Bet You Didn't Know These Celebs Were Arab!

Published April 17th, 2012 - 20:34 GMT

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Jerry Seinfeld proud of his Arabic roots
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Image 1 of 16: Jerry Seinfeld: Turns out he could be as much as half Arab, of the Syrian variety! With a mother of Syrian Jewish heritage and a Turkish immigrant father, this man's star-studded street credit traces back to Ellis Island. In fact, the proud-'Araby' nabbed the family heritage award from the 'Statue of Liberty Ellis Island Foundation' in 2009.

Vincent Vaughn
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Image 1 of 16: Vincent Anthony Vaughn: Known in celeb-speak as Vince Vaughn, he is a Hollywood heavy who turns out to be partially Lebanese. Hit films include 'The Break Up' and 'The Wedding Crashers'. He has dated Jennifer Aniston, romantic lead opposite and other half to the simulated break up - enacted off-screen when the two split. Anybody smell a PR stunt?

Salma Hayek
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Image 1 of 16: Salma Hayek: It's no secret that this sizzling Mexican is of Spanish & Lebanese extract. Her father hails from Lebanon. Her name has served the actress, director & producer well, as she bagged Best Actress for her role as Frida Kahlo. She rose to fame alongside Antonio Banderas in 90s film 'Desperado' - now one of Hollywood's elegant beauties.

Tiffany rose to fame in the '80s
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Image 1 of 16: Tiffany Renee Darwish -- one for the oldies. Pop 80s sensation 'Tiffany' is another Lebanese-Syrian descendent, from her paternal roots. If you know her, you danced or sang to 'teen anthem' - and major hit that shot her to fame - "I think we're alone now". If you, don't worry, there's no shame in it- you're not alone!

Tony Shalhoub
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Image 1 of 16: Tony Shalhoub. Known to most as 'Monk' from the winning eponymous crime-comedy, this man is Lebanese through and through, with both parents immigrating to the US. His TV career took off with "Wings". His hair betrays his roots! Bet you could tell from the tell-tale unruly frizzy dark locks that he hid an Arab within!

Paula Abdul
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Image 1 of 16: Paula Abdul: Whether you know her from American Idol or as a darling pop star of the '80s with adorable 'Opposites Attract' among her repertoire of bouncy tunes, she's unsurprisingly from the family name 'Abdul' got some Arab heritage going on. Both Jewish and Syrian, she's lived between Brazil, Syria and the US.

Michael Nouri
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Image 1 of 16: Michael Nouri - another addition to the Lebanese background club, he is famous for his role in Flashdance. He has also made notable appearances in TV hit series, The O.C, detective show NCIS (as a Mossad operative, courtesy of his Semitic looks), as well as featuring in American TV drama 'Brothers and Sisters' and movie 'The Proposal'.

DJ Khaled
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Image 1 of 16: DJ Khaled: Khaled Bin Abdul Khaled (of Palestinian origin) is a household name in the US hiphop industry. DJ Khaled (pron. 'Kaled') hits include "All I do is win" (featuring hiphop moguls Snoop Dogg, T-Pain, Ludacris ) & "I'm so hood". This successful Palestinian collaborates with Usher & Kanye West & is President for record label Def Jam South.

Frank Zappa
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Image 1 of 16: Frank Zappa: Frank Vincent Zappa (passed) was an American composer, singer-songwriter, electronic guitarist, record producer and film director. His 1966 debut album with band 'The Mothers of Invention', Freak Out! is a ubiquitous party-favorite mixed and re-mixed catchy tune. This musical legend had mixed Arab blood, but pure Arab hairy features!

Sammy Hagar has the Lebanese in him
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Image 1 of 16: Sam Roy "Sammy" Hagar- Lead singer for hard rock outfit, Van Halen. Partially Lebanese but all-Lebanese in his musical and rock n roll spirit. The Lebanese in him is exposed by his party-animal, rocker career.

Ralph Nader speaks Arabic
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Image 1 of 16: Ralph Nader: Well-known political activist in the U.S, Nader is a six-time candidate for President of the United States, running for the Green Party twice. His parents immigrated from Lebanon and he speaks Arabic. Popular by 'lefty' student culture, he champions causes such as the environment, and other branches of social activism.

Alia Shawkat Arab actress
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Image 1 of 16: Alia Shawkat-- of Iraqi descent from her father's side, this young 20-something star has played Arab and Jewish characters on TV. She plays 'Maeby Funke' on TV serial 'Arrested Development'. This Mesopotamian Arab-ess starred in Amreeka as the Palestinian-American character. Multi-active in the arts, she has a musical bent too.

Marlo Thomas acts and writes
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Image 1 of 16: Marlo Thomas: the daughter of Lebanese American comedian, Danny Thomas is known for her role in Friends as 'Rachel's' mother. This sometimes actress also has a literary streak, currently dedicated to a section for the Huffington Post.

Catherine Keener
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Image 1 of 16: Catherine Keener: Another acting lady of Lebanese descent, she is probably most known for her part in the '40-Year Old Virgin' as the 'experienced' love interest. An challenging part to play if she is remotely close to the conservative Arab culture from which she hails.

Shannon Elizabeth struts her stuff
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Image 1 of 16: Shannon Elizabeth: She strutted her stuff as 'Nadia' from the 'American Pie' teenage boy sleazy films. She plays the sexy seductress foreign exchange student, and strips for a web cam. Daughter of a Syrian Lebanese father, we can only wonder if her Dad was OK with her sultry image.

Julia Sawalha has Jordania heritage
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Image 1 of 16: Julia Sawalha: This English actress is of stellar Jordanian parentage. For British audiences, she is a household name from 'AbFab' and the TV edition of Jane Austen's Pride & Prejudice. Her sister acted in soap EastEnders, and her father is actor Nadim Sawalha from James Bond movies. Her grandma, businesswoman and award-holder from Queen Noor.

We are proud to announce a list of Western stars and luminaries of the entertainment and art world who have something of the Arab within! Part Arab, many generations ago or just a single remove away, we expose the closet Arabs and the all out Arab-embracing celebs. Most descend from the Levant region between Syria and Lebanon, but there is the occasional Iraqi, Jordanian or Palestinian lurking within this gallery of Arab blood.

Did you know that the following famous people had Arab origins? Here's a selection of Hollywood acting legends and singing stars, who come in degrees of Arab-ness, from partial, to fully-fledged and native speaking Arab. From the more commonly recognized names as Paula Abdul, Tiffany and Salma Hayek and Julia Sawalha to the lesser known hybrid Arabs as Vince Vaughn, Tony Shalhoub, hip-hop frat party play-lister, DJ Khaled (Kalid), comedy hero Jerry Seinfeld and rock legend Frank Zappa. Find out where all the Arab talent that headed 'West' landed, from the big-screen to the classic musical archives.

 

Do you know of any other Western celebrity who remains in the 'Arab closet' that might have Arabic heritage? 

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Salma is Native American, Spanish, Lebanese

Anonymous (not verified) Wed, 05/21/2014 - 03:03

Don't forget about The legendary Freddie Mercury (From Zanzibar, Arab decent, his name was originally farrohk Bulsara) and Joe Strummer (the punk rock band named the clash, from turkey)

Anonymous (not verified) Tue, 11/26/2013 - 02:02

Sorry, you don't get Freddie Mercury. He's Indian, according to him, his mom, and best friend, he said Persian bc of the blatant discrimination suffered by the Indians at that time. Also, don't Muslims hate music and gay people?

Anonymous (not verified) Thu, 12/12/2013 - 09:29

Guys, you forgot Shakira, she's also half Lebanese, her last name in Moubarak, even her name Shakira is an Arabic name if you put the accent on "Sha", find out more about this subject on http://www.katagogi.com/mid200760

SaraJess (not verified) Thu, 08/30/2012 - 10:23

fyi, the photo you have at image 16 labelled Julia Sawalha is actually a photo of her sister Nadia

Anonymous (not verified) Sun, 06/17/2012 - 13:19

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