Famous Emigrants

Academy Award winning actress Renée Kathleen Zellweger was born on April 25, 1969 in Baytown, Texas. Her mother, Kjellfried Irene née Andreassen, is Norwegian-born and of Sami origin. She originally moved to the US to work as a governess for a Norwegian family in Texas.

The Andrews Sisters were famous for their harmonious singing with classic hits such as “Bei Mir Bist Du Schön”, “Don’t Sit Under The Apple Tree” and “Rum and Coca-Cola” , to mention a few. The trio consisted of LaVerne Sophie (1911-1967), Maxene Angelyn (1916-1995) and Patricia Marie Andrews (born 1918), who were born in Minnesota to a Greek immigrant father and a Norwegian American mother.

The American hotelier and founder of the Hilton Hotel chain, Conrad Nicholson Hilton, Sr. (1887-1979) was born to a Norwegian father and German-American mother. His parents were Augustus Halvorsen “Gus” Hilton, born in 1854 in Søndre Hilton, Ullensaker, Akershus, Norway and died in San Antonio, Texas in 1919 and Mary Genevieve Laufersweiler (1861-1947). He is the great-grandfather of Paris and Nicky Hilton.

Eliot Ness possessed a totally different talent. Born in Chicago in 1903, he was an American Prohibition agent and became famous as the leader of “The Untouchables”, the legendary team of law enforcement agents fighting against gangster Al Capone. His parents were Norwegian bakers Peter and Emma Ness and he was the youngest of their five children.

Harald Dahl and his wife Sofie Magdalene née Hesselberg did not emigrate to the US but instead they moved to Wales from Norway in the 1880s and settled in Cardiff, where their son, Roald Dahl, was born in 1916. Roald became known for his popular books such as Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Matilda and James and the Giant Peach. He was named after the national Norwegian hero, polar explorer Roald Amundsen, and was raised speaking Norwegian at home with his parents and sisters.

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