Plymouth Roots

Marilyn Monroe, Alec Baldwin & More Star Mayflower Descendants (PHOTOS)

Just in time for Thanksgiving, see the famous faces with roots on the ship, from Palin to the Baldwins.

Clockwise from top left: Running Press / AP Photo; Matt Sayles / Invision / AP Photo; Landov; Mary F. Calvert / MCT / LANDOV; Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP Photo

Clockwise from top left: Running Press / AP Photo; Matt Sayles / Invision / AP Photo; Landov; Mary F. Calvert / MCT / LANDOV; Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP Photo

8 Star Mayflower Descendants

Although just 102 passengers traveled aboard the Mayflower from England to Plymouth Colony in Massachusetts during a blustery two-month trip in 1620, almost 400 years later, a surprising number of all-star Americans can trace their heritage back to these original settlers. This Thanksgiving, let’s all give thanks that we stole them from the Brits.

Running Press / AP Photo

Marilyn Monroe

Norma Jean Baker, the all-American girl who later became superstar Marilyn Monroe, had roots all the way back to John Alden. And humble roots those were: Alden was a hired man, serving as the ship’s cooper, doing things like barrel making. His rumored big claim to fame is being the first person from the ship to set foot on Plymouth Rock.


Humphrey Bogart

There must have been charisma built into John Howland’s genes. His brood turned out well: Hollywood’s golden-age leading man Humphrey Bogart is descended from him, as is Alec Baldwin.

Saul Loeb / AFP / GettyImages

George W. Bush

The dynastic Bush political family traces its roots back to three Mayflower passengers. Through mother Barbara, W. can trace his heritage to Henry Samson. On his father’s side, he’s descended from both John Howland and Francis Cooke—whom President Franklin D. Roosevelt was also distantly related to.

Matt Sayles / Invision / AP Photo

Clint Eastwood

Dirty Harry’s day was definitely made when he found out that notable Mayflower passenger William Bradford was a few branches back in his family tree.

Mary F. Calvert / MCT / LANDOV

Sarah Palin

What do George W. Bush and Sarah Palin have in common? Well, maybe some of their core values and political beliefs, but some genetics, too. These two famous Republican politicians were both descended from John Howland and Henry Samson. Palin herself has three other Mayflower relatives.

Jason Merritt / Getty Images

Hugh Hefner

Two of the most famous playboys of the 20th century have a common descendent: William Bradford, who served as governor of the settlement and was the original creator of the holiday we know as Thanksgiving. Maybe Hugh should see if Clint wants to join him at the Playboy Mansion for this year’s dinner.

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP Photo

Alec Baldwin

Alec Baldwin and his brothers’ lineage stretches back to John Howland, who was an indentured servant aboard the Mayflower. Let’s hope some of Howland’s longevity was passed down through the generations: despite his humble beginnings, he outlived all but one of his fellow passengers.

Chris Pizzello / Invision / AP Photo

Richard Gere

Now this is true patriotism. Leading man Richard Gere can trace his lineage back to not one, not two, but six Mayflower passengers.