ByKarly Rayner, writer at
Movie Pilot's celebrity savant
Karly Rayner

Being an actor is an interesting enough job as it is, but all of the celebrities below have been outdone in the strange-career-choice stakes by another member of their family.

Whether it's drug running, celebrity impersonation or Nazi hunting, all of the jobs below are more fascinating than a lot of movie roles, but which one will surprise you the most?

5. Randy Fowler (Kevin Spacey's Brother) - Rod Stewart Impersonator

Kevin Spacey's brother Randy is a professional Rod Stewart impersonator who runs his own professional limo company from Boise, Idaho.

Rod's spectacularly '90s website.
Rod's spectacularly '90s website.

Kevin and Randy are estranged, partly due to Randy writing books about the abuse that the pair suffered at the hands of their domineering father when they were children, but Randy still uses his brother's name to bring in the business. The FAQ page on the Rod's Limos website contains the following info about Randy's relationship with Spacey:

It’s a fact of life: Kevin Spacey the celebrity happens to be my younger brother. I always knew him as Kevin Fowler when we were growing up together. I didn’t choose to be his brother, it just happened that way. So, like it or not, his life is intertwined with mine.

Kevin was the reason I allowed my father to continue to abuse me for so long: so he’d leave my younger brother alone. By the time the abuse stopped. Mother was protecting Kevin from my father.

Kevin was important in Randy's World straight through our teens. We were both in the creative arts, he in acting and me in music. We hung out together, went to each other’s shows, and applauded one another’s performances.

Something changed between us half a lifetime ago, and I really don’t know why.

I’ve always kept in touch with him all our adult lives. I’ve been cordial when we’ve spoken or gotten together.

But those times have been few and far between. Kevin has virtually ignored me for the last 25 years. During the time he’s become a major movie star, he’s become a minor character in my life. That’s been his choice, not mine.

In his climb to the top of the profession, Kevin’s borrowed incidents from my troubled life to make himself seem more interesting, to look like a rebellious “bad boy.” It seems only fair to tell my own true story, which involves growing up abused in the same household with a brother who was protected from abuse, and who coincidentally grew up to become a well known actor.

When Kevin writes his story he can call it “Fowler’s brother,” if he wants, and show my picture on the cover.

You can read more about Kevin Spacey's difficult upbringing


4. Lee-Lee Chan (Jackie Chan's Mother) - Drug Baron

Jackie Chan's mother Lee-Lee's life as an underground kingpin all happened before he was born, but her criminal activity led to her meeting her husband and the man who would become Jackie's father.

After her first husband was killed by a Japanese bomb when she was 28, Lee-Lee was left to raise her two daughters alone, which was no mean feat for a single woman during such a turbulent time in Chinese history.

Lee-Lee's mother-in-law wanted to sell her to a shopkeeper as a slave so that she would have money to raise her two daughters, but fearing a life of rape and servitude Lee-Lee fled to Shanghai and became embroiled in the underworld.

Jackie Chan and his parents in China
Jackie Chan and his parents in China

After hearing that Opium smuggling was lucrative, Lee-Lee began to buy the drug and move it from port to port for profit, she also took up gambling and won the street name of Big Sister among her criminal peers.

Eventually, Lee-Lee was arrested by Charles Chan, but he took pity on her because of the blue flower in her hair which symbolized a woman who had lost her husband or children and let her go.

Charles and Lee-Lee eventually married and moved to Hong Kong to flee their criminal pasts.

Jackie Chan's father also had a colorful life and you can read more about the entire families life story HERE.

3. Dan Gordon-Levitt (Joseph Gordon Levitt's Brother) - Fire-Spinning Flow Artist

Dan Gordon-Levitt tragically died of a drug overdose in 2010, but before his untimely death he had a career so unusual that it seems as farfetched as running away to join the circus.

Working as a "Fire-Spinning Flow Artist" in Venice Beach and various festivals , which earned him the nickname 'Burning Dan,' the older Gordon-Levitt was a huge inspiration to his little brother who admired him for his "creative spirit."

Burning Dan in action on Venice Beach
Burning Dan in action on Venice Beach

The feeling of love and respect was clearly mutual between the brothers, despite the large age gap between them, and Dan once gushed about his little bro in an interview saying:

He's just awesome in every way that I pay attention to. I ask myself, "Do I love him because he's my brother or is he really that awesome?" He's really, really awesome... It's rare that I don't feel really proud of him

2. Charles Harrelson (Woody Harrelson's Father) -Contract Killer

Charles Harrelson was enmeshed with the criminal underworld as a contract killer and he shot and killed at least three people including federal judge, John H. Wood, Jr., the first federal judge to be assassinated in the 20th century.

Although Woody's mother separated from his father when the actor was seven years old, he still remembers how the murders committed by his father affected him as a child. Woody told The Guardian that:

I was 11 or 12 when I heard his name mentioned on a car radio. I was in the car waiting for a lady who was picking me up from school, helping my mum, and anyway I was listening to the radio and it was talking about Charles V Harrelson and his trial for murder and blah blah blah blah and I'm sitting there thinking there can't be another Charles V Harrelson. I mean, that's my dad! It was a wild realization. Then the woman got in the car and saw my face and realized something was up. She was a very kind lady

1. Brinley Newton-John (Olivia Newton John's Father) - Nazi Hunter

Olivia Newton John's father Brinley dragged himself up from a disadvantaged upbringing in Wales to became a dazzling linguist and during WWII his fluent German let to him getting a job interrogating captured Nazi pilots.

Realizing that the carrot works better than the stick, Newton-John shunned the traditional methods of extracting information through torture and excruciating hours of interrogation and opted to take the captured officers to dinner and get them drunk instead.

This technique was so effective that it was adopted by Bond writer Ian Fleming while he was serving in the Naval Intelligence Division.

Brinely's most notable achievement was an interrogation which led to the capture of Rudolf Hess, the Deputy Führer. He also worked at Bletchley Park (of The Imitation Game fame) to decode the German messages into English and played a major part in ending WWII.

(Source: AV Club, The Daily Mail, Wikipedia and Cracked)


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