When Elizabeth Olsen started garnering buzz for her performance in 'Martha Marcy May Marlene,' a lot of people reacted with "There's another Olsen sister?'" In an age where being a famous person's sibling is almost a career in itself (yes, I'm looking at you, Khloe Kardashian. And you, Trace Cyrus. Et vous, Ali Lohan), it's almost astonishing that the world's most famous twin sisters, Ashley and Mary-Kate, have had an equally cute little sister hiding in the wings all these years.
Even more remarkable: Elizabeth can actually act. Instead of opportunistically riding her sisters' coattails into the family business, Elizabeth has been quietly honing her craft and leading a very private life. She's currently a theatre student at New York University, where she met 'Martha' director Sean Durkin, an NYU grad.
Her hard work appears to be paying off. She earned rave reviews from critics when 'Martha' debuted at Sundance. Next up, she'll co-star alongside Robert DeNiro and Sigourney Weaver in 'Red Lights,' directed by Rodrigo Cortes. Not bad for a newbie.
Of course, Olsen isn't the first celebrity sibling to step out of a famous sibling's ever-looming shadows. While there are certainly more Khloes and Traces than there are Elizabeths, it's not completely unheard of for siblings to break through and prove themselves as worthy in their own right. In some cases, siblings on the back-burner even eclipse their trailblazing counterparts. With that in mind, here's a list of my top five favorite celebs who had to step out of their siblings' shadows.
It's hard to believe this legendary cool guy was ever in anyone's shadow. But when Shirley MacLaine is your sister, that's just how things are. As the story goes, little Warren thought he'd try his hand at acting after he saw how successful his big sister was becoming in Hollywood. Luckily, he had the chops to back his lofty aspirations, and another star in the Beatty family was born.
Jason and his sister Justine are both acting vets, but during the height of the 'Family Ties' popularity in the '80s, Justine was definitely the bigger star. Remember when 'Teen Wolf Too' came out? I don't know about you, but for awhile I knew it as the movie starring the brother of Mallory from 'Family Ties.' Now, of course, the tables have turned, and Jason's star is shining bright. For now. (I smell a comeback, Mallory!)
While Maggie also appeared in the movie that shot brother Jake to fame, 'Donnie Darko,' she didn't land on people's radar until a year later, when she went fannying about the office with a deviant James Spader in 'Secretary.' While she hasn't quite achieved Jake's level of fame, Maggie is definitely a well-respected actress in her own right. She's courting controversy again in 'Hysteria,' about the invention of the ahem, vibrator.
How could I leave Johnny Drama off this list? He certainly knows a thing or two about living in someone's shadow, as the little brother of heartthrob Matt Dillon in real life, and the big bro to movie star Vinnie Chase on 'Entourage.' Kevin has definitely proven himself as a great comic actor on 'Entourage.' Here's hoping he can keep up his career's momentum now that the show is off the air.
Those Fanning girls certainly are hard workers. At just 13, Elle has so many film and TV credits, you actually have to scroll down on her IMDB page to see them all. Dakota's little sister got her start playing a young Dakota in movies like 'I am Sam' and 'Taken,' She co-headlined this summer's thriller 'Super 8,' and appears next alongside Matt Damon and Scarlett Johansson in the much-buzzed-about 'We Bought a Zoo.'