'Elvis' Star Austin Butler Descended from Finnish Immigrants
Austin Butler is descended from Finns on his mother's side, and through his mother, has a deeper connection to Elvis.
Austin Butler has been acting since a young age, starring in hit Nickelodeon and Disney Channel shows, including Hannah Montana, and in two CW series: The Carrie Diaries and Arrow. He also had a role in Quentin Tarantino's Once Upon A Time In Hollywood. The world knows Butler now for his portrayal of Elvis Presley in Baz Luhrmann's biopic Elvis.
In order to portray Elvis, Austin Butler traded in his naturally blond hair (which shows his Nordic roots from his mother's side of the family) for Elvis' jet black hair color.
Austin Butler's Descent from Finnish Immigrants
Austin Butler's second great-grandparents immigrated to the United States from Finland. His 2nd great grandfather, Matti Sillanpaa, was born 12 April 1875, coming from Hanko, in the Uusimaa region of Finland.
Matti came to America in his 20s, where we find him in records sailing from Liverpool on the S.S. Lucania on 15 June 1901 and arriving at port in New York City.
Matti first settled in Massachusetts, and later in Michigan. In 1901, Matti married Elisabeth Jaaruela in Bessemer, Michigan. Elisabeth was born on 26 September 1884 in Finland. She arrived in America at the age of nine in 1893. The couple had many children together.
According to his World War I Draft registration card, Matti had a tall and slender build, with blue eyes and dark hair. You can see Matti's handwritten signature in the registration card below.
In 1905, Matti and his wife Elisabeth moved to the Ogema area of Wisconsin, where they operated their own farm. For many decades, Matti and his wife are shown in each census through 1950 running their farm in Wisconsin.
Matti passed away on 28 February 1965, and Elisabeth passed away a few years later on 10 May 1967. Both had Lutheran funeral services and were buried at Levitt Creek Cemetery in Ogema, Wisconsin.
Loss of his Mother and Connection to Elvis
The Finnish ancestry of Austin Butler runs through his matriarchal line, carrying down to Austin's mother, Lori Anne Howell. She passed away from cancer on 11 September 2014 in California. Austin was 23 when he lost his mom, the same age as Elvis when he lost his mother. When Austin played out the haunting scene in the biopic, he understood exactly what Elvis had gone through, having lost his own beloved mother at the same age.
One report says that after waking from a dream about his mom, Austin recorded an audition tape that night of himself singing one of Elvis' hits. For the audition, Austin sang the song to his mom. And of course, we know now that he eventually went on to win the role of Elvis.
There is no doubt that Austin made his mother up above absolutely proud of his stellar performance in Elvis.
Elvis' daughter, Lisa Marie Presley, took to Twitter to say the following about the movie and Austin's performance: "I've seen Baz Luhrmann's movie 'Elvis' twice now. Let me tell you that it is nothing short of spectacular. Absolutely exquisite. Austin Butler channeled and embodied my father’s heart & soul beautifully."
Up Next for Austin Butler
Austin Butler has been cast to play Feyd-Rautha Harkonnen, the villain in Dune Part Two, and he is playing the lead role in the World War II drama Masters of the Air, produced by Steven Spielberg and set to stream on Apple TV+.
Storytelling binds generations. Films and family history are both powerful forms of storytelling that do just that. Family history research has been a passion of mine since I was a teenager. Having researched my own family tree extensively, I enjoy looking into the family trees of my favorite actors and entertainers. To see their roots and where they come from is always inspiring. I’m often left in awe of the experiences of their ancestors and how they connect to the present day. I hope to inspire others to research their own family trees and find out where they come from by sharing interesting insights from the family trees of notable figures.
Questions? Comments? Shoot me a message on the contact form on my About page.
My social channels:
#AustinButler #Elvis #ElvisMovie #Austin #Butler #Finnish #Ancestry #Ancestors #HollywoodAncestry #Actor #CarrieDiaries #HannahMontana #Arrow #OnceUponATimeInHollywood #DunePart2 #DunePartTwo #Zoey101 #Shannara #MastersOfTheAir #YogaHosers #FamilyHistory #FamilyTree #Ethnicity #AustinButlerFamily #AustinButlerMother #AustinButlerParents #ElvisPresley #Ancestor #Finland #Immigrants #Finns