Edward Norton is a direct descendant of Native American heroine Pocahontas, it has been revealed.
The actor had grown up believing the connection to be part of “family legend”, but was proven wrong on a recent episode of ancestry show Finding Your Roots on US network PBS.
Norton appeared in the first episode of season nine of the show, alongside fellow Hollywood star Julia Roberts, on Tuesday evening.
In it, host Henry Louis Gates Jr confirmed that Pocahontas was Norton’s 12th great grandmother, having married colonist John Rolfe.
Through a direct paper trail leading to Pocahontas and John Rolfes’ 1614 marriage certificate, @EdwardNorton learns that his family lore appears to be true. His 12th great-grandmother is Pocohantas!
— Henry Louis Gates Jr (@HenryLouisGates) January 2, 2023
“You have a direct paper trail. No doubt about it,” Gates told him.
The pair were married in April 1614 in Jamestown, Virginia, though Pocahontas died just three years later in March 1617 in Gravesend, England.
“It just makes you realise what a small piece of the whole human story you are,” Norton replied.
Gates also revealed that Norton’s ancestors had owned slaves, which the actor described as “uncomfortable” to hear.
“The short answer is these things are uncomfortable,” he said.
This was such a privilege & a pleasure. I’ve admired Prof. Skip Gates for years as an Historian, a teacher, writer, conversationalist & I love this show. He’s an inspiration & this was full of revelations & his wonderful insight about life & how we are all connected to history. https://t.co/cO1Y93IFbI
— Edward Norton 🌻🇺🇦 (@EdwardNorton) January 4, 2023
“Everybody should be uncomfortable with it.”
Writing on Twitter following the episode’s release, he added that participating in the show had been “such a privilege and a pleasure”.
“I’ve admired Prof Skip Gates for years as an Historian, a teacher, writer, conversationalist and I love this show,” he said.
“He’s an inspiration and this was full of revelations & his wonderful insight about life and how we are all connected to history.”