For a list of famous Romani around the world, visit http://bit.ly/7rZwOt. You’ll find authors, musicians, teachers, athletes, even presidents! I’ve selected a few from that list that may surprise you.
|Yul Brynner – An undoubtedly controversial person, his origins have been a mystery for many. He is believed to have had both Romany and Jewish ancestry, by his mother Marousia Blagovidova, whose father was a Russian Jew and her mother a Russian Gypsy. It was among Roma that he began his adventurous life, playing guitar in Romany circles and working as a trapezist in circus. He was elected Honorary President of the Roma, an office that he kept until his death.
Sir Charles Chaplin – Born Charles Spencer Chaplin, his parents were music hall artists. It is usually assumed that he was Jewish, an assertion that seems not to be true. He felt strongly identified with the Jews and manifested his defense of the Jewish people, but there is not any documented source to assert with certainty if he had Jewish ancestry. On the other side, it is known that his mother, Hannah Smith, was Romanichel, and his father probably was too. He was knighted in 1975.
Sir Michael Caine: Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, it was a tradition of his Romanichel family to call Maurice the firstborn son. As an actor, he was awarded twice with the Oscar (1986 and 1999). He was knighted in the year 2000 for his contribution to performing arts.
And finally…guess which US President claims Romani roots?
Answer: Bill Clinton