Actor Joe Manganiello (Magic Mike, Spiderman) experienced some surprising revelations on the latest episode of Finding your Roots. Manganiello’s genealogy was traced back to sub-Saharan Africa, the Armenian genocide and even WWII Germany.

Interestingly, before the episode commenced, Manganiello was contacted to see if he would prefer to opt of out the episode due to some of the information coming his way. This is unsurprising when it is revealed that in 1915, Manganiello’s great-grandmother, Terviz “Rose”, survived the Armenian genocide after her husband and seven of her eight children were murdered in front of her. Manganiello later commented:

It’s virtually impossible that I exist.

To story goes on to explain how Rose escaped with her eighth child strapped to her back as she swam across a river to escape. However, once she got to the other side, she realised her baby had drowned during the swim. Rose then spent time living in a cave until she was eventually found and taken to a camp by a German officer. Finally, Rose was impregnated whilst at the camp by one of the German officers.

Manganiello was already aware that Rose was an Armenian genocide survivor, and that his great-grandfather was a German officer. Yet, he had never managed to find out the identity of the German officer until the show. Manganiello was informed that the officer in question was already married and had three kids at the time he impregnated Rose. His name was Karl Wilhelm Beutinger, and Karls eldest son, Manganiello’s great uncle—grew up to be a Nazi SS officer during World War II.

On his father’s side, the show revealed that Manganiello is 7 per cent Sub-Saharan African. His fifth great-grandfather, Plato Turner, was born in Africa before being brought to the US and becoming enslaved. Turner eventually became free and fought in the Revolutionary War. The actor continues:

It’s so rare to think that you’d have freed slaves fighting for the Colonies. You fight for the freedom and the promise that all men are created equal, and then a hundred years later there’s the Civil War? To think of how backwards this whole thing went….

William Henry Cuter and Nellie Alton were Mangiello’s great-grandparents. Despite interracial marriage being illegal at the time, they were a proud interracial couple who wedded in Rhode Island 1887. Due to the level of taboo at the time of their union, Nellie’s parents, Manganiello’s great-great-grandparents, disowned her. Manganiello commented:

I’m descended from survivors.

Joe Manganiello, Actor

Image Source:

  • African slave traffic: Picryl