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    Hollywood stars of Polish descent: Jerry O’Connell

    Hollywood has seen its fair share of talented actors and personalities who have left an indelible mark on the entertainment industry. Among these luminaries is Jerry O’Connell, a versatile and charismatic actor known for his roles in film, television, and even as a successful voice actor. What makes Jerry O’Connell even more intriguing is his deep connection to his Polish heritage, which has shaped his life in more ways than one.

    From Child Actor to Hollywood Success

    Born on February 17, 1974, in New York City, Jerry O’Connell began his acting career at a young age. He rose to fame in the late 1980s when he appeared in the classic coming-of-age film “Stand by Me” alongside other young talents like River Phoenix and Corey Feldman. His early success as a child actor set the stage for what would become a successful and enduring career in Hollywood.

    O’Connell’s resume is packed with a diverse range of roles, from his time on the popular TV show “Sliders” to memorable performances in comedies like “Jerry Maguire” (1996), where he played a cocky NFL draft prospect, and the family-friendly “Kangaroo Jack” (2003). His ability to tackle various genres and roles contributed to his reputation as a versatile actor.

    Voice acting is another area where Jerry O’Connell has left his mark. He lent his voice to iconic characters in animated series and films, with one of his notable roles being Superman in “Superman: The Animated Series.” His ability to bring depth and emotion to animated characters further showcased his talent.

    Proud of His Polish Heritage

    Jerry O’Connell’s rich cultural heritage is a fascinating blend of Polish, Irish, and Italian roots. His mother, Linda, is American, with a lineage that includes both Polish and Irish ancestry. On the other hand, his father, Michael O’Connell, originally from England, boasts a heritage of Irish and Italian descent. This cross-cultural influence extends to Jerry’s own family, as he is married to actress and model Rebecca Romjin, with whom he shares two children. 

    Delving deeper into his lineage, Jerry’s paternal grandfather hailed from County Cork, Ireland, while his maternal grandfather, Charles S. Witkowski, was a prominent figure in New Jersey’s political landscape, known for his contributions as a member of the Democratic Party and his tenure as the mayor of Jersey City. He was born in New Jersey to Polish parents, Joseph Witkowski and Blanche Kawko. (

    Jerry’s maternal grandmother, Florence Victoria Wilson, had her roots in Belfast, County Antrim, Northern Ireland, before relocating to the United States as a child, further enriching the tapestry of his ancestry with diverse cultural threads.

    Check out Jerry’s Twitter and Instagram

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