Joe Manganiello, the celebrated actor known for his iconic roles in Magic Mike and True Blood, recently spoke about his family’s history and Armenian culture. He shared his family’s past during an Armenian Genocide commemorative event held at the Alex Theater in Glendale on Monday night.
Manganiello’s great-grandmother survived the 1915 Armenian Genocide, in which 1.5 million Armenians were massacred at the hands of the Ottoman Empire (modern-day Turkey). She moved to America and gave birth to a German-Armenian girl, Manganiello’s grandmother, who eventually married an Armenian man.
During his speech, Manganiello emphasized the importance of sharing the stories of our ancestors and spreading awareness of such issues. He believes that it is vital to not forget where we come from and to embrace our roots.
Manganiello’s own roots are diverse, including African, Armenian, German, and Italian. His mother was Armenian, and he and his brother grew up surrounded by Armenian food, culture, and language. Manganiello discovered more about his family’s past through a genetic test with 23andMe and an appearance on an episode of the PBS show Finding Your Roots with Henry Louis Gates.
The actor has always been vocal about his support for Armenian causes and used to protest in front of the Turkish Consulate. Manganiello has not yet visited Armenia, but he plans to do so soon as part of a new project he is working on.
As the 108th anniversary of the Armenian Genocide approached on April 24, 2023, Manganiello’s speech served as a reminder of the ongoing ethnic cleansing of Armenians in Nagorno-Karabakh, also known as Artsakh, and the Turkish government’s denial of the genocide. The actor hopes that by sharing his story, he can inspire others to share their ancestor’s history and promote awareness of their own cultural heritage.