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A Look at the 3 Most Famous Arab American Actors

posted on: Aug 10, 2021

It is not always easy to know where an actor originally descended from, just by looking at them on-screen. After all, they are called actors for a reason and their screen persona is probably the least likely place for them to give that away! So, prepare to be surprised as we quickly update our readers on five American actors with an Arabic origin.

Jerry Seinfeld

Seinfeld is one of the richest celebrities in the world with nearly a billion dollars to his net worth as of early 2021. Jerry Seinfeld is still very much active as a stand-up comedian, but his main reason for fame and riches, the TV show Seinfeld, continues to earn him millions every year through reruns.

As it turns out, the world’s richest comedian has a very deep-rooted Jewish-Arabic origin. Jerry Seinfeld’s mother Née Hosni (Betty) was Syrian, and his father Kálmán Seinfeld immigrated to the United States from Hungary. Although the man himself was born, brought up, and educated in New York, his tie to the Arabic world goes back several generations.

Salma Hayek

One of Salma Hayek’s earliest successes came from Fools Rush, a scenic romantic comedy that beautifully contrasted the glamourous backdrop of Las Vegas with the simplistic appeal of a Mexican village. Hayek was nominated for the ALMA Outstanding Actress in a Feature Film Award for her portrayal of the female lead in Fools Rush.

Now, when it comes to Salma Hayek’s ancestry, it can get a bit confusing as she is widely known as a Mexican American actress. The information is spot on, but she also has very close ties with Lebanon as well. Her father Sami Hayek Domínguez is a Lebanese Mexican, and some of her paternal side of the family still lives in the ancient city of Baabdat on Mount Lebanon.

Omar Sharif

Michael Yusef Dimitri Chalhoub, better known as Omar Sharif, is best known for his iconic role in the historical epic and masterpiece, Lawrence of Arabia. He played the role of Sherif Ali ibn el Kharish to such a level of perfection that it earned him a nomination at the Academy Awards for the Best Supporting Actor in 1962. Sharif has over the years won several Golden Globe Awards, alongside countless other awards for his roles in and across international, Egyptian, and American cinema.

Omar Sharif was born in the city of Alexandria and is originally a citizen of what is known today as the Arab Republic of Egypt. His father had originally immigrated to the Kingdom of Egypt from Zahle, Lebanon, and King Farouk himself was a close acquaintance of the family.

As far as Arabic American actors are concerned, the three on this list are among the most famous and fitting examples. However, there are several other actors out there with vague to prominent Arab origins as well. For example, Vincent Anthony Vaughn apparently has a Lebanese blood connection, but his mixed descent also relates him to Italian, Irish, English, and German races. Paula Abdul and Tony Shalhoub, on the other hand, have very close, existing ties with their respective Arabic origins.

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