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Anthony Perkins

Paternal 16th cousin, 3x removed.

Discovering that I was related to Hollywood icon, Anthony Perkins, came as quite a surprise to me as I had no idea that I was related to "Norman Bates". My discovery came as I was following the branches of my 18th Great-Parents, Thomas Stanley (1st Baron Stanley) and Joan Goushill who just happen to have been Anthony Perkin's 15th Great-Grandparents. In another crossing of family lines, Anthony Perkin's was also a descendant of Mayflower passenger John Howland; John's son Captain Joseph Howland married my 7th cousin, Elizabeth Southworth.

I descend from Katherine Stanley while Anthony descended from Margaret Stanely, Katherine's younger sister. In genealogical terms, being separated by 15 generations of grandparents is reasonably close (only 600 years!).

While I never knew Anthony Perkins, I did know of  him; especially his role as Norman Bates in Alfred Hitchcock's movie Psycho, a movie which still airs today. The film also starred screen legend Janet Leigh, mother of one of my favorite actors, Jamie Lee Curtis (no relation to me - at least as far as I know at this time).

Born in New York City on April 4th, 1932 to Osgood Perkins (a stage and film actor) and Janet Esselstyn Rane. Osgood died from a heart attack on September 21, 1937 when Anthony was only 5 years old. 

In my research of this famous cousin, I could find very little about his life from childhood until his first part in the movie The Actress in 1953. The film was not a success but the next year, in 1954, when he replaced another actor in the Broadway play Tea and Sympathy, interest in the talented young actor was renewed.

In 1956 and 1957, Anthony acted in 4 movies. In 1957's The Tin Star, Anthony acted alongside screen legend Henry Fonda (father of 2 other famous cousin's of this author, Jane and Peter Fonda). In 1959 Anthony acted alongside this author's cousin, Audrey Hepburn in the movie Green Mansions.

Later, in 1960, Anthony acted in the movie Tall Story, the debut film of Jane Fonda. 

Of course Perkin's pivotal role came in the Alfred Hitchcock classic Psycho which premiered in 1960. The film was, and still is, considered a masterpiece and caused a generation to fear taking a shower! Hitchcock did an excellent job filming the movie, and Perkins played the main character, Norman Bates. Although the movie was filmed over 60 years ago, the movie still resonates with audiences today, and has spun-off several remakes and television shows.

Psycho was not the last of Anthony's movie roles, and he was involved in dozens of other movies, stage plays and television roles in the years before his death. As often happens, Anthony's portrayal of the deranged killer, Norman Bates is the role most associated with the actor.

Unlike Anthony's childhood, I did discover a lot of information regarding the actor's personal life as an adult. Anthony is described as being a shy, quiet person, especially around women. Anthony purportedly had a number of intimate relationships with men until he was in his late 30's when he became involved with actress Victoria Principal in 1971. In 1972, Perkins met his future wife, Berinthia "Berry" Berenson. The couple wed on August 9th, 1973 and had 2 sons, Oz Perkins (1974) and Elvis Perkins (1976). 

Anthony Perkins died on September 12, 1992 from HIV related pneumonia, a fact which was revealed after his death. In a tragic twist of fate, Anthony's wife Berry died on September 11, 2001 at age 53. Berry was aboard American Airlines flight 11, the first flight to hit the World Trade Center. It was the day before the 9th anniversary of Anthony's death.

Anthony's sons have followed somewhat in his footsteps with Oz becoming a director and Elvis becoming a musician. 

Anthony Perkins: an American film and stage icon who terrified and entertained audiences across the US, and around the world...and another member who holds a special place in the ever-growing Taylor Family Tree.

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