Celebrity offspring: One degree of separation

Mummy's an actress, daddy's a rock star - what is one to do? The daughters and sons of babyboomer celebrities are taking over the world. Katy Guest reports
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What do Keith Richards, Ozzy Osbourne, Bill Oddie, Richard Branson and Camilla Parker Bowles have in common? Potential housemates for the 2008 edition of Celebrity Big Brother? No. They are the latest additions to a burgeoning new category of celebrity: those whose children threaten to be more famous than they are.

There was a time, you may dimly recall, when people largely became famous because they had a special talent or a unique ability. George Best was the most brilliant footballer of his generation. Lenny Kravitz was a genius rockstar. The Hiltons ran some quite successful hotels. But their children were born famous. To dazzle they had merely to exist. Which Paris Hilton does decadently, Zoe Kravitz does with breathtaking beauty and Calum Best does, just.

Fame used to be the by-product of a career: acting dynasties such as the Redgraves and the Douglases and singing families like the one that includes Whitney Houston and Dionne Warwick spread their talented genes through the generations. Now fame itself is a family business. Last summer, Mario Testino was commissioned by Vogue to photograph teenagers who he believed epitomised cool, glamorous London. The result was a rash of familiar names: Max Irons, the model son of the actor Jeremy; Alice Dellal, the photographer daughter of the model Andrea. Towards the end of the year, it was difficult to pick up a newspaper or magazine without discovering the latest feuds of Lily "daughter of Keith" Allen and Peaches "Daughter of Bob" Geldof, or Paris "hotel dynasty" Hilton and Nicole "Lionel's child" Richie.

Now, a new campaign by Burberry shows that, more than ever, it is the name that matters. The presence of Kate Moss only seems to highlight that not all of these children are lovely. But it is not their looks that are important, it is their names: Max Irons; Otis and Isaac Ferry (sons of the singer Bryan); Theodora and Alexandra Richards (daughters of the coconut tree-climbing rockstar Keith) and Sam Branson (son of Richard). A fashion industry insider who understands the thinking behind this says: "The ads are about a fusion between a quintessentially British, aristocratic heritage and a rock chic, edgy image. Somebody like Otis Ferry combines history with the contemporary. If you're the child of a megastar you probably have a high disposable income and a glamorous lifestyle. It conveys a sense of choice by people who can afford to do and wear what they like."

Otis is notorious for storming the House of Commons to protest against the hunting ban, and in a recent interview he swore that he would never enter the shallow world of music and modelling. "[My parents] knew I would never end up like that," he said. "Being a pop star's son is irrelevant. What's interesting is that I am a 21-year-old hunt master in the thick of it."

Some aspiring superstars are rather more up front about the benefits that a famous name can offer. India Waters is a successful model. She is also the daughter of Pink Floyd's Roger Waters. "Life has been easier for me," she admits. "For four years after I started modelling I didn't use my father's name. Then, when I'd got a Vogue shoot without anyone knowing who I was, I thought, 'Sod it, let's sell out.'"

But the traditional musical and theatrical dynasties still exist too. Rufus and Martha Wainwright are the children of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle; their friend Teddy Thompson's parents are the folk stars Richard and Linda Thompson. "My dad took me on tour with him when I was just starting recording," Thompson Jnr recalls. "I was about 19." Kate Hudson, who seems to have inherited her looks and her career from her mother, Goldie Hawn, complained: "When you start out, people don't necessarily take you so seriously. They're expecting a spoiled little rich kid to come in. I just kind of walk on the set and I gave it to them straight, and I say, 'This is what I want to do, and I'm serious about it.'"

Jamie Lee Curtis, the daughter of Tony Curtis and Janet Leigh said: "When I was 18 all I did was go to interviews. I didn't get any special treatment. Instead they were very keen to say, 'Tony Curtis's daughter? She can't be any good.' You'd think, if genetics meant anything at all, everyone would have been very keen to hire me as an actress." Mickey Sumner, the model daughter of Sting and Trudie Styler, says that her role model was another celebrity daughter. "I met Stella McCartney at her show in Paris, and she was really inspirational, actually. I said to her, 'You make me want to do something with my life, because you've done the hardest thing - with that name.'"

Professor Mark Griffiths has researched the psychology of fame at Nottingham Trent University. "All children are obviously highly influenced by their parents and it's unsurprising when they take things from them. My children have two psychologists for parents, and I wouldn't be surprised if at least one of them were to become a psychologist."

It is unlikely, though, that the children of a builder or town planner who grew up to make houses or plan roundabouts would go through the kind of torments that some celebrity children face. "In some cases, it is impossible to achieve the same kind of success," says Professor Griffiths. "Julian and Sean Lennon are both very gifted musicians, but they will never touch their dad. They're on a hiding to nothing. You've always got problems if you go directly into exactly the same thing: you'll always be compared."

Given the way that celebrities complain about press intrusion and the tedium of fame, you might think that having celebrity parents would send a child hurtling into self-imposed obscurity, like Zowie Bowie, who changed his name to Duncan Jones and became an ad manager, or Keith Richards' daughter, Dandelion, who renamed herself Angela and married a carpenter. Professor Griffiths believes this is uncommon. "Wanting to be famous is endemic in society now," he says. "Children have nothing to compare their childhood to, so they don't know it isn't normal."

Last week, Steve "Crocodile Hunter" Irwin's daughter announced her own TV show: Bindi, the Jungle Girl. She is eight years old. This week, Will Smith will launch his new film, The Pursuit of Happyness, in which he stars with his son Jaden, seven. There is no shortage of ready young volunteers being added to the celebrity gene pool. Prepare for the latest single by Bluebell Halliwell and the new film with Shiloh Nouvel Pitt-Jolie, coming soon.

'I would never have got this far without my parents'

Interview by Alice Douglas

Sophie Conran, 41, is the daughter of the designer, retailer and restaurateur Terence Conran and the cookery writer Caroline Conran. Sophie, a designer, has recently launched a range of pies.

The way I was brought up inspired me to be creative. As children, my brothers and I were very much involved in our parents' work. We would model for Habitat catalogues. It was great fun: they'd say, "Here you go, here's a room full of toys", and we'd be photographed while we played. Mum would test recipes for her cookery books on us and take us along to food markets.

Working and family life always went together in my home. The passion for work rubbed off on me. Dad ran his business from an outbuilding and his partners were his best friends, so it was all very social and festive. I've often worked with him - mostly as a buyer - and my parents always help me with my projects, giving positive criticism.

Being entrepreneurial is in my blood, it's what I grew up with. I am forever thinking up new ideas for new ventures. The pie idea came to me in the bath at 5am. My mum and I would meet up at my brother's pub and I'd have a handbag of pie samples and she'd taste them and make encouraging noises.

Being called Conran does mean you are listened to. After that it's up to you. Sometimes it can be difficult - if people prejudge you because of your name. I remember doing a presentation for a very frosty woman, but I hope that when I'd finished she was impressed by my professionalism. As for my parents, I would never have got this far without them.

GREAT GENES: Does the face look familiar?

1 The TV sports presenter Gabby Logan's father is the former Wales international Terry Yorath.

2 Sam Roddick founded Coco de Mer, which is a bit like her mother, Anita's, Body Shop, but saucier.

3 Musical siblings Martha and Rufus Wainwright are the children of Loudon Wainwright III and Kate McGarrigle.

4 Actress/model Kimberly Stewart's father, Rod, once claimed she had a drinking problem. She said she didn't.

5 The bestselling author Cecelia Ahern's father Bertie is the Irish Taoiseach, and her sister Georgina is married to Nicky Byrne of Westlife.

6 It must be in the genes (or the jeans); designer Jasmine Fayed, daughter of Mohamed, won a Women of the Future Award last year.

7 Leila Ali, the daughter of the great Muhammad, not only became a boxer, but fought Joe Frazier's daughter Jackie Frazier-Lyde.

8 Paris Hilton's on-off pal Nicole Richie is famous for being famous, thin and the daughter of 1980s crooner Lionel Richie.

9 Rosie Oddie is the 21-year-old songbird daughter of famous twitcher Bill Oddie.

10 If you are an aspiring model these days it is wise to have at least one Rolling Stone as a parent. Models Jesse and Leah Wood are Ronnie's daughters.

11 EastEnders' Hannah Waterman was cheered on by her father Dennis as she won the BBC's singing contest Justthe Two of Us.

12 If Goldie Hawn should ever grow old, she will be reassured to know that her lookalike daughter Kate Hudson is in the wings.

13 Rebecca Frayn's success as a writer and director must thrill her father, the author and playwright Michael Frayn, and stepmother, the author Claire Tomalin.

14 The 17-year-old model Daisy Lowe was discovered while shopping with her mum, Pearl Lowe, of the Primrose Hill set. Her dad is Bush singer Gavin Rossdale.

15 DJ and party animal, Peaches Geldof is the daughter of wild children Bob Geldof and Paula Yates.

16 The entrepreneur Tom Parker Bowles founded Quintessentially.com. He is also quintessentially well-connected, being the son of the Duchess of Cornwall.

17 First seen as the baby boy in Francis Ford Coppola's The Godfather, Sofia Coppola is now an Oscar-winning director, actress and producer.

18 Kiran Desai, the daughter of the three-times Booker bridesmaid Anita Desai, won the prize herself last year, for The Inheritance of Loss.

19 "My parents don't do nepotism, and neither do I," says Ed Stoppard, actor son of Tom and Miriam. He adds that his childhood "was just 'Say hello to Mr Pinter before you go and play'".

20 Otis Ferry, son of Bryan, recently sneered at the shallow world of modelling: "Being a pop star's son is irrelevant," he said. Now he and brother Isaac are models.

21 Jack Davenport, son of the actors Nigel Davenport and Maria Aitken, vowed to stay away from acting. He failed, and is now a famous actor married to the actress Michelle Gomez.

22 Max Irons, son of the actors Jeremy Irons and Sinead Cusack, is a star of the Burberry campaign, featuring alongside Sophie Dahl - model, author and granddaughter of author Roald.

23 Goldplated star Jaime Winston is not yet as well-known as her actor father Ray, but she is much prettier.

24 The sports presenter Kirsty Gallacher is the daughter of the former Ryder Cup captain Bernard.

25 Another Burberry baby, blond Sam Branson, son of Richard, has become known as the good-looking one in the new campaign.

26 When Sir Paul's daughter Stella McCartney joined the fashion house Chloé, Vogue wrote that "her first collection ... quickly dispelled any doubts about her talent".

27 Angelina Jolie, daughter of actor Jon Voight, has two adopted children and had Shilo Nouvel with Brad Pitt. Will any of the young go into the family business?

28 Elizabeth Jagger's genes are double A-list, since her father is singer Mick and her mother is Jerry Hall.

29 Keith Richards's model daughters Theodora and Alexandra Richards were fortunate enough to inherit their mother's looks.

30 Rosanna Davison's father, Chris de Burgh, dedicated 1986's "For Rosanna" to her. She is now also known as Miss World 2003.

31 Best thing about motormouth singer Lily Allen becoming famous? Motormouth actor Keith Allen having to get used to being known as "Lily Allen's dad".

32 With the combined genes of rockstar Lenny Kravitz and actress Lisa Bonet, it would be rude for Zoe Kravitz not to become a beautiful model.

33 Jakob Dylan is the lead singer and songwriter of the rock band The Wallflowers - a talent he may or may not have inherited from his well-known father, Bob.

34 Some have been rude enough to suggest that the model Fenton Bailey is no oil painting. But with the photographer David Bailey as a dad, does it matter?

35 Teddy Thompson, son of the famous folk duo Richard and Linda Thompson, invites his father to join him onstage and helped his mum with her comeback album.

36 Kelly Osbourne, singer, TV presenter and on-off wild child. But she and her brother Jack will never outdo their parents, Ozzy and Sharon.

37 The film director Rebecca Miller got more than her talent from her playwright father Arthur. She also got her husband, Daniel Day- Lewis, whom she met while he was working with her pa.

38 Alexandra Aitken, daughter of the disgraced MP Jonathan, "is emerging as a versatile and talented actress of stage and screen", according to her website.

39 Bindi Irwin, the daughter of the late crocodile hunter Steve, has her own show; Bindi, the Jungle Girl. She is eight years old.

40 Sports presenter Kelly Dalglish is the comedically-named offspring of Liverpool FC's Kenny.