Adam Sandler, Arnold Schwarzenegger’s kids following in their footsteps: How the famous fathers paved the way

Joining the family business is tempting for any child, especially if the family business is acting.

Many children of famous actors have chosen to step into the spotlight and pursue careers in the entertainment industry. Adam Sandler’s daughters led the coming of age comedy everybody was talking about over the summer, while Rob Lowe and his son have starred together in a number of projects in recent years.

Here’s a look at kids who followed in their famous fathers’ footsteps.


Adam Sandler

Sandler’s daughters, Sadie and Sunny, have starred in two of his recent films. (Amy Sussman/Getty Images)

Adam Sandler’s wife and kids have made appearances in many of his movies, but mostly in small parts. 

His daughter Sunny made her debut as a leading lady, in the 2023 hit Netflix movie, “You Are So Not Invited to My Bat Mitzvah,” playing Stacy Friedman, a middle school girl with her first crush who has a falling out with her best friend, all while trying to get ready for her bat mitzvah. His older daughter Sadie played Ronnie Friedman, Stacy’s older sister, who was always there to lend support and a sarcastic comment.

The family came together once again to star in the animated Netflix movie, “Leo,” with Adam voicing the titular character, Sadie and Sunny voicing the characters Summer and Jayda, and Jackie Sandler voicing Jayda’s mom.

‘I tell them to make sure you feel good about what you do and how hard you worked, and you judge yourself,” Adam told People in November 2023 regarding the advice he gives his daughters about succeeding in the industry. “Don’t let too many people try to get in your head. If you feel like you gave it your all, that’s all you can ask.”

Arnold Schwarzenegger

Arnold and Patrick Schwarzeneggar smiling together

Arnold’s son Patrick Schwarzenegger recently starred in “The Staircase” on Max. (Isa Foltin/Getty Images for GQ)

Arnold Schwarzenegger has more than one child following his path to stardom.

His son with Maria Shriver, Patrick Schwarzenegger, appeared in minor parts in “The Benchwarmers” and “Grown Ups 2,” before landing starring roles in “The Long Road Home,” “Midnight Sun,” “Echo Boomers” and “Moxie.” He has since starred in “The Staircase,” “The Terminal List” and “Gen V.”

“I fell in love with going to set with my dad,” Patrick told Teen Vogue in December 2019. “The best thing about acting is portraying a character that has a different life than yours.”

The “Terminator” actor’s son Joseph Baena is also following in his footsteps… in more ways than one. He is pursuing a career as both an actor and a bodybuilder. Baena told Extra TV that his dad is “the best training partner” in the gym. 

Joseph Baena flexing his muscles

Baena is into both bodybuilding and acting, following in his dad’s footsteps on two fronts. (Michael Tran/AFP via Getty Images)


Baena has also acted in a few projects, appearing in “Chariot,” “Bully High,” “Scam Squad” and “Called to Duty.”

“Just with anything that I do, but especially with acting, he’s really supportive, and always pushing me to work really hard and make it my own and do it on my own,” Baena told Extra TV in May 2023. “His main piece of advice has always been, do the reps and, it sounds just like the gym, but it makes sense, because it’s all about practice. The more that you practice, the more that you prepare for these roles, the better you’re going to be, and I’ve taken that to heart and I’ve taken that into every role that I’ve been doing.”

Rob Lowe

Rob Lowe and John Owen Lowe at Unstable premiere

Rob Lowe and his son have starred in many projects together. (Rich Polk/Getty Images for Netflix)

Rob Lowe isn’t afraid to open doors for his son. John Owen got his start as an actor as a guest on his dad’s show “The Grinder,” later appearing in a Netflix movie Rob produced called “Holiday in the Wild”. He also got hired as a writer on his dad’s show, “9-1-1 Lone Star.”

Most recently, the two starred together in the Netflix comedy, “Unstable,” playing a fictional father-son duo. John joked with Variety in March 2023, “The show is about a son who wants to get out of his father’s shadow, and I am literally a son who wants to get out of my father’s shadow,” he said before crediting his father for his accomplishments.

“As a dad, it was a very proud moment because I got to marvel at his facility for writing, which he’s had since he was in grade school, and his ability to jump into the comedy world against heavyweights like Fred Armisen and hold his own,” Rob told Variety about having his son on set. “As an actor, and particularly as a co-producer, creator with him, being able to have somebody who thinks like me, has the same wants and needs as I do, it’s like having a second brain on the set. That’s super helpful to have in a partner.”

Dennis Quaid

Dennis and Jack Quaid hugging

Dennis Quaid’s son Jack is known for his role on “The Boys.” (Dimitrios Kambouris/Getty Images)

Dennis Quaid and Meg Ryan’s son, Jack Quaid, had big shoes to fill when he decided to become an actor, and he went into it wanting no help from his famous parents. Dennis explained on “The Kelly Clarkson Show” in January 2022, when his agent offered to represent Jack, his son told him, “No, I want to do it on my own.”

Jack made his acting debut in 2012 in “The Hunger Games,” before starring in “Sasquatch Sketch Comedy,” “Ithaca” and the Max show “Vinyl.” In 2019, he began starring in the Amazon Prime series, “The Boys,” which has become his breakout role. He also starred in the 2022 “Scream” reboot, “Oppenheimer” and “Star Trek: Lower Decks.”

In an interview with People in January 2022, Jack explained he considers himself “lucky” to have parents who understood his desire to become an actor and didn’t try and convince him to pursue other options. 


“They don’t really give me advice. I’ve never asked them, ‘How should I perform this scene?'” Jack said. “The way that this business works is so much different than the way that it worked back then for them. I’m experiencing some things for the first time, like working on a movie set during COVID.”

Ryan Phillippe

Ryan and Deacon Phillippe at a super bowl party

Ryan Phillippe’s son Deacon got his start in two episodes of “Never Have I Ever.” (Mike Coppola/Getty Images for Fanatics)

With two parents in the entertainment industry, it shouldn’t come as a shock that Deacon Phillippe gave acting a try. The son of Reese Witherspoon and Ryan Phillippe made his acting debut in 2022, appearing in two episodes of the hit Netflix show, “Never Have I Ever.” 

“I am so proud. He’s about to go to college for music. That’s his primary focus,” Ryan told “Entertainment Tonight” in August 2022. “The acting thing he likes to do, and he will do according to what his appetite for it is, but his focus is primarily music.” 

Ryan is known for his starring roles in many films throughout the 1990s, including, “I Know What You Did Last Summer” and “Cruel Intentions,” which he starred in with Witherspoon.

Denzel Washington

Denzel Washington and his son John David Washintgon

Denzel Washington never saw his son’s acting career coming. (Bruce Glikas/WireImage)

Denzel Washington admitted to Metro UK he “was the last to know” about his oldest son’s career transition from professional football player to actor. John David Washington was a running back for the then St. Louis Rams, before pivoting to acting in 2015 with a role on the Max show, “Ballers.”

The actor had his big breakthrough in 2017, when he starred in the Academy Award best picture nominated film, “BlacKkKlansman,” as well as “Tenet,” “Malcolm & Marie,” “Amsterdam” and most recently, “The Creator.” Not only has John David made his mark on the big screen, he also conquered the Broadway stage, starring in a revival of “The Piano Lesson,” alongside Samuel L. Jackson and Danielle Brooks. 

“By the grace of God, he had such success so quickly and once he got in it, then I was like, ‘OK, now you got to go back and learn what you’re doing,’ which he’s done,” Denzel told Metro UK in January 2022. “In fact, they’re on their way to Broadway next year. So he’s just grown as an actor, my oldest son.”

Ethan Hawke

Ethan and Maya Hawke in Stolkholm

Ethan Hawke is embracing being recognized as Maya Hawke’s dad. (Michael Campanella/Getty Images)

Ethan Hawke and Uma Thurman are powerhouse actors, so it only made sense for their daughter, Maya Hawke, to possess the same penchant for acting as well. Maya burst onto the scene when she starred as Robin in season three of the hit Netflix show, “Stranger Things,” in the summer of 2019.

While on “The View,” in July 2022, Ethan remarked, “Times they are a changing,” as he described the moment a fan came up to the father-daughter duo asking for a picture with Maya and not him for the first time. When the ladies asked him how it felt to be known as “Maya Hawke’s dad,” he went on to say he is very proud of his daughter.

The two starred in their first movie together in 2023, “Wildcat,” which Ethan directed and Maya executive produced. While promoting the film at the Toronto International Film Festival, Ethan praised his daughter’s performance.


“If you see anything else tonight, you’re going to see a young artist just circle around their father, sprint out the door and pat him on the ass as she goes by,” he told the crowd. “This is one of my favorite performances I’ve ever seen and I can’t wait for you guys to see it.” 

Lenny Kravitz

Lenny Kravitz and Zoe Kravitz at Paris Fashion Week

Lenny Kravitz is proud of his daughter’s success in the entertainment industry. (Stephane Cardinale – Corbis/Corbis via Getty Images)

Not only did Zoë Kravitz inherit her father’s good looks, she also inherited his incredible on-screen talent. She has been acting since 2007, appearing in “X-Men: First Class,” “Divergent,” “Mad Max: Fury Road” and “Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them.”

Zoë continued to gain popularity through her work, gaining further recognition when she starred in Max’s “Big Little Lies,” Hulu’s “High Fidelity” and when she appeared as Catwoman in 2022’s “Batman.” During an interview with E! News, Lenny expressed just how proud he is of how Zoë has navigated her career.

“When you watch your child become who they are – not who you necessarily want them to be – but who they were created to be, she’s done it her way,” Lenny told the outlet in March 2023. “She’s done it very gracefully and she’s doing well and she knows who she is and that’s the main thing that I’m proud of.” 


Tim Allen

Tim Allen and his daughter Elizabeth at Disney 23 Expo

Tim Allen and his daughter star together in the Disney+ show “The Santa Clauses.” (The Walt Disney Company via Getty Images)

Tim Allen has been wowing audiences for decades, both on the big screen and on television, and it seems his daughter Elizabeth Allen-Dick has inherited some of her dad’s signature charm. The two are currently playing fictional father and daughter in season two of the Disney+ show, “The Santa Clauses.”

According to Allen, he initially wanted his daughter to appear in the background as an elf, so she could have fun on set and be excited to see herself on TV. Things changed when she impressed the casting directors and they asked her to read for a larger part.


“She read so well that they said, ‘’We’d like to read her for more of a part.’ I said, ‘Whatever you want to do. I want nothing to do with it. I don’t want to pitch my daughter for a part in the movie.’ But she ended up moving to the high ranks,” he told the outlet in September 2022. “They loved how she read, loved it so much, because she’s playing a 13-year-old girl and she is 13. They ended up casting her as Santa’s daughter. It was a surprise, but it became the most amazing experience.”

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