Cliff Richard? INDIAN! and other ethnic/minority celebrity appropriations

Brits especially will be familiar with the recurring skit in ‘Goodness Gracious Me’ where the Indian Dad lists celebrities and claims they are Indian. Some, like Cliff Richard and Freddy Mercury, are genuine, but others are absurd.

The recent thread in which Argent Towers asks whether the Starsky character in S&H was supposed to be Jewish reminded me of something I read in the Jerusalem Post in the 70s, when S&H first ruled. It was, according to the article, a well-known fact that Paul Michael Glaser was Jewish, but did people realise that David Soul was in fact really called David Soulberg and was known amongst his friends as ‘the blond blintz’? Unless it is proven fact, this sounded to me like some sort of spoof on the way some minorities try so hard to appropriate even the most unlikely celebrities. A relative of mine once tried to persuade me that all four Beatles were Jewish. Many gay friends are similarly obsessed.

Any such examples come to mind?

Everyone thinks that most Canadian celebrities are American. Or British.

David soul was born David **Solberg ** and is the son and brother of Lutheran ministers.

Freddie Mercury was born in Zanzibar, and was of the Zoastrian religion.

Another win in the battle against ignorance! Even if it is over twenty years too late… :slight_smile:

Previous post was in reply to Dr Rieux.

Zabali, there has always been some confusion about Freddie Mercury’s origins but theaccepted version is that his parents were originally from India, and the family went back there when he was a child.

Freddy Mercury? INDIAN!

Martha, what I said is still technically correct as to where he was born. I never said he wasn’t also Indian. I was pointing out that he could claim more than one national heritage.

His parents were probably Parsis. There are many of them in Gujarat & Bombay. They are a very affluent community.

I read somewhere that Ben Kingsley is an Anglo-Indian whose non-stage name was Krishna Bhanji but never followed up on it. He certainly does have that desi shnozz, though.

I know that Uma Thurman is completely Caucasian but she has the most Konkanasth brahmin (a particular Marathi community with blue-grey eyes) features I’ve ever seen. Give the girl a creamy tan and some black hair and she could easily pass with the last name Joshi.

Danny Thomas and Ralph Nader are both children of Lebanese immigrants, IIRK.

Can’t tell if the OP is looking for true cases, or false ones.

New Jersey native Kenneth Dickerson (acting under the name “Khigh Dhiegh”), who played “Wo Fat” in the “Hawaii Five-O” tv series liked “eastern philosophy” so much that he changed his name to to make it more “Oriental” in appearance. His actual ancestry was English and Sudanese.

However, he didn’t actually claim to be Chinese. He just didn’t talk about his true ethnic heritage.

I know several people with American Indian blood who thought that Jewish Ed Ames was a true American Indian. (Curious Johnny Carson remark: “I didn’t even know you were Jewish!” Obviously, he did. Maybe it was just for the bris joke.)

Lists his birth name as Krishna Bhanji, yep.

Dinah Shore has long been “claimed” by black Americans. It is commonly believed that the woman passed as white. There is a rumor that she had a black-looking baby and sued her mother for not informing her of her heritage. I think this rumor is rather incredible, but looking at her pictures, I do wonder…

Other celebrities that have been suspected of hiding their “blackness”:

Babe Ruth
J. Edgar Hoover
Vin Dinsel

That’s because Canada is… Canada! Who would think anything other than cold wind comes out of that place? :smiley:

I still can’t believe the asians got the wu tang clan.


I’m 1/8th Cherokee.

So there.

I thought that wasn’t a secret, unless whoever wrote his IMDb biography is trying to “out” him. (Scroll down to the trivia section.)

That’s my line! :stuck_out_tongue:

I thought that J. Edgar Hoover hid the fact that he was gay, you mean to tell me he was also hiding the fact that he was black?

I prefer to be thought of as a breath of fresh air. :stuck_out_tongue:

Fair enough.

My focus is not so much on the celebs themselves, but on any minority group that for whatever reason has decided that the celeb in question - rightly or wrongly - is one of theirs.