10 Actors Whose Real Children Played Their Kids On TV

Summary

  • Famous actors often get their real-life children cast to play their character’s children on TV, creating a real-life family dynamic onscreen.
  • The children of actors like Dominic West and Tim Allen made their acting debuts alongside their famous fathers on TV.
  • Parent-child acting duos like the Lowes, DeVitos, and Levys developed their own TV series and cast themselves as parent and child characters.



Many actors have starred alongside their own family members onscreen, and in some instances, their real-life children even play their character’s children on TV. Plenty of actors have shared the screen with their real-life kids, but they don’t always play parent and child. On occasion, the fact that the real-life parent or child of an actor is playing their character’s parent or child on TV is directly correlated to the role, like with Martin and Charlie Sheen. Often, though, viewers aren’t even aware that certain actors portraying family members on TV are actually related in real life.

In many instances, the parent is a famous actor already starring in a TV show who brought their real-life child on set to play their character’s child onscreen. Other times, the child was cast first, and they invited their mom or dad to star as their character’s parent in the show. There are also a handful of instances where a parent and child co-created a series together and cast themselves to play these same familial roles onscreen.


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10 Dominic West & Senan West – Father & Son

The Crown – Prince Charles & Prince William

Senan West As Prince William & Dominic West As Prince Charles n The Crown season 5.

The Crown

Release Date
November 4, 2016

Cast
Claire Foy , Olivia Colman , Imelda Staunton , Matt Smith , Tobias Menzies , Jonathan Pryce , Vanessa Kirby , Helena Bonham Carter , Lesley Manville , Victoria Hamilton , Marion Bailey , Marcia Warren


In season 5 of The Crown, Dominic West took over the role of Prince Charles and portrayed an older version of the future King. Timothée Sambor played Charles’ eldest son and heir apparent, Prince William, in the first two episodes of that season, but was quickly replaced by West’s own son, Senan, who made his acting debut alongside his father as a preteen Prince William. Senan appeared in a total of three episodes of season 5 of the hit Netflix drama about the Royal Family, but was succeeded by Rufus Kampa in season 6.

The Crown
seasons 1-6 are available to stream on Netflix.

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9 Tim Allen & Elizabeth Allen-Dick – Father & Daughter

The Santa Clauses – Santa Claus/Scott Calvin & Sandra Calvin-Claus

Scott Calvin/Santa Claus (Tim Allen) hugging Sandra (Elizabeth Allen-Dick) in The Santa Clauses

The Santa Clauses

Release Date
November 16, 2022

Cast
Tim Allen , Elizabeth Mitchell , Eric Lloyd , Kal Penn , Matilda Lawler , David Krumholtz

Seasons
1

Like Senan West, Elizabeth Allen-Dick also made her acting debut in one of her famous father’s projects. In 2022, Tim Allen reprised his role as Scott Calvin aka Santa Claus in The Santa Clauses, the first TV installment of The Santa Clause franchise. The Santa Clauses picked up 16 years after the events of The Santa Clause 3: The Escape Claus, in which Scott and Carol’s first child, Buddy “Cal” Calvin-Claus, was born. Since then, the Calvin-Clauses have added a daughter to their clan named Sandra, who is played by Allen’s real-life daughter.


The Santa Clauses
seasons 1-2 are available to stream on Disney+.

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8 Rob Lowe & John Owen Lowe – Father & Son

Unstable – Ellis Jackson & Jackson Dragon

Jackson Dragon (John Owen Lowe) and Ellis Dragon (Rob Lowe) in Unstable


Together, Rob Lowe and his youngest son, John Owen Lowe, created and starred in the Netflix comedy series, Unstable, which premiered in 2023. The father-son workplace comedy follows Jackson Dragon (John Owen Lowe), the estranged son of a universally admired yet narcissistic biotech tycoon, Ellis Dragon (Rob Lowe). Jackson begins working at his eccentric father’s research facility to prevent Ellis from spiralling after the death of his wife.

Nearly all of John Owen’s film and TV credits have involved his father in some way. Their first collaboration was on Rob’s short-lived sitcom, The Grinder, though they did not play father and son in this instance. The Lowes also had their own reality show called The Lowe Files, in which they explored unsolved mysteries with John Owen’s older brother, Matthew Edward Lowe.

The first time they played father and son was in the film Holiday in the Wild in 2019. The following year, Rob starred in a short film produced by his son called Madness in the Hills. John Owen was also a writer on a few seasons of 9-1-1: Lone Star, in which his dad stars in the lead role.


Rob Lowe and John Owen Lowe’s Shared Projects

Project

Type

Year(s)

The Grinder

TV Show

2015-2016

The Lowe Files

Reality TV Show

2017

Holiday in the Wild

Film

2019

Madness in the Hills

Short Film

2020

9-1-1: Lone Star

TV Show

2020-2022

Unstable

TV Show

2023

Unstable
is available to stream on Netflix.


7 Danny DeVito & Lucy DeVito – Father & Daughter

Little Demon – Satan & Chrissy

Chrissy (voiced by Lucy DeVito) looks annoyed at her father, Satan (voiced by Danny DeVito) in Little Demons.

Danny DeVito has shared the screen with his eldest daughter, Lucy DeVito, many times. Lucy’s had minor roles in a number of her dad’s movies, including The Good Night, Nobel Son, Just Add Water, Dumbo, and Jumanji: The Next Level, and appeared in multiple episodes of his long-running comedy series, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia. In 2011, Danny directed the short film Poison Tongue, starring Lucy and her mother, Rhea Perlman. Danny and Lucy also executive produced and starred in the 2016 short film Curmudgeons, directed by Danny, and played father and daughter in The Comedian that same year.

It’s certainly an unconventional father-daughter relationship,

but the real-life father and daughter navigate it brilliantly.


In 2022, the father-daughter duo joined forces once more to executive produce and star in the FX animated series, Little Demon. Lucy voices the character of Chrissy, whose mother, Laura (Aubrey Plaza), was impregnated by Satan (Danny DeVito) twelve years earlier. The series follows Laura and Chrissy as they try to live a normal life despite Chrissy’s satanic genes, while Satan tries to get custody of Chrissy’s soul. It’s certainly an unconventional father-daughter relationship, but the real-life father and daughter navigate it brilliantly.


Danny DeVito and Lucy DeVito’s Shared Projects

Project

Type

Year(s)

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia

TV Show

2006-2007

The Good Night

Film

2007

Nobel Son

Film

2007

Just Add Water

Film

2008

Poison Tongue

Short Film

2011

Curmudgeons

Short Film

2016

The Comedian

Film

2016

Dumbo

Film

2019

Jumanji: The Next Level

Film

2019

Little Demon

TV Show

2022

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6 Andie MacDowell & Margaret Qualley – Mother & Daughter

Maid – Paula Langley & Alex Russell

Margaret Qualley as Alex and Andie MacDowell as Paula in Maid

Maid

Release Date
October 1, 2021

Cast
Margaret Qualley , Andie MacDowell , BJ Harrison , Nick Robinson , Toby Levins , Anika Noni Rose , Raymond Ablack , Rylea Nevaeh Whittet , Aimee Carrero , Billy Burke , Tracy Vilar , Xavier de Guzman

Seasons
1

Both MacDowell and Qualley give harrowing performances as an onscreen mother-daughter duo trying to navigate their dysfunctional family dynamics.


Andie MacDowell and her youngest daughter, Margaret Qualley, played mother-daughter onscreen in the Netflix miniseries, Maid. Based on Stephanie Land’s memoir, Maid: Hard Work, Low Pay, and a Mother’s Will to Survive, the series follows Alex (Qualley), a young mother who escapes an abusive relationship with her daughter’s father and gets a job working for a cleaning service. MacDowell plays Alex’s eccentric yet unreliable mother, Paula, who is revealed to have bipolar disorder. Both MacDowell and Qualley give harrowing performances as an onscreen mother-daughter duo trying to navigate their dysfunctional family dynamics.

Maid
is available to stream on Netflix.

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Maid’s Meta Casting: Andie MacDowell & Margaret Qualley’s Real-Life Connection Explained

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5 Eugene Levy & Dan Levy – Father & Son

Schitt’s Creek – Johnny Rose & David Rose

Schitt’s Creek

Release Date
January 13, 2015

Cast
Catherine O’Hara , Dan Levy , Noah Reid , Emily Hampshire , Tim Rozon , Dustin Milligan , Eugene Levy , Jennifer Robertson , Chris Elliott , Annie Murphy

Seasons
6

Showrunner
Dan Levy , Eugene Levy

Canadian comedian Eugene Levy and his son Dan Levy co-created and starred in the sitcom Schitt’s Creek together from 2015 to 2020. The series followed the affluent Rose family, who lose all their assets and must resort to living in the small Canadian town, Schitt’s Creek, that the Rose patriarch, Johnny (Eugene Levy), bought for his son David (Dan Levy)’s birthday as a joke years prior. Eugene’s daughter and Dan’s younger sister, Sarah Levy, also starred in Schitt’s Creek as Twyla, though she did not portray Eugene’s onscreen daughter.


Schitt’s Creek
seasons 1-6 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video and Hulu.

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4 Billy Ray Cyrus & Miley Cyrus – Father & Daughter

Hannah Montana – Robbie Ray Stewart & Miley Stewart

Hannah Montana

Release Date
March 24, 2006

Cast
Miley Cyrus , Emily Osment , Mitchel Musso , jason earles , Billy Ray Cyrus , Moises Arias

Seasons
4


Hannah Montana put superstar Miley Cyrus on the map at a young age when it premiered in 2006, but luckily, she had her real-life father, country singer Billy Ray Cyrus, by her side throughout the whole show. After Miley landed the lead role of the regular school girl by day and international pop sensation by night, Billy Ray was cast as her character’s father and manager on Hannah Montana. Their characters’ names, Miley and Robbie Ray Stewart, were even based on the Cyruses’ own names.

Billy Ray’s youngest child and Miley’s little sister, Noah Cyrus, also appeared in multiple episodes of Hannah Montana, playing various minor roles. However, none of them involved her portraying her father Billy Ray’s onscreen daughter, though. Noah also appeared in Hannah Montana: The Movie alongside her dad and older sister.

Hannah Montana
seasons 1-4 available to stream on Disney+.


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3 Martin Sheen & Charlie Sheen – Father & Son

Spin City, Anger Management – Ray Crawford & Charlie Crawford, Martin Goodson and Charlie Goodson

Spin City

Release Date
September 17, 1996

Cast
Michael J. Fox , Carla Gugino , Richard Kind , Alan Ruck , Michael Boatman , Connie Britton , Alexander Chaplin , Barry Bostwick , Victoria Dillard , Jennifer Esposito , Heather Locklear , Charlie Sheen , Lana Parrilla

Seasons
6


Martin Sheen has played the onscreen father of two of his sons, Emilio Estevez and Charlie Sheen, in a number of film and TV projects. He played Emilio’s father in films like The War at Home, In the Custody of Strangers and The Way, and Charlie’s father in films like Wall Street and No Code of Conduct. He has also appeared in several other projects with his children in which he did not play their father onscreen, like Bobby with Emilio, who also wrote and directed the film, and Charlie’s sitcom Two and a Half Men.

As for TV roles, Martin played the father of Charlie’s character, Charlie Crawford, in a few episodes of the sitcom Spin City in the early 2000s. Martin also played Charlie’s father in several episodes of Charlie’s post-Two and a Half Men sitcom, Anger Management, which ran for three seasons from 2012-2014. Continuing the trend of playing characters that share his first name, Charlie played Charlie Goodson, while Martin’s character, Martin Goodson, was also named after him.


Martin Sheen & Charlie Sheen’s Shared Projects

Project

Type

Year(s)

Wall Street

Film

1987

Hot Shots! Part Deux

Film

1993

No Code of Conduct

Film

1998

Spin City

TV Show

2002

Two and a Half Men

TV Show

2005

Anger Management

TV Show

2012-2014

Spin City
seasons 1-6 are available to stream on Amazon Prime Video.

​​​​​​


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2 Lucille Ball & Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr. – Mother & Daughter and Son

Here’s Lucy – Lucy Hinkley Carter & Kim and Craig Carter

A black and white photo of Lucille Ball, Lucie Arnaz, and Desi Arnaz Jr. sit on chairs with their first names on them on the set of Here's Lucy.=

The show was the third in a string of Ball’s own titular sitcoms, succeeding
I Love Lucy
and its follow-up,
The Lucy Show.


Lucille Ball cast her real-life children, Lucie Arnaz and Desi Arnaz Jr., with ex-husband and I Love Lucy co-creator and co-star, Desi Arnaz, to play her onscreen kids on Here’s Lucy. The show was Ball’s third in a string of titular sitcoms, succeeding I Love Lucy and its follow-up, The Lucy Show. As always, Here’s Lucy centered on Ball’s eponymous character, only this time she played a working widow trying to navigate the generational gap with her teenage children, Kim and Craig. The series ran for six seasons from 1969-1974 and launched both Lucie and Desi Jr.’s acting careers.

Here’s Lucy
season 1 is available to stream on Peacock.

1 Lloyd Bridges & Jeff and Beau Bridges – Father & Sons

Sea Hunt, The Lloyd Bridges Show – Various

Lloyd, Jeff, and Beau Bridges in Sea Hunt


Jeff Bridges and his older brother, Beau Bridges, both got their start as child actors in the 1950s and ’60s, starring alongside their TV and movie star father, Lloyd Bridges, in some of their earliest roles. The Bridges brothers separately starred in multiple episodes of the black-and-white action-adventure series, Sea Hunt (1958-1961), starring Lloyd as Navy diver Mike Nelson. They also appeared in different episodes of the anthology series, The Lloyd Bridges Show (1962-1963), hosted by their eponymous father. In some instances, some of Jeff and Beau’s roles involved playing the son of one of their father’s various characters.

Over the next several decades, Lloyd appeared in many more projects with his sons. With Jeff, Lloyd starred in the films Silent Night, Lonely Night in 1969, Tucker: The Man and His Dream in 1988, and Blown Away in 1994. He and Beau collaborated a lot more frequently, starring in films like The Fifth Musketeer in 1979, The Wild Pair in 1987, Secret Sins of the Father in 1994, and Meeting Daddy in 2000, shows like Alice in Wonderland,Harts of the West and The Outer Limits, and one episode of The Magical World of Disney with Jeff.


Lloyd Bridges’ Shared Projects With Jeff & Beau Bridges

Project

Type

Year(s)

With Both

Sea Hunt

TV Show

1958-1961

The Lloyd Bridges Show

TV Show

1962-1963

The Magical World of Disney – “The Thanksgiving Promise”

TV Show

1986

With Jeff

Silent Night, Lonely Night

Film

1969

Tucker: The Man and His Dream

Film

1988

Blown Away

Film

1994

With Beau

The Lives of Benjamin Franklin

TV Show

1974

Shimmering Light

Film

1978

The Fifth Musketeer

Film

1979

Alice in Wonderland – “Part 2 – Through the Looking Glass”

TV Show

1985

The Wild Pair

Film

1987

Harts of the West

TV Show

1993-1994

Secret Sins of the Father

Film

1994

The Outer Limits – “Sandkings”

TV Show

1995

Meeting Daddy

Film

2000