While Jon Voight is a highly regarded actor, his politics, divorces, strained family relationships, and public feuds with his children have continued to circle around his Hollywood status throughout his career.
From Child to Parent
Voight was very close with both of his parents. His father had died before his mother, but claims he had a good relationship with his parents, which is the type of relationship he wished to have with his two children. However, his relationship with his children remained a tumultuous one. Throughout the years, the famous siblings have severed ties and not been on speaking terms with their father but it is unclear as to the relationship with their grandparents.
He Approved of Brad Pitt For His Daughter
Voight almost never approved of Jolie’s relationships, with the likes of Billy Bob Thornton and Jonny Lee Miller, until it came to Brad Pitt. However ,he has publicly stated that he was very happy when the pair decided to finally marry and that Brad would officially become his son-in-law. The relationship between Voight and Pitt is a good one, and even helped with the relationship between James and Jon, as they attended Pitt’s movie premiere for World War Z together.
Voight has been married and subsequently divorced twice during his life. He met his first wife, fellow actress Lauri Peters, when they were both cast in the Broadway production of The Sound of Music. They married in 1962, but divorced in 1967. He then went onto marry his second wife, Marcheline Bertrand in 1971. With rumors of extra-martial affairs on Jon’s part during their marriage, they went onto separate in 1976 before divorcing two years later and Jon leaving their family home.
Marcheline Bertrand is the mother of Jon’s two children, both famous for their own work, Angelina Jolie and James Haven. At the time of their marriage, Marcheline was 21 and an aspiring actress. However, when Jolie was just a year old, her parents divorced. Angelina has accused her father of cheating on her mother and abandoning the family, creating a strenuous relationship between Voight and his two children. Angelina also claims her mother “gave up on her dreams” of being an actress by marrying her father.
Tumultuous Relationship With His Children
Angelina Jolie and James Haven grew up with their mother, developing a strong relationship with her until her death. Voight believes the hurt he caused their mother, and the ramifications their divorce had on their family, is the reason his relationship with his two children has always been so tumultuous. He has stated, ““It comes from their inability to let go of years of programmed anger from their mother, who understandably felt quite hurt when we divorced”.
Accused Of Not Paying Spousal Support
Following the death of Jon’s ex-wife, Marcheline Bertrand, the information from her will was revealed. Bertrand died in 2007 following a long-term battle with cancer. In her will she claimed that Voight owed her $180,000 in spousal support in which he never paid. Jon spoke out against this claim, stating he did not owe any of this money. Rather he insists that he always tried to help his ex-wife and children financially.
A year after the release of Lara Croft: Tomb Raider in 2002, the pair were no longer on speaking terms. Jon claimed that his daughter had “serious mental issues” and also said that “she was never normal.” This resulted in backlash from Angelina towards her father’s comments, where she then criticized the star for his affair during his marriage to her mother. Consequently, the pair stopped speaking and their relationship was under strain, which resulted in very a long-term feud.
Angelina Cuts Ties
Angelina publicly stated that, “It is not healthy for me to be around my father”, following his accusations on the star. It was during this feud that Angelina legally dropped her fathers name, Voight, from her name and is famously known only as Angelina Jolie. Her brother followed suit, although neither of the siblings used this name during their careers. The feud lasted seven years between pair, where no communication occurred during this time between the duo.
Snubbed By His Daughter
Like her father, Angelina Jolie is very much involved in humanitarian work often being involved in different humanitarian projects. When Jolie accepted the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her work in charity, Jon Voight attended the ceremony and sat in the audience. However, on her acceptance, she thanked her late mother in her speech but chose to ignore her father. Voight stated that he was not hurt by this and was still proud of his daughter’s work.
Brad Pitt Helped Ease The Tension
The infamous father-daughter feud lasted until 2009, and the pair made their first public outing together since reconciling at the premiere of In the Land of Blood and Honey. It was actually Brad Pitt who got the pair back together after convincing his wife at the time that she should settle things with her father. This came two years after Angelina’s mother had died, and although she considered herself an orphan after this time, she has since reconnected with her father.
His Breakthrough in Broadway
As well as gaining critically acclaimed reviews for his roles on screen, Voight has also had a stint in Broadway before moving to film. After making appearances on television in the early sixties, Voight starred as Rodolfo in A View From The Bridge in January 1965. His role in film began two years later, when he was cast in Fearless Frank, but he had more Broadway appearances which included roles with his first wife, such as the original The Sound of Music and Romeo and Juliet.
He Did Not Speak To His Daughter For Seven Years
As a new mother, Jolie was worried about the ramifications her fathers comments could have towards her relationship with her first adopted son, Maddox. She stated in an interview during their feud, “My father and I don’t speak. I don’t believe that somebody’s family is blood. Because my son’s adopted, and families are earned.” It was not until her husband at the time, Brad Pitt, convinced her to speak to her father in 2009, that their relationship remained strained.
He Took Roles To Take His Mother On Trips
Voight took on the role in Mission: Impossible because he wanted to spend as much time with his mother who was suffering from cancer. He saw that by taking this role, he could take his mother with him to Prague where the movie was being filmed. Following this, he continued to take roles in order to take his mother away with him. After a short hiatus from Hollywood, he stated that this made for his return back to films.
He’s An Academy Award Winner
It was in 1978 after the release of Coming Home, that Voight was awarded with his second Academy Award nomination. He went onto win the award for Best Leading Actor, and Although he missed out on the Oscar win for this film, he was awarded an Oscar in 1978 for Best Leading Actor in Coming Home. To date, Voight has been awarded with four Academy Award nominations, a credit and proven success of his acting career.
Following from his two divorce’s, Jon never went onto remarry. He did however, have relationships with other famous faces. Names included in this list of stars are Diana Ross, who Voight dated for a year in 2005, and he also had a public relationship with Eileen Davidson. Their relationship went on during the eighties and it was claimed that Eileen wanted Voight to help get her into film following her long stint on television. When this did not happen, the relationship happened to end.
He Developed A Relationship With His Daughter Once Again
It was reported that Angelina had reached out to her father after their estrangement and was slowly allowing him into her and family’s lives. Voight finally met some of his grandchildren and spent time with them in London while Brad Pitt filmed World War Z. Although Voight had reconciled with his daughter by the time of her wedding with Brad Pitt, he was still not invited. It was claimed that Angelina Jolie did not want her father at her wedding as she was concerned for his behavior during the event.
After many years of dating and having several children together, Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie officially tied the knot in 2014. However, even despite the reconciliation between Jolie and her father, Voight was not invited to take part in the nuptial celebrations. However, Voight only had kind words regarding the wedding: “It seems like it was very nice – and with all of the kids involved, it must have been a lot of fun and very beautiful. I’m happy for them.”
As well as being a big time actor, Jon has been credited for his generosity outside of work. When Jon was shooting a film is Louisville, he met a fan in the supermarket who was there to buy Thanksgiving turkeys for the children at the Home of the Innocents center. When Voight asked the lady buying the turkeys who all the turkeys were all for, he offered to pay for all the turkeys when discovering it was for the children.
Public Political Outbursts
Further, he has criticized celebrities, calling some “obviously ignorant”, on their political choices, and wrote an open letter about Barrack Obama in The Washington Post in 2010, accusing him of being a liar, an anti-semite and controlling the media. These criticisms have also been dished out to his former co-stars such as Jane Fonda who he appeared with in Coming Home. He accused her actions of signing a petition to be anti-Semitic, and this led to a public apology by the actress claiming she misunderstood what the petition was about.
Voight was raised Catholic by his parents, his father being professional golfer, and are of Slovakian decent. He is one of three brothers; his younger brother is Wesley Voight, better known as Chip Taylor, who wrote the songs “Wild Thing” and “Angel of The Morning.” He pursued an acting career after finishing college and moving to New York City. He graduated with a B.A. in Art in 1960 from the Catholic University of America in Washington, D.C.
Midnight Cowboy Made His Career
Voight’s acting career can be dated back to 1963. He guest starred in an episode of Naked City and two episodes of The Defenders in that year. However, it was in 1969 when Voight starred as Joe Buck in the casting of Midnight Cowboy, that his career really took off. He was awarded with six different nominations that year for his role, including his first Best Actor nomination in his career. Although he missed out on this award, he still won four others.
Working With Angelina
Voight and his daughter Angelina Jolie appeared together in the 2001 film adaptation of the computer game Lara Croft: Tomb Raider. Just like their real life roles, Voight played Jolie’s father in the film, after Jolie had allegedly requested him to play this role, while she had the leading role of Lara Croft. While they both have a long and successful repertoire of film and television roles, other than this film, they have not worked on or starred together in another production.
Voight claimed to be very picky when it came to picking roles he would take. He even missed out on roles in films such as Jaws and Love Story because he has a “perfectionist mentality”, and if it did not feel right for him, he would decline the offer. Before his leading role in Coming Home, he had not done a film for three years, despite the confidence others had on his acting skills and support in his ability for particular upcoming roles.
He Turned Down Playing Superman
Voight was originally offered the role of Superman, which was eventually played by Christopher Reeves in 1978. The offered role came shortly before Coming Home was released, in which Voight had a role in and would garner attention for. This was a cause of concern for the director of Superman as he felt Jon could not fully commit his time to the film. Voight also did not think he was muscular enough for the role and that he was “completely miscast.”
Bad Career Choices
As well as garnering tremendous success for many of his works, Voight was not always so lucky with his choices and made some poor decisions when taking roles. As a result he was awarded with the Razzle award for Worst Actor in 1997 for his deliverance in both Anaconda and Most Wanted. This then saw a slowing down from Voight and he only made a comeback during the 2000s, when he appeared in films such as Ali and his recent work in TV show Ray Donovan.
He Had An Iconic Cameo in Seinfeld
It was a short cameo in one episode of Seinfeld in 1994, but over twenty years later, and Jon Voight’s feature is still seen as one of the most memorable and iconic scenes. Jon even saw his feature in Seinfeld as a success for his career and how it came at a good time for him. With the scene of him biting a pencil, he has admitted that he gets asked “Could you take a bite of my pencil?” very frequently.
He currently stars as Mickey Donovan in the much acclaimed television show, Ray Donovan. He has had this role since 2013, whilst also appearing in several films. On the show, Voight plays a father who was jailed for 20 years and a father who neglected and abused his son, Ray. Following his release from prison, his desire is to have his son back in his life is a storyline which is simultaneously familiar with Jon’s relationship with his children and their estrangement throughout the years.
He Wants To Star In One Of Angelina’s Films
When Angelina Jolie announced that she was retiring from acting in 2014 to focus on writing and directing, Jon Voight expressed his desire to be cast in one of his daughter’s films one day. He has acknowledged her work publicly, speaking only fondly of the films she has directed. He said it would be an honor for Jolie to think, ‘Oh, I’ll consider Jon Voight for one of my films’. He states that Jolie has a ‘God’s-Gift’ and thinks highly of his daughter’s work.
Voight is a humanitarian activist, believing in the importance of giving back to society and participating in volunteering and charity events around the world. Voight has never been quiet about his views towards Israel and his support for the country, seeing it as a ‘moral beacon’ in the world. To mark it’s 60th birthday, Voight visited the city of Sderot to welcome children being saved from other countries and moving to Israel as part of the Chabad’s Terror Victims Project.
Jon Voight has been confused for other stars during his career, often being mistaken for other actors due to their lookalike appearance. Most noted similarities are seen with Christopher Walken, an actor four years Voight’s junior. Due to their similar hairstyle and facial appearance, it has been questioned as to whether the two stars could be related. Yet, there is no family relation between the two. Another star also that causes confusion between the two is Martin Sheen, often getting mistaken for one another.
He Was Citied As Being Dead
Jon was part of a death hoax, in which a false rumor was spread about the star passing away, a hoax happening to many celebrities in the media. A Facebook page, ‘R.I.P Jon Voight’ received a million likes and comments of condolences from devastated fans of the actor. However, the following day, the star’s reps confirmed that the actor is very much alive and the Facebook page has since been removed.
He Found Out About Daughter’s Operation Through The Press
Voight did not know his daughter had a double mastectomy until she made an appearance on the red carpet for the first time following the surgery. Voight even stated that he had seen his daughter two days prior to which she did not say anything about having the procedure done. Nevertheless, the actor praised his daughter for going through the operation which would decrease her chances of cancer, particular after she lost her mother to ovarian cancer in 2007.
His Grandfather Role
Following Pitt and Jolie’s highly publicized divorce, Voight has been spotted with his daughter and her children. His support came after he spoke to the press when the divorce was announced to say “something serious” must have happened to lead to their separation. Jolie has recently been outspoken of her father’s involvement and says she wants him to be “the cool grandpa.” It has also been alleged, however, that Voight is still in contact with Brad Pitt, much to the dismissal of his daughter.
His Spitting Image
Jon Voight has six grandchildren from his daughter Angelina Jolie. These include Maddox, Zahara, and Pax, who have been adopted, as well as biological children Shiloh, and twins Knox and Vivienne. Shiloh is a mirror image of her grandfather. In an interview with Oprah, Brad Pitt shared: “She only wants to be called John. John or Peter. So it’s a Peter Pan thing. So we’ve got to call her John.” Additionally, Shiloh prefers to wear boys’ clothing.
Political Flip Flop
Voight is known for his participation in politics, and while Voight and his daughter may have not always seen eye to eye, they do have their engagement in politics in common. Voight is now known for his vocal support of the Republican Party, but such was not the case. Throughout the years, he has changed his outlook on his political support as he has stated:“I regret being caught up in the hysteria of the sixties,” as he was a liberal at the time.
His Reaction To The Brangelina Breakup
After years of being together, Brangelina shocked the world with the announcement of their divorce. Jon Voight did not have much inside intel on what happened, but said, “It’s a sad thing…Something very serious must have happened for Angie to make a decision like this…Say a little prayer. I am concerned for Angie and the children and hopefully I will be seeing them very soon.” While his relationship with Jolie has historically been strained, he showed support for his daughter in this situation.