A Family Affair: Our Favourite Famous Grandparents

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Ernest and Margaux Hemingway
Ernest and Margaux Hemingway

In support of Kickstarter campaign the Grandmas Project, we celebrate the families whose fame spans across generations

Grandparents are inexhaustible sources of kindness, patience, life lessons and biscuits. They are partners in crime and incredible storytellers, but most importantly they’re the backbone of our heritage, the trailblazers for younger generations. And it was this observation that inspired filmmaker Jonas Pariente to set up his heartwarming kickstarter campaign, the Grandmas Project.

Following the passing of one of his grandmothers, Pariente was struck by a sudden urgency to preserve the legacy (and recipes) of his remaining grandmother Nano. This gave way to a broader idea – the creation of a collaborative web-documentary whereby grandchildren around the world would capture their grandmothers on film as they pass on their culinary wisdom. The resulting videos and recipes will be "gathered into an interactive website where you will be able to navigate through the ingredients of the recipes, the geographic location of the grandmas, the languages they speak and the historical events they witnessed." Here, in support of the campaign (which ends in just two weeks) and of grandparents in general, we remember some of our favourite celebrity grandparent-grandchild pairings.

Ernest & Margaux Hemingway
Although literary legend Ernest Hemingway only got to spend seven years with his granddaughter, Margaux Hemingway grew up on her grandfather's farm in Ketchum, Idaho. With her statuesque body and alluring presence Margaux attained nearly instant recognition as a supermodel in the 1970s. Suffering from depression, the young Hemingway took her own life in 1996, just as her grandfather had done 35 years before.

Eleanor & Gia Coppola
American filmmaker and artist Eleanor Neil met future husband Francis Ford Coppola while working as assistant art director on Coppola’s debut feature film, Dementia 13, in 1962. The two got married a year later and together built one of the most prominent filmmaking families. Gia is the only child of the couple’s eldest son, Gian Carlo, who tragically died in a speed boating accident before his daughter was born. A filmmaker herself, Gia keeps the family tradition alive, having made her acclaimed directorial debut with Palo Alto in 2013. Coming from a notably tight-knit family, Gia is very close to her grandfather, who in the credits of his 1996 film Jack included the dedication “For Gia, 'When you see a shooting star...’”, in reference to his late son Gio.

John & Drew Barrymore
Hollywood darling Drew Barrymore has been acting for as long as she can remember, a skill that certainly runs in the family. Considered the most outstanding and celebrated stage and movie actor of his generation, her grandfather John Barrymore rose to stardom in the early 1920s with roles in Dr. Jekyll & Mr. Hyde Hamlet and Grand Hotel. Although the two never met (Barrymore Sr died in 1942), Barrymore had her father, John Drew Barrymore Jr, and aunt Diana Barrymore – both successful actors in their own rights – to learn from and pass down her grandfather's teachings.

Roald & Sophie Dahl
The author of some of the most-loved children's books ever written, Roald Dahl had six children with his first wife, Oscar-winning American actress Patricia Neal. The daughter of the writer’s second-born Tessa, Sophie Dahl is a renowned model and actress. Before being introduced to the fashion world by Vogue stylist Isabella Blow who spotted her on the streets of London back in 1997, Sophie considered pursuing a career in writing. The published author of a novel and a successful cookery book, Sophie was the inspiration behind the eponymous character in Roald Dahl’s 1982 children’s classic, the BFG.

Anna Venturini Fendi & Delfina Delettrez Fendi
The second of five daughters to founders Edorado and Adele, Anna joined the family business in the early 1960s. For over 50 years as the creative mind of the company, Anna has created some of the most desirable accessories in the history of fashion. Representing the fourth generation of Italy’s renowned all-female fashion dynasty, Anna's granddaughter Delfina is a well-established jewellery designer, whose famous eyes, bees and lips pieces have become a firm fashion favourite.

Support the Grandmas Project on Kickstarter here.