Special Report

Most Famous Foreigners Who Became US Citizens

Kumail Nanjiani (Feb. 21, 1978 – )
> Country of origin: Pakistan
> Occupation: Comedian

This Pakistani-American actor, comedian, and screenwriter scored an Academy Award nomination for Best Original Screenplay for the 2017 rom-com “The Big Sick,” which he also starred in. He’s also famous for his role as Dinesh in the HBO comedy series “Silicon Valley.” He moved from Karachi at 18, to attend Grinnell College in Iowa. After graduating with a double major in computer science and philosophy, Nanjiani moved to Chicago and began performing stand-up at open mic events. He told Business Standard immigrating to the United States was no easy feat, and he struggled for 15 years to get his green card. He became a citizen in 2018.

Cary Grant (Jan. 18, 1904-Nov. 29, 1986)
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Occupation: Actor

One of the quintessential leading men from Hollywood’s golden age, Cary Grant was born and raised in Bristol, England. After a series of successful performances in New York City with the Pender Troupe at age 16, he decided to stay in the country. He ultimately made his way to Hollywood in the early 1930s. Some of his classic films include “The Philadelphia Story,” “Bringing Up Baby,” and “North by Northwest.” He became a U.S. citizen in 1942. The American Film Institute ranked Grant as the second greatest male star of Golden Age Hollywood cinema in 1999 (Humphrey Bogart came in first).

Helen Mirren (July 26, 1945- )
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Occupation: Actor

Helen Mirren is the only performer to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting in both the United States and the United Kingdom, garnering an Academy Award, four British Academy Film Awards, three Golden Globes, four Primetime Emmy Awards, and one Tony Award. The London-born actress has treaded the boards in theaters across the United Kingdom and the United States and has graced the big and small screens in a legendary career. She became a U.S. citizen in 2017, voting in her first U.S. election in 2020.

Source: Matt Kincaid / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Neil Young (Nov. 12, 1945- )
> Country of origin: Canada
> Occupation: Musician

A Grammy-winning singer/songwriter, Neil Young first forged a career in his native Canada, before coming to Los Angeles in the mid-1960s – illegally, he would later admit in a 2006 interview with Rolling Stone. He didn’t get his green card until 1970 – and it was another 50 years before he became a U.S. citizen, a step he says he finally took because he wanted to vote against Donald Trump in the 2020 election. Young’s Canadian-American rock band Buffalo Springfield disbanded in 1968. His decades-long solo career has produced a number of critically-acclaimed albums, plus hits like “Ohio” and “Teach Your Children Well” with Crosby, Stills, Nash, & Young.

Source: Rich Polk / Getty Images Entertainment via Getty Images

Anthony Hopkins (Dec. 31, 1937- )
> Country of origin: United Kingdom
> Occupation: Actor

With two Academy Awards, three British Academy Film Awards, a British Academy Television Award, two Primetime Emmy Awards and a Laurence Olivier Award, Anthony Hopkins has become an international treasure. He was knighted by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 for his services to the arts. The Welsh actor first appeared onstage at the Swansea Little Theatre in Wales in 1957, where he was spotted by Laurence Olivier, who invited him to join the Royal National Theatre in London. He moved to the United States in the late 1970s to pursue a career in Hollywood, and became a naturalized American citizen in 2000.

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