ELLE > FANNING FAMILY
Elle is not the only member of the Fanning family with talent! Read about the rest of the clan here. Have anything to add? Be sure to let us know.
Joy Fanning / Mom
Joy Fanning comes from a sports loving family. Her father was a pro footballer, while she and her sister both grew up playing tennis tournaments. She ended up attending college on a tennis scholarship. "My whole family was into sports. I chose acting instead of sports. My sister and I kind of veered off," Dakota has said.
Joy and her husband are notoriously camera shy, and prefer to stay out of their daughters' spotlight. They allowed the girls to begin acting after seeing how much they enjoyed it, rather than any thought of fame or fortune. "We take pleasure from seeing them do something they enjoy," Joy has said. After marrying in Conyers, Georgia, Dakota was born when her mom was 27, and Elle came along four years later. Joy recently celebrated her 41st birthday.
Steve Fanning / Dad
Steve grew up in Georgia, where he was pitcher for the St. Louis Cardinals in the minor leagues. He has eight siblings, including sisters Gail, Linda, Susanne, Carolyn, and Laura, and brother Michael. Between them these siblings have 14 children!
Steve now works as an eletronics salesman in Los Angeles. Because of his work commitments he can't always accompany his daughters on their location shoots, but will take time off to visit if he can.
Dakota Fanning / Sister
Best known of all Elle's relatives is her big sister, Dakota. Born Hannah Dakota Fanning on February 23 1994, she's four years her sister's elder - and perhaps the most successful child actor working today, with a string of Hollywood blockbusters to her name. Incredibly, she also holds the title of "Most Powerful Actress" in Hollywood based on the total gross income of each movie she's appeared in. Not bad for a girl who's only just hit her teens!
Despite their success, Dakota and Elle give every outward sign of growing up as completely normal little girls. "When I go home, I play with my baby dolls and strollers and stuffed animals, pretend like they're real dogs," she said at age nine. More than money or fame, for this child it's all about loving what you do an doing what you love. "She's so grateful for anything and everything," says Cindy Osbrink, her agent. "That's the big thing that kids lose. Once they almost expect [recognition] and they lose that humbleness, the magic's gone." For Dakota and Elle, the magic has never faded.
Dakota began her career with a lead role in 2001's I Am Sam at the tender age of six, a role which would win her the honor of being the youngest person in history nominated for a Screen Actors Guild award. Her talent was quickly noticed and roles across nearly conceivable genre - comedy, horror, drama, animation, thriller, and action - followed. She has appeared alongside some of the biggest names in entertainment, including Tom Cruise, Denzel Washington, Sean Penn, Charlize
Theron, Mike Myers, and Robert De Niro, while becoming the subject of much media (and fan) attention, which she and her sister both handle with a grace that belies their years.
Mary Jane Arrington / Grandma
Mary Jane is Dakota and Elle's maternal grandmother. She is very supportive of her children and grandchildren (taping every game of NFL that her daughter Jill Arrington appears on).
She lives in Studio City, California, in a house with Dakota, Elle, and their parents, helping out with the girls' busy careers. Whenever Dakota and Elle are filming in different locations at the same time, Mary Jane will accompany Elle, while Joy takes Dakota on her shoots. So far Mary Jane has already made a trip to Australia for the filming of Charlotte's Web, New York for The Door in the Floor and to Mexico for Babel. She also homeschooled Elle when she was younger.
Jill Arrington / Aunt
Jill Arrington was actually born Tiffany, and is still known to her family and friends by that name. "Jill" is a screenname created for her by TV execs when she was auditioning for a gig with Fox Sports in 1997, who thought "Tiffany" sounded too delicate or fragile. She didn't care what name she was known by, as long as they offered her the job! (They did.)
Tiffany is Joy Fanning's younger sister, making her Dakota and Elle's aunt. She was born July 27 1972, and is now 36, living in Beverly Hills with her family. She married Dean Panaro, a talent agent with ICM, on August 18 2001 at the Bel Air hotel in Los Angeles, and they have one child - a little girl named Presley Kate.
Alongside her famous nieces, Tiffany is probably the most well known of the Arrington family. She began her career in 1994 with CBS, working as a production assitant before landing the leader reporter position for their coverage of college football in 2000. She later spent two years working on Fox, and a year at ESPN working as a sideline NFL reporter and covering different sports such as tennis. She has also dabbled in some acting, appearing in commercials for Coors beer and Nike. In 2001 Tiffany was voted "Sexiest Sportscaster in America".
Presley Kate Panaro / Cousin
Little Presley is Dakota and Elle's cousin, the daughter of Jill Arrington and her husband Dean. Presley was born on June 18 2004, and is now four years old.
She lives in Beverly Hills with her Mom and Dad, and has been snapped out and about in the neighbourhood with her famous cousins. She attended Dakota's 12th Birthday Party with her mom, was treated out to a day at Disneyland with Dakota and Elle to celebrate her third birthday and took a trip to see Dakota cheerlead at her school's big football game.
And not forgetting...
Rick Arrington is Dakota and Elle's maternal grandfather, and a former pro footballer. He played quarterback for the NFL's Philadelphia Eagles from 1970-73, so his daughters Tiffany and Joy grew up knowing a lot about the game.
Bill Fanning Snr is Dakota and Elle's paternal grandfather. He had seven children with his wife, Katharina, and 14 grandchildren. Sadly Bill passed away after a short battle with cancer on April 5, 2006, when he was 72.
Katharina Fanning is Dakota and Elle's paternal grandmother. She was of German descent, originally from Ludwigshaven. Her marriage with Bill Fanning lasted for 40 years, and sadly she passed away before her husband.
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“You have to think it’s fun. That’s why I like to do it, you know. If you’re not having fun playing the character or with the people, what’s the point? The role definitely has to be something connected to me, and that reaches out to me. But also I want to make sure everyone’s supportive of it, obviously. My family makes sure it’s something I really want to do.”
-Elle on acting (aged 14).
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