My Ancestry Research
William Bradley "Brad" Pitt
23rd paternal cousin, 1x removed.
My 23rd cousin once removed, is a Hollywood icon and is known to just about everyone, including me.
Not only do we share the same DNA, but our names are also very similar, with both of us being William Bradley's, but known as "Brad". Too bad the resemblance ends there, as I could certainly benefit from my distant cousin's looks and acting abilities!
Brad Pitt and I both share King Edward I, also known as "Longshanks" as our common ancestor. Edward I was my 22nd Great-Grandfather while he was Brad Pitt's 23rd Great-Grandfather. Brad Pitt descends through Elizabeth Plantagenet, who was my 22nd Great-Aunt, while I descend through King Edward II's side of the family.
I first became aware of Brad Pitt back in the 1990's when I saw him act in the movie "Thelma & Louise" where he played a drifter. After that movie, Brad seemed to appear in more and more films and soon became a household name and remains such today.
Last year (2019), Brad starred alongside another well-known Hollywood figure, Leonardo DiCaprio in a movie called "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood". The movie took place in 1969 and focused on a fading actor (DiCaprio) and his stuntman (Pitt). As changes take place in Hollywood in the summer of 1969, DiCaprio's character struggles to find his place, while Pitt's character unknowingly becomes involved with the Manson family. DiCaprio's neighbors are Sharon Tate and Roman Polanski. Pitt's character meets one of the Manson family followers and eventually ends up taking her to Spahn Ranch, were the Manson family lives.
I'll admit that I first watched this movie on a plane heading to Shanghai back in November, 2019, and I managed to fall asleep 3/4's of the way through the movie - it wasn't for lack of action, but after being awake for almost 20 hours, I simply fell asleep! When I got back home I rented the movie online and watched it in its entirety, and enjoyed it. I found the character that Brad Pitt played to be exceptional even though some of the storyline was a bit far-fetched IMHO. I thought that Pitt did an excellent job and really carried the movie, although he was cast as a supporting actor. I guess I wasn't alone in my opinion as Pitt won the Best Supporting Actor category at the 2020 Oscars!
The one thing that I have wondered though, is whether Brad Pitt knows that Abigail Folger, one of the Manson Family victims in the real life murders that occurred at the Polanski-Tate home, was his distant cousin? Abigail Anne Folger was Brad Pitt's 17th cousin, 3x removed and my 21st cousin, 2x removed. If he doesn't know about his connection to Abigail, this would indeed be a strange coincidence given his latest movie's storyline.
As with all of my famous family, both living and dead, I only know Brad Pitt from his performances on-screen as an actor, not from any real life contact. We are very distant cousins, and aside from our similar names, I don't know what else we may have in common (certainly not looks!).
I've seen a number of movies in which Brad Pitt has acted, and many of them I liked. He seems to have the ability to act very well in different roles, and to each role he brings new dimensions to the characters. I like that ability in any actor, relative or not; some actors seem to rehash the same voices and actions time and time again, but not Mr. Pitt.
Unless the future holds some as yet unforeseen surprise for me, Brad Pitt will remain yet another famous distant cousin that I will have the pleasure of knowing only through the big (and small) screen through the magic of Hollywood.