We Maltese are a very proud nation – we have amazingly talented artists who are locally based, and we also have many talented artists who have left our shores in the pursuit of an international career – but did you know that some of the biggest names in Hollywood today can trace back their Maltese heritage?
Here are 8 artists and scholars with a surprising Maltese background.
FAMOUS INTERNATIONAL PEOPLE WITH MALTESE HERITAGE
With strong international links and a population that’s thirsty for growth, it’s no surprise that many Maltese people tend to leave the islands and try to make it big outside of our little island nation – a couple of years pass, families settle down, and eventually it’s only a matter of time before a star is born.
The Canadian superstar has roots in Malta, with his maternal grandmother coming from Malta – most likely from the town of Floriana.
And Jamie Lynne, and the entire Spears clan for that matter, who’s maternal great-great-grandfather was Edward Portelli. The name sounds familiar right? That’s right – Britney is at least 1/8th Maltese!
No, there isn’t a spelling mistake there, and we’re not referring to Joseph Calleja the beloved Maltese operatic tenor, but Joseph Alexander Caesar Herstall Vincent Calleja – more widely known as Joseph Calleia, one of Hollywood’s most recognised villains from the classic period. His acting career span from 1931, with his first performance in My Sin and with his last performance in 1963’s Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre.
Famous classical musician Miriam Gauci was born in Malta but moved to Milan to explore a career as an operatic soprano. She made her debut as a professional operatic soprano in Bologna in 1984 when she took part in Francis Poulenc’s La Voix Humaine – and the rest is history!
EDWARD DE BONO
Revered author, physician and psychologist Edward De Bono is best known for his work in lateral thinking – a way of thinking that solves problems in a creative and indirect approach. De Bono is lauded as one of the most creative minds of the 21st century, having published 57 books.
MARIO PHILIP AZZOPARDI
Acclaimed director Mario Philip Azzopardi may be well known locally as the founder of Stagun Teatru Malti – who’s production company is responsible for the well-known play Jiena Nħobb Inti Tħobb and In-Nisa Maltin Jafu Kif; but this Senglea-born director made waves abroad when he emigrated to Canada and directed several hits – including the 2008, award winning HBO Canada/TMN miniseries ZOS: Zone of Separation.
Founding member and guitarist of rock band XTC, this legendary British Rockstar was originally born in – you guessed it – Malta. Specifically the village of Mtarfa. Unofficially – big fan of Maltese food!
The current manager of League Two club Exeter City and former professional football player may currently be living in the UK – but he started out in the Maltese capital of Valletta.
So there you have it, dear readers – we may be a small island nation, but we produce big talent. Many internationally acclaimed people have Maltese heritage – and it is something to be proud of.
That’s not to say, of course, that there aren’t a good number of local talent who are making waves nationally and there are also a few Maltese personalities too that you may be interested in acquainting yourself with.