Michael Douglas Discovers He’s Related to Scarlett Johansson: Finding Your Roots

Michael Douglas has discovered a fellow actor is also a distant relative: Scarlett Johansson.

On the PBS series Finding Your Roots, host Henry Louis Gates Jr. revealed that the Black Widow actress is a “DNA cousin” of Douglas, 79.

“Are you kidding?” asked a visibly shocked Douglas on the show. “Oh, that’s amazing. All right. This is cool. This is so cool.”

According to Gates and his “book of life” containing research from professional genealogists, Douglas and Johansson, 39, “share identical branches of DNA on four different chromosomes.”

The two actors’ branches of shared DNA “appear on Scarlett’s maternal lines, which stretch back to Jewish communities in Eastern Europe,” Gates explained to Douglas.

“That’s incredible,” responded the Oscar winner. Then he quipped: “Well, I look forward to seeing Scarlett next time!”

Johansson and Douglas both appeared in the Marvel Cinematic Universe’s biggest installment, 2019’s Avengers: Endgame, as Natasha Romanoff and Hank Pym, respectively. 

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Michael Douglas on “Finding Your Roots”.

PBS


Douglas is the first child of actors Kirk Douglas and Diana Hill. His paternal grandparents were Russian Jews who emigrated to America. The Kominsky Method star, who has three children, has been married to Welsh actress Catherine Zeta-Jones since 2000. 

The April 2 episode of the series featuring Douglas, the penultimate installment of Finding Your Roots season 10, also includes Lena Dunham. The writer-director-actor similarly learned of an ancestral celebrity connection, sharing “at least one common ancestor” with fellow filmmaker Larry David, according to Gates. 

“This is the hottest information I could have ever gotten,” responded Dunham, 37, in awe. “My husband’s going to freak out!”

Scarlett Johansson in 2023.

Cindy Ord/Getty Images


Finding Your Roots has since 2012 unveiled genealogical surprises for well-known public figures. Among the series’ many discoveries have been Edward Norton learning that he and Julia Roberts are genetic cousins, Kerry Washington realizing she was conceived through a sperm donor, Bob Odenkirk unearthing ties to King Charles and Nathan Lane, and Viola Davis finding out that she’s related to Anita Hill.

In February, Gates told PEOPLE about how questions about his own lineage sparked his investigations into family trees. “I went into orbit when I found out that DNA could be used to trace your ancestry back 500 years,” he said of his journey to launching the series. “When you spit in that test tube, you never know what’s going to pop out.”

Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates Jr. airs Tuesdays at 8 p.m. ET on PBS.

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