Kate's only the tip of the iceberg

Michael Greenwood on the Winslet sisters, latest in a long line of theatrical families

AFTER the Redgraves, the Fondas, the Sheens, the Cusacks and the Bridges, here come the Winslets.

There is a long tradition of acting family dynasties and now that the sister of Titanic star Kate Winslet has embarked on her first screen role the name Winslet looks set to join the ranks of Hollywood's finest families.

Beth Winslet will debut in the BBC drama The Scold's Bridle, to be shown over the Easter weekend. She describes her entry into the acting world as inevitable; her father, grandmother and her other older sister, Anna, are all members of the profession.

The 19-year-old "Baby" Winslet said: "Acting has always been there and because of that it has never seemed like this big glamorous thing. I was a member of the Starmaker theatre company in Reading from the time I was about eight and family Christmases are very theatrical in our house, we always play charades and do a play."

The phenomenon of acting dynasties is common in the US and the UK. Hollywood icon Lloyd Bridges, who died earlier this month, admitted that he pushed his two sons, Beau and Jeff, towards an acting career. "I encouraged them in an insidious way, because I loved acting and it has provided me with a great life," he once said. Both sons went on to success on television and screen with Jeff winning three Oscar nominations.

In Britain, the Sawalha family has emerged as something of an acting dynasty. While all the attention to the Sawalha name had paid to Julia for roles in Absolutely Fabulous and Pride and Prejudice, waiting in the wings was her older sister Nadia, who came from relative obscurity and working as a waitress in Pizza Hut to star as EastEnders bad girl Annie Palmer.

Heading the Sawalha dynasty is the unmistakable acting pedigree of their father Nadim. The 63-year-old played the unfortunate Egyptian who met a grisly end in the mouth of Jaws in the 1977 James Bond film The Spy Who Loved Me. He is more likely to be recognised for his role as Dr Shaaban Hamada in BBC's drama Dangerfield. Later this year, Nadim will star alongside Uma Thurman and Sean Connery in the pounds 40m Avengers film.

Martin Brown, from the acting union Equity, said the phenomenon of acting families may suggest there is an acting gene but, more often than not, their success comes from the atmosphere of an acting household.

"Family dynasties are much more likely to come from the cultural rather than the genetic climate. The success of the Winslets suggests they had a home life that fostered the sort of expressive attributes that you need to be an actor."

But Mr Brown says while there are many examples of acting families, for every sibling or child that follows in the footsteps of their relative there is another who shies away from the limelight.

"Many think the cost of being in the public eye is too great. If an actor has to go away to film on location then they can become an absent parent. Children from those families will often say, 'I do not want that sort of life - it can be extremely hard.'"

But for those budding actors with no family ties to stage or screen there is inspiration in the form of Bryan Smyth.

Until last month, just like his father and grandfather before him, Mr Smyth was delivering milk to the people of Dublin. Now the 34-year-old is tipped to be the West End's latest heart-throb after landing a role alongside Philip Schofield in a production of Doctor Dolittle.

'The Scold's Bridle' starts on 10 April on BBC1.

Voices
voicesGood for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, writes Grace Dent
Sport
The Pipes and Drums of The Scottish Regiments perform during the Opening Ceremony for the Glasgow 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park on July 23, 2014 in Glasgow, Scotland.
Commonwealth GamesThe actor encouraged the one billion viewers of the event to donate to the children's charity
Sport
Karen Dunbar performs
Entertainers showcase local wit, talent and irrepressible spirit
Sport
Members of the Scotland deleagtion walk past during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Commonwealth Games at Celtic Park in Glasgow on July 23, 2014.
PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
News
ebookA unique anthology of reporting and analysis of a crucial period of history
Arts and Entertainment
The Tour de France peloton rides over a bridge on the Grinton Moor, Yorkshire, earlier this month
film
Life and Style
fashion Designs are part of feminist art project by a British student
News
Very tasty: Vladimir Putin dining alone, perhaps sensibly
news
Life and Style
Listen here: Apple EarPods offer an alternative
techAre custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?
Arts and Entertainment
Top guns: Cole advised the makers of Second World War film Fury, starring Brad Pitt
filmLt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a uniform
News
The University of California study monitored the reaction of 36 dogs
sciencePets' range of emotions revealed
News
Snoop Dogg pictured at The Hollywood Reporter Nominees' Night in February, 2013
people... says Snoop Dogg
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
News
Joining forces: young British men feature in an Isis video in which they urge Islamists in the West to join them in Iraq and Syria
newsWill the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?
Arts and Entertainment
The nomination of 'The Wake' by Paul Kingsnorth has caused a stir
books
News
i100
Life and Style
food + drinkZebra meat is exotic and lean - but does it taste good?
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Independent Dating
and  

By clicking 'Search' you
are agreeing to our
Terms of Use.

iJobs Job Widget
iJobs General

BI Manager - £50,000

£49000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: My client is...

BI Project Manager - £48,000 - £54,000 - Midlands

£48000 - £54000 per annum + Benefits package: Progressive Recruitment: My clie...

VB.Net Developer

£35000 - £45000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: If you're pa...

SAP Business Consultant (SD, MM and FICO), £55,000, Wakefield

£45000 - £55000 per annum + competitive: Progressive Recruitment: SAP Business...

Day In a Page

Screwing your way to the top? Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth

Screwing your way to the top?

Good for Lana Del Rey for helping kill that myth, says Grace Dent
Will the young Britons fighting in Syria be allowed to return home and resume their lives?

Will Britons fighting in Syria be able to resume their lives?

Tony Blair's Terrorism Act 2006 has made it an offence to take part in military action abroad with a "political, ideological, religious or racial motive"
Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter, the wartime poster girl who became a feminist pin-up

Beyoncé poses as Rosie the Riveter

The wartime poster girl became the ultimate American symbol of female empowerment
The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones: Are custom, 3D printed earbuds the solution?

The quest to find the perfect pair of earphones

Earphones don't fit properly, offer mediocre audio quality and can even be painful. So the quest to design the perfect pair is music to Seth Stevenson's ears
US Army's shooting star: Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform

Meet the US Army's shooting star

Lt-Col Steven Cole is the man Hollywood calls when it wants to borrow a tank or check a military uniform
Climate change threatens to make the antarctic fur seal extinct

Take a good look while you can

How climate change could wipe out this seal
Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier for the terminally ill?

Farewell, my lovely

Should emergency hospital weddings be made easier?
Man Booker Prize 2014 longlist: Crowdfunded novel nominated for first time

Crowdfunded novel nominated for Booker Prize

Paul Kingsnorth's 'The Wake' is in contention for the prestigious award
Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster to ensure his meals aren't poisoned

Vladimir Putin employs a full-time food taster

John Walsh salutes those brave souls who have, throughout history, put their knives on the line
Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

Tour de France effect brings Hollywood blockbusters to Yorkshire

A $25m thriller starring Sam Worthington to be made in God's Own Country
Will The Minerva Project - the first 'elite' American university to be launched in a century - change the face of higher learning?

Will The Minerva Project change the face of higher learning?

The university has no lecture halls, no debating societies, no sports teams and no fraternities. Instead, the 33 students who have made the cut at Minerva, will travel the world and change the face of higher learning
The 10 best pedicure products

Feet treat: 10 best pedicure products

Bags packed and all prepped for holidays, but feet in a state? Get them flip-flop-ready with our pick of the items for a DIY treatment
Commonwealth Games 2014: Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games

Commonwealth Games 2014

Great Scots! Planes and pipers welcome in Glasgow's Games
Jack Pitt-Brooke: Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism

Jack Pitt-Brooke

Manchester City and Patrick Vieira make the right stand on racism
How Terry Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

How Newton tragedy made iron men seek help to tackle their psychological demons

Over a hundred rugby league players have contacted clinic to deal with mental challenges of game