What we know about Scarlett Johansson’s parents

Scarlett Johansson is an American actress famous for playing Black Widow in the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Johansson was the world’s highest-paid actor in 2018 and 2019 and has regularly been featured on the Forbes Celebrity 100 list. She is currently the ninth highest-grossing box office star of all time, with her films grossing over $14.3 worldwide. 

Johansson has won several awards, including a BAFTA Award for Best Actress and a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. She has also received two Academy Award and five Golden Globe Award nominations. 

Scarlett’s father’s love for details and architecture came out in his daily life

Scarlett was born on 22nd November 1984 in Manhattan, New York, to Karsten Olaf Johansson and Melanie Sloan. She grew up alongside her older sister Vanessa, older brother Adrian, and twin brother Hunter. She also has a half-brother, Christian, from her father’s first marriage.

Karsten was an architect originally from Copenhagen. His father, Ejner Johansson, was an art historian and film director. Karsten’s love for detail and architecture showed in everything he did. Scarlett told Paste Magazine:

“I mean every detail, he takes such great care. Even when he’s opening a letter. Even when he used to pack my lunch, he was so specific about the way the creases fold. And he’s very delicate with his hands. He’s very careful, and very visually inspired. He has a very specific aesthetic that leaves an impression on you as a kid.”

Scarlett also stated that dry Danish humor characterizes her father. “As silly as that sounds, it’s a small nation – and what comes with being Danish, I think, is a very specific sense of humor – very dry – and a certain sense of mortality.”

Scarlett’s mother introduced Scarlett to film and performance

Melanie Sloan is the film ‘buff’ who introduced Scarlett to film and performance. Sloan’s mom, Dorothy, grew up in Brooklyn before moving to Denmark with her daughter Melanie. Melanie and Karsten met and married in Denmark. Scarlett named her daughter Rose Dorothy in honor of Rose’s great grandmother.

Dorothy and Scarlett shared a close bond during Scarlett’s younger days. “I spent a lot of time with Scarlett when she was younger,” Dorothy told Jewish Daily Forward. “People would ask her, ‘Who’s your best friend?’ And she would say, ‘Grandma!’”

Melanie recognized Scarlett’s talent and passion for performance and supported her daughter’s career choice. Sloan’s decision paid off as Scarlett is a top Hollywood star. “[Sloan’s] been incredibly inspiring for me in many, many ways, but certainly as a young girl,” Scarlett told Entertainment Tonight at the amfAR New York Gala in February 2017.

“She never shielded us from what was going on in the zeitgeist in culture. She always made us aware, you know, socially aware. She always encouraged us to be politically and socially active, so I couldn’t imagine a better date tonight.”

Scarlett’s great relatives passed away in Nazi concentration camps during WWII

Melanie Sloan hails from an Ashkenazi Jewish family from Eastern Europe. For a long time, the Johansson family celebrated both Christmas and Chanukah. Scarlett told the Irish Times that her father’s Danish roots inspired the Christmas celebrations. She said:

“Even though we were Jewish we always celebrated Christmas alongside Chanukah just because we loved the traditions of Danish Christmases. We’d go to different harvest festivals and churches and all that kind of stuff.”

Scarlett describes herself as Jewish and as such, feels a strong connection to her European Jewish roots. Johansson couldn’t hold back tears when she learnt that some of her great relatives passed away in the Warsaw Ghetto during World War II. ‘Wow that’s sad,” Scarlett said in an episode of Finding Your Roots when she learnt about the living conditions in the ghetto.

“And I promised myself I wouldn’t cry. But it’s hard not to. I mean, you really couldn’t imagine the horror. It’s just so crazy to imagine.” Despite the pain, Scarlett stated that the discovery made her feel more connected to her family’s past. “It makes me feel more deeply connected to that side of myself, that side of my family,” she said. “I didn’t except that.”