celebs can you chat with about plum cake and German Schlager music without an interpreter? Let’s find out.

We at Supertext aren’t immune to a bit of celebrity gossip and this topic is far too intriguing to ignore. Not only do some Hollywood stars speak German, a little genealogical research reveals that there’s even a connection between Die Hard and the North Hessian folk band Wildecker Herzbuben – seriously!

What better reason could there be to spend some time immersed in the weird world of Hollywood trivia?

Feel free to speak German with these celebs if you ever happen to run into them…

Bruce Willis


Bruce Willis’s full name is Walter (!) Bruce Willis, and he was born in Rhineland-Palatinate to a German mother and US father in the army. Sadly, much as I’d like to hear the action hero talking in the Palatine dialect, his German is apparently far from fluent. Bizarrely, one of his German second cousins is married to a member of the Wildecker Herzbuben.

Kirsten Dunst


Kirsten Caroline Dunst is German: the daughter of Klaus Dunst, a doctor from Hamburg, she took German citizenship in 2011. According to an interview with the Berliner Zeitung, the actor may soon be buying a house in Berlin.

Sandra Bullock


As the daughter of a German opera singer, Sandra Annette Bullock doesn’t just have German citizenship; she also lived primarily in Nuremberg until the age of 12. The actor speaks fluent German – with a Franconian accent.

Other actors with German roots:

Leonardo DiCaprio

You don’t need to be a fan of glossy magazines to know that Leonardo DiCaprio called his late grandmother Helene Indenbirken ‘Oma’ rather than ‘Grandma’ – even the most sober members of the German press establishment have mentioned this once or twice. The German-American actor likes plum cake, is proud of his roots in Recklinghausen and will happily fly the whole clan in for his film premieres.

Charlize Theron

Frau Theron has a German mother and said in an interview a few years ago: “Germany was where I learned to drink — and to speak a bit of German, of course.” The South African lived in Hamburg for a few months when working as a model, and allegedly speaks more than 28 languages, if with somewhat variable results.

Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage’s grandmother also comes from Germany – from Rhineland-Palatinate, like Bruce Willis’ family. The actor bought himself a castle here a few years ago, and admitted in an interview that he’s working hard to improve his German skills.

Images from Wikipedia: Kirsten Dunst, Bruce Willis, Sandra Bullock

Cover image via Flickr: Hollywood – Shinya Suzuki (CC BY-ND 2.0)

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