Featuring Fred Armisen, Carly Simon and Christopher Walken
In this episode, three guests each learn about a grandparent whose real identity and background had been a mystery to them. Along the way, two of them also discover that their close relatives were on the wrong side of history.
Christopher Walken, who grew up never meeting or even knowing the name of his mother’s father, learns that he was a Scottish felon who served prison time in the 1880s. Walken also learns about his paternal uncle, a German baker who served in a notorious Reserve Police Battalion that helped perpetrate the Holocaust.
Fred Armisen, too, discovers an unexpected connection to Nazi Germany as he sees evidence that his grandfather — a man he’d thought to be a Japanese dancer — had a much more complicated life than he’d ever imagined (he not only entertained German combat troops, possibly as a spy, but he also concealed his Korean ethnicity).
Carly Simon learns the surprising ethnic identity and hidden Cuban past of her own mysterious grandmother, a woman who reinvented herself so often her true name was nearly lost to history. Each guest comes to see his or herself in a new light based on these freshly revealed facts about their intimate kin.
Discover the surprising ancestral stories of 28 fascinating guests, including Carmelo Anthony, Ava DuVernay, Téa Leoni, Ana Navarro, Bernie Sanders, Questlove, and Christopher Walken in season four of Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates, Jr.
Meet The Host
For more than a decade, renowned Harvard scholar Henry Louis Gates, Jr. has helped to expand America’s sense of itself, stimulating a national conversation about identity with humor, wisdom, and compassion. Professor Gates has explored the ancestry of dozens of influential people from diverse backgrounds, taking millions of viewers deep into the past to reveal the connections that bind us all.