Edward Norton discovers he’s a direct descendant of Pocahontas | Ents & Arts News


Edward Norton is a direct descendant of Pocahontas, records have revealed.

The Native American heroine, who was turned into a Disney cartoon character in the 1995 film, was the 53-year-old actor’s 12th great-grandmother.

Norton, who was born in Boston and raised in Columbia, Maryland, said he grew up believing it was just a “family legend”, but was proven wrong on a recent episode of ancestry show Finding Your Roots on US network PBS.

The programme’s host, Henry Louis Gates Jr, said that Pocahontas became Norton’s distant relative after marrying colonist John Rolfe.

“You have a direct paper trail. No doubt about it,” Gates told him.

The pair wed in April 1614 in Jamestown, Virginia, though Pocahontas died just three years later in March 1617 in Gravesend, England, of unknown causes.

Pocahontas had one son, Thomas Rolfe.

Norton said the family discovery “makes you realise what a small piece of the whole human story you are”.

Gates also revealed that Norton’s ancestors had owned slaves, which the actor described as “uncomfortable” to hear.

“The short answer is these things are uncomfortable,” he said.

“Everybody should be uncomfortable with it.”

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Writing on Twitter following the episode’s release, Norton added that participating in the show had been “such a privilege and a pleasure”.

“I’ve admired Prof Skip Gates for years as an Historian, a teacher, writer, conversationalist and I love this show,” he said.

“He’s an inspiration and this was full of revelations & his wonderful insight about life and how we are all connected to history.”

Norton is currently starring in Knives Out sequel Glass Onion, opposite Daniel Craig, on Netflix.


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