Weekly newsletter


Robert Velkey 2016.09.15.

In our weekly series, we write about celebrities – artists, actors, musicians, sport stars and scientists – who have some Hungarian origin, yet only few would consider them as “par excellence Hungarians”. In many cases even the persons concerned know/knew only very little about their Hungarian roots, while others are/were proud of their “Magyar” background despite lacking the ability to speak the language of their parents or grandparents. Our twenty-ninth target is: 

Nicolas Sarkozy French politician who served as president of France between 2007 and 2012.

Mr. Nicolas Sarkozy’s father was a Hungarian aristocrat Pál István Ernő Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa. Nicolas has Hungarian roots of an aristocrat Hungarian family belonging to the lesser Hungarian nobility. His paternal ancestor was elevated to the untitled nobility of Hungary on 10 September 1628 for his role in fighting the armies of the Ottoman Empire. The family possessed 285 hectares (700 acres) of land (reduced from an estate of 400–800 ha (990–1,980 acres) in the 18th century), and a small castle in the village of Alattyán, near Szolnok. Pál Sárközy’s father and grandfather held elective offices in the town of Szolnok. When the Red Army entered Hungary in 1944, the Sárközy family fled to Germany and later they settled in Paris. Nicolas Sarkozy was born in the French capital on the 28th of January 1955 to Greek and Hungarian immigrants.


He was the second of three children, and his father abandoned the family when he was a toddler. His mother, Andrée Jeanne “Dadu” Mallah, is of French Catholic origin, and she raised her son in the French Catholic tradition. To support the family, his mother studied and became a lawyer.

When Sarkozy reflects on his childhood, he does so with an air of sadness. His father’s absence, and the poverty that his mother suffered as a result, left him feeling a sense of resentment towards his father. While Sarkozy’s father, Pal, spent little time with his son, he is also rumored to have shown Sarkozy little affection on the occasions that he did see his son. When Sarkozy failed to achieve good grades at school, the Hungarian born aristocrat told him that he would “never succeed in France.” However, he qualified as a lawyer (1981) and pursued advanced studies in political science at the Institut d’Études Politiques in Paris (1979–81).


In spite of the sullen worlds, Sarkozy’s political career started early too. He was elected to his first political office—Municipal Councillor of Neuilly-sur-Seine—at the age of 22. Six years later, the ambitious and highly skilled politician, Sarkozy in 1983 was elected mayor where he served until 2002. He served as mayor for nearly 20 years, before entering national politics. In 2007 Sarkozy ran for president of France. He finished first in the initial round of voting on April 22, winning 31 percent of the vote. In the runoff election on May 6, Sarkozy defeated Ségolène Royal of the Socialist Party, capturing 53 percent of the vote. Sarkozy was sworn in as president on May 16, 2007.


Although the former President of French has got roots of a noble Hungarian family, Mr. Sarkozy is not proud of his Hungarian part of origin. According to a rumour in 1994 he was visiting in Hungary and in travelled to Bócsa, the cradle of the Sárközy family. At the visit he got a painting about his aristocrat father from the village. After he received the painting with a great smile, he simply he forget  about the picture left it in his hotel-room when they travelled back from the village of the Sárközy de Nagy-Bócsa family.


Previously on Hungarian Roots:

Tim Howard, goalkeeper for English club Everton and US national team

Rachel Weisz, English film and theatre actress and former fashion model

Alanis Morissette, Canadian alternative rock singer-songwriter and actress

Gene Simmons, musician, songwriter, guitarist and co-lead singer of rock band KISS

Béla Lugosi, Hungarian-American actor, famous for portraying Count Dracula in 1931

Kesha, US singer, songwriter and rapper

Louis C. K., world-famous US comedian

Adrien Brody, Oscar-winning American actor

Joaquin Phoenix, Grammy and Golden Globe-winning US actor

Don Shula, Legendary American football coach

Drew Barrymore, US actress, model and producer

Paul Simon, American songwriter, singer and guitarist

Uri Geller, Israeli illusionist and self-proclaimed “psychic”

Goldie Hawn and Kate Hudson, American actress

Hungarian Roots: Andy Vajna, Hungarian-American Film Producer Of The “Terminator” Series

Joe Eszterhas, Top Hollywood Screenwriter

Edward Teller, “Father of the Hydrogen Bomb”

Harry Houdini, Hungarian-Americal magician, illusionist, escapologist and stunt performer

Peter Falk, world-famous American actor known as lieutenant Culumbo

William Fox, the man who forgot to sleep and founded 20th Century Fox

Tommy Ramone, drummer of cultic punk rock band “The Ramones’

George Pataki, former three-term governor of New York

Michael “Flea” Balzary, founding member and bassist of rock band Red Hot Chilli Peppers

The greatest war photographer in the world, Robert Capa

Victor Vasarely, Hungarian-French painter known as the grandfather of the “op-art” movement

Monica Seles, former world-class tennis player

Mark Knopfler, frontman of rock band dire straits

Nimród E. Antal, film director, screenwriter and actor from LA

Joseph Pulitzer, the father of the world famous award

via: wikipedia.com; sudouest.fr; biography.com; stambroise.org; britannica.com

photos: publika.md; sudouest.fr; tempsreel.nouvelobs.com; stambroise.org;

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