19 Foreign Celebrities Who Became U.S. Citizens

by Christina Marfice
Mar 20, 2017 at 9:20 p.m. ET

1 /19: Mischa Barton

1/19 :Mischa Barton

Barton nailed her native Californian character on The O.C., but in real life she was born in London and didn't become a naturalized U.S. citizen until 2006, according to People magazine. She still holds dual citizenship.

2/19 :Desi Arnaz

Before he loved Lucy, Arnaz was born in Cuba. He gained U.S. citizenship in 1943 and served as a Technician Fifth Grade of the U.S. Army during World War II.

3 /19: Wolfgang Puck

3/19 :Wolfgang Puck

Celebrity chef to the stars, Wolfgang Puck, was born in Austria. He moved to the U.S. in 1973, opened his first restaurant in 1982 and officially became an American citizen in 1999. Bon appétit!

4 /19: Craig Ferguson

4/19 :Craig Ferguson

A British citizen by birth, Ferguson took his test for U.S. citizenchip in 2008, allowing his ?Late, Late Show? audience to watch while he did so. Not surprisingly, the savvy host scored 100 percent on the exam.

5 /19: Dave Matthews

5/19 :Dave Matthews

Born in Johannesburg, South Africa, musician Dave Matthews became a dual citizen in 1980. Though he spends most of his time on U.S. soil, he visits his home country regularly and penned a famous essay titled, "My African Heart," about South Africa.

"I go back to South Africa at least once a year, sometimes twice, and usually for a month," he wrote. "And probably, I'm guessing, I'll spend more time back there as I get older. South Africa gives me a perspective of what's real and what's not real. So I go back to South Africa to both lose myself and gain awareness of myself. Every time I go back, it doesn't take long for me to get caught into a very different thing. A very different sense of myself. It's a melting pot, southern Africa. You find these cultural collisions that result in art and music, and it's pretty amazing."

6 /19: Pamela Anderson

6/19 :Pamela Anderson

Baywatch beauty and outspoken animal rights activist Pamela Anderson has dual Canadian and U.S. citizenship. She became a U.S. citizen in 2004 so she could lobby for PETA in the U.S.

"Being a citizen excites me not just because I can vote, but because I can crack the whip on Capitol Hill to defend animals," she said.

7/19 :Michael J. Fox

Born in Alberta, Canada, in 1961, Michael J. Fox became a dual citizen of the U.S. in 2000, but maintains his pride for his home country.

"In my heart, I'm a Canadian, I'll always be a Canadian," he told The Star during the 2008 Olympic Games. "That was really evident the last couple of weeks watching the Olympics. Someone diving off a platform, if they had a Maple Leaf on them, I was all for them."

8 /19: Wayne Gretzky

8/19 :Wayne Gretzky

Known as one of America's all-time greatest hockey players, Gretzky was actually born in Canada. He obtained American citizenship soon after he was traded to the Los Angeles Kings in 1988.

9 /19: Arnold Schwarzenegger

9/19 :Arnold Schwarzenegger

First a bodybuilder, then an actor and, eventually, a politician, Arnold Schwarzenegger obtained his U.S. ctizenship in 1983.

In an essay he penned for U.S. News and World Report in 2008, Schwarzenegger explained that he came to America in search of opportunity, calling the day he passed his citizenship test "one of the greatest days of my life."

"Like other newcomers to this country, I came here for my shot at the American Dream," he wrote. "Growing up in a small village in Austria, where if I worked hard I might be fortunate enough to follow in my father's footsteps and become a policeman, I knew America was the Promised Land. It was the place to go if you wanted your dreams to come true."

10/19 :Jim Carrey

Canada-born Jim Carrey became a dual U.S. citizen in 2004.

"I have no intention of giving up my Canadian heritage, and all those who loved and supported me," he said in a statement announcing his citizenship. "My upbringing in Canada made me the person I am. I will always be proud to be a Canadian."

11 /19: Salma Hayek

11/19 :Salma Hayek

Salma Hayek, a former undocumented immigrant from Mexico, became a U.S. citizen to fight legislation passed by the House of Representatives in 2006 that would have made undocumented immigrants felons.

"As a human being, I find this situation intolerable," she told the New York Daily News. "As an immigrant, I find it offensive. And as an American citizen, I find it disheartening."

12 /19: Anthony Hopkins

12/19 :Anthony Hopkins

When Sir Anthony Hopkins, born in Wales, became a U.S. citizen in 2000, he celebrated in the most American way possible: by taking a 3,000-mile road trip across his new home country.

13 /19: Pierce Brosnan

13/19 :Pierce Brosnan

Hunky James Bond actor Pierce Brosnan became a dual U.S. citizen in 2004, but still strongly identifies with his native Ireland.

"I found a whole new life and identity in America, but my heart and soul will be forever Irish," he said at his swearing-in ceremony.

14 /19: Alanis Morissette

14/19 :Alanis Morissette

Canadian-born musician Alanis Morissette took her oath of U.S. citizenship in 2005 — along with 4,500 other new citizens in a ceremony at the Los Angeles Convention Center.

15 /19: Liam Neeson

15/19 :Liam Neeson

Actor Liam Neeson, who became a U.S. citizen after his wife died in 2009, told the New York Daily News that the outpouring of support and condolences he received from American fans touched him so much he wanted to become an American himself.

"That is partly the reason why I've recently become an American citizen," he said, adding, "I'm still a proud Irishman, of course, but I've become an American citizen — I'm very proud of that."

 

16 /19: Angela Lansbury

16/19 :Angela Lansbury

The legendary actress in Murder, She Wrote, Angela Lansbury, was born in England and first came to the U.S. in 1940 at age 14. By 1951, she had become a U.S. citizen, but she views the U.S. as the melting pot it's always been.

"I'm as American as most Americans are," she told The Independent. "We've all come from somewhere else."

17 /19: Rachel Weisz

17/19 :Rachel Weisz

Rachel Weisz became a U.S. citizen in 2011 to avoid losing her green card when she returned to her native England. But in an interview with Stylist magazine, she shared the other things she loves about being a dual citizen.

"Being a citizen means I can vote here which is exciting, not just being an outsider," she said. "When I come back into the country now and they stamp my passport, they say 'Welcome home, ma'am.' I think that's a lovely formality. No one in England would say that, would they?"

18/19 :Alan Cumming

British-born actor Alan Cumming admits he wanted to be a U.S. citizen just so he could vote for Barack Obama in the 2008 election. Unfortunately, his swearing-in ceremony happened just after election day.

19 /19: Charlize Theron

19/19 :Charlize Theron

South African-born Charlize Theron said she obtained her U.S. citizenship in 2007 so she could travel the world more easily.

"South Africa wasn't like other countries where you're loved all over the world. When you have a South African passport, you have to get a visa for every country and it's a bit of a nightmare," she said.

She added that being a naturalized U.S. citizen has other perks, saying, "It's nice to feel like I'm actually really home here."