Due to tumultuous history and often challenging life conditions, many Croatians have been forced to move out of their homeland in the search of a better life. Many of them chose the US as the best place to start the new life, so it should come as no surprise that many prominent Americans today can trace their origin to Croatia.
Only a few musicians have made such a tremendous impact on the music industry such as Krist Anthony Novoselic, the bassist and co-founder of the popular rock band Nirvana. Novoselic was born in Compton, California to Croatian parents Krsto and Maria Novoselić. His brother Robert introduced Krsto to Kurt Cobain, and the rest is (punk rock) history.
Another musician is hitting the rock charts right now – it’s Tomislav “Tomo” Milicevic, the lead guitarist of Thirty Seconds to Mars. He was born in Sarajevo in BiH to Croatian parents Tonka and Damir Milicevic. After traveling back and forth between the two countries, the family finally settled in Troy, Michigan.
Tomo also has an older sister, actress Ivana Milicevic. She appeared in numerous TV shows and films such as House M.D., Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Chuck, Banshee and Casino Royale.
Academy Award nominee and the star of over 70 films, John Malkovich, also has Croatian origins. Grandparents of this Hollywood legend were from Ozalj in Croatia.
Former Bond girl and ex-wife of Charley Sheen, Denise Richards, is another Hollywood actresses which has Croatian blood running through her veins. Denise was born in Downers Grove, Illinois, to a Croatian mother.
Victor Grinich, a member of traitorous eight that founded the Silicon Valley, was – you guessed it – a Croatian descendant! He was born in Aberdeen, Washington, to Croatian parents.
American police officers might want to know that their Maglite flashlights were invented by a Croat. Anthony Maglica was born in New York, but he grew up on Zlarin Island where his parents were from. He moved back to the US after World War II, where he eventually founded Mag Instruments, the company that produces Maglite.
NFL wouldn’t be the same without Bill Belichick, head coach for the New England Patriots. The winner of three Super Bowl titles and NFL Coach of the year in 2003, 2007 and 2010 had a Croatian grandfather from Karlovac.
Basketball is another great sport with a shining Croatian star. Toni Kukoc, former NBA player, grew up in Split, Croatia, when at 17 he became a professional basketball player, eventually ending up playing for Chicago Bulls.