If show business is all about who you know, nepotism babies have the ultimate hookup getting through the door. Defined as children working in the same industry as their famous and connected parents, their presence in Hollywood is controversial because it brings their merit and work ethic into question.
However, there is a group of well-connected offspring who have not reached the heights of their parents or what their talent allows. Maybe they are consistently working but have yet to win awards for their efforts. Maybe they are sought after by directors but have failed to find the break-out role to make them a household name. They could be pigeonholed into supporting parts or just not have the credits they should have. Either way, these underrated nepo babies are just waiting for you to discover them.
Which of these nepo babies do you think deserve the most success? Vote up your favorites.
- Photo: The Offer / Paramount+1516 VOTES
If you take one look at Colin Hanks, you can tell his dad is Oscar-winning A-lister Tom Hanks. With the same smile and head of hair, Colin has worked consistently in Hollywood since 1999 when he starred in Roswell.
Since then, he has been cast in blockbusters like King Kong and the Jumanji franchise, and critically acclaimed TV shows like Fargo, Life in Pieces, Impeachment: American Crime Story, A Friend of the Family, and the Godfather miniseries The Offer. For his efforts and despite positive reviews, he has won no major awards for his work. In comparison, his father has six Oscar nominations alone.
Long before his dad played Mister Rogers in A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood, Colin played the beloved children's TV figure on Drunk History. When his father's role was announced, he joked on Twitter, “Oh, did someone else get cast in a rival Mr. Rogers project? I would hate to be them right now.”
- Photo: Raising Dion / Netflix2373 VOTES
Son of the late comedic powerhouse and Three's Company legend John Ritter and grandson of country music legend Tex Ritter, Jason Ritter has been quietly working on some of television's best shows.
He started out as a teenager in a wheelchair and the brother of a girl who talks to god in Fox's Joan of Arcadia before bouncing around various sitcoms and dramas. For his time on Parenthood, Ritter was nominated for an Emmy Award. He is arguably best known for voicing Dipper Pine on the animated kids' show Gravity Falls.
Though he never shared the screen with his father, Ritter has worked with his famous wife actress Melanie Lynskey on both Candy and Yellowjackets. She talked to Variety about working with him:
He’s so good, and it’s really fun to get to work with somebody who is creative and interesting and does something different every take, which is what he does. He’s also so good at improv.
Despite his talents, Ritter is not known in Hollywood as a leading man, often playing supporting roles to more famous costars, like Michael B. Jordan in Raising Dion. He did lead the short-lived Kevin (Probably) Saves the World but quickly returned to playing boyfriends and supporting characters.
He may have over 115 credits to his name but has been nominated for only three awards throughout his career.
- Photo: Star Trek / Paramount Pictures3486 VOTES
For a man who has been in the Star Trek and Wonder Woman film franchises, Chris Pine has yet to truly hit movie stardom. Dashing in Into the Woods and Jack Ryan: Shadow Recruit and charmingly sinister in Don't Worry Darling, Pine has taken on interesting roles that run the gamut.
Pine's experience is very different from that of his actor father, Robert Pine, who is known for one role in particular, Sgt. Joseph Getraer in CHiPs. Like his father, Chris has ventured into TV many times, starring in I Am the Night and both Wet Hot American Summer series. Yet, Pine hasn't received any major awards consideration for his talents, despite consistently working in Hollywood.
- Photo: Stranger Things / Netflix4423 VOTES
After beginning her career modeling for Vogue, the daughter of Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman started her acting career as Jo March in the BBC adaptation of Little Women. Maya then moved on to what would become her breakout role, Robin Buckley on Stranger Things. Despite the success of the show's fourth season, Hawke's performance was snubbed for an Emmy nomination, along with the rest of her cast.
In 2022, she paid tribute to some of the '90s movies that made her parents famous in Do Revenge. Critic Matt Seitz praised her performance:
Hawke, who's got her mother Uma Thurman's smoky-wounded voice and her father's laid-back know-it-all charm, plays every beat just right.
- Photo: Star Wars: The Force Awakens / Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures5329 VOTES
Quietly working with some of the best talents out there, including his own father, Domhnall Gleeson has achieved success taking supporting roles in major franchises like Harry Potter and Star Wars. Born to Brendan Gleeson and the eldest of four performers, Domhnall made his film debut alongside his father in Oscar winner Martin McDonagh's short film Six Shooter.
Over the years, he has worked on huge franchises, indie darlings, and Oscar hits. He's worked alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in The Revenant, co-starred in Alex Garland's hit Ex Machina, and appeared in Darren Aronofsky's Mother! Despite this, he isn't a household name and has yet to receive any major awards for his talents.
He has collaborated with both his father and brother Brian on screen and off. The trio has written, directed, and produced shows and plays together, including the Amazon series Frank of Ireland. In a 2022 interview with Stephen Colbert, Domhnall talked about working with his family:
They're like my favorite people… and getting to work with great people who are also great at what they do is one of the joys of getting to work in showbiz.
- Photo: Saturday Night Live / NBC6347 VOTES
If you've watched Maya Rudolph on Saturday Night Live and seen her sing, you've probably wondered where she got her musical talents from. Few know that her parents were singer Minnie Ripperton and music producer Richard Rudolph. The former, who died right before Maya's seventh birthday, made a name for herself with songs like “Les Fleurs” and the No. 1 hit “Lovin’ You.”
Maya grew up with a sense of humor and joined the renowned improv troupe The Groundlings. In 1999, she became a cast member on Saturday Night Live, where she became known for her Beyoncé, Oprah, Charo, and Donatella Versace impressions. She has since starred in Bridesmaids, Idiocracy, Big Mouth, Loot, and Wine Country.
Maya may be known for her comedic talents, but her dramatic work has also gained critical acclaim. As the pregnant, nomadic Verona in Away We Go, she was praised for her “relaxed, lived-in performance” by the A.V. Club. Yet she did not receive an Oscar nomination for her work nor has she taken many leading dramatic roles since.