Jeremy Allen White credits parents Richard White and Eloise Zeigler with his passion for acting
Jeremy Allen White adores his parents, and his mother has played key role in his career.
While he eschews most social media (save for the occasional Instagram post), he recently told Vanity Fair, "My mom tells me what they're saying on Twitter, which is nice."
White's father, Richard White, and Zeigler live in New York City and keep a low profile, but the Shameless alum's mother has been in the spotlight with him occasionally. Zeigler has made several appearances with the actor, including on coffee outings and even on the red carpet at the 2023 Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards.
Get to know Jeremy Allen White's parents, Eloise Zeigler and Richard White.
They were fledgling actors
White's parents both used to be actors, and they met when his father attended one of his mother's plays in New York City's Upper West Side, White told GQ U.K. in October 2023. While they pursued Broadway careers, once White was born, his father took a day job recording depositions.
"Acting was something I was always aware of, it was something both my parents did, when they were in their 20s and 30s," White told Fault in 2022. "They met in [New York City] doing theater, there was always a passion for theater, film and the art of acting in our household growing up."
White followed in their footsteps and did theater when he was younger, and recalled to Variety the differences between his stage and screen experiences.
"The repetition of theater and doing the same thing over and over in front of people — you build confidence that way," he said. "I think for television and film, the bummer about it is you sit around and then you have five minutes to make something happen. I leave set every day just uncertain if we did what we were supposed to do."
His family was based in Brooklyn
White's parents raised him and his younger sister in Brooklyn's Carroll Gardens neighborhood, and White still keeps a home base in the New York City borough.
"I grew up in Brooklyn, we have family here. We try to come for the summers to see friends and family while here," he told Fault in 2022. "I like those New York nights where the sun can go down but it’s still very hot. Maybe I’ve over romanticized it a little bit, and it’s really miserable. But I like it here during the summer."
His mom is originally from North Carolina
Zeigler is originally from North Carolina, and her background helped White connect with another actor he admires, Dexter star Michael C. Hall, who he ran into at a holiday party.
"I was really nervous, and I happened to know too much about him," White told The Chicago Tribune. "I was like, 'My Mom is from North Carolina. You're from North Carolina. My Mom went to [the same school as you].' Once I got it out of my system, I calmed down a bit. He was very complimentary of [Shameless]."
His parents encouraged him to participate in physical activities
White says that when he was a child, he struggled to focus in school, leading his parents to "throw me into anything physical."
White played baseball, lacrosse, soccer and wrestled, but his favorite activity was dancing.
"I liked the performance of it," he explained to Fault. "I found that I was able to focus while performing, which is something that I found difficult to do especially as a child, even still to this day."
His mom was his date to the SAG Awards
Zeigler accompanied White to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG) Awards in February 2023, and White told GQ U.K. that on the way to the red carpet, she nervously fan-girled over the idea of meeting Cate Blanchett. White recalled he assured Zeigler that she wouldn't meet Blanchett, but they did have a run-in with the Australian Tár star, who noticed that Zeigler was "crying real tears."
White said that Blanchett consoled Zeigler and told her she was a fan of White.
"I'm like, 'You must have better things to do [than watch me],' " White said he told Blanchett. For her part, Blanchett insisted the opposite was true.
"One can tell so much by meeting an actor's family, and to meet Jeremy and his mother simultaneously was a godsend," Blanchett told the magazine over email, adding that she is now a producer on Fingernails, starring White. "I can only thank his mother Eloise for creating this opportunity."
His father inspired some of his jewelry
If you look closely at White's hands, you may see him wearing a ring engraved with a W. In a sitdown with GQ, he said that the ring was the first piece of jewelry he ever bought, and he initially didn't plan on keeping it for himself.
"I actually bought this for my father for Christmas, but he's got really big fingers and they didn't fit," he said. "So it became mine."
Another piece White wears often is a subway token necklace, which he said was inspired by growing up in New York City and his father always having a jar of the tokens in their home.
"Now everybody in the family has one," he said, naming his mother, sister, father and estranged wife as all having one of their own.
He says they aren't great cooks
While White may have taken after his parents in terms of his love for performing, his cooking skills aren't a family trait. White attended culinary school to prepare to star as chef Carmy in The Bear, and he told Falstaff that growing up, his parents weren't exactly Michelin material.
"My parents are lovely, but they are not good in the kitchen," he said. "For me, the ultimate comfort was grilled cheese and tinned tomato soup. When I was sick, that was always a very comforting meal."
These days, White says that he does most of the cooking for family holidays.
"I did Christmas Eve dinner, I did Christmas Day dinner for me and my family — all big meals," he told PEOPLE in August 2022. "I love a Sunday roast. I love something really hearty, almost wintry comfort food. I'll do short ribs, roasted vegetables, some kind of potato. That's what I like to make and what I like to eat."
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