"Twilight"s Robert Pattinson related to Dracula

Wed Jun 23, 2010 8:44pm EDT
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LOS ANGELES (Reuters) - Bite into "Twilight" star Robert Pattinson's past and what do you get? A blood-curdling connection to Dracula, the biggest vampire of them all.

Genealogy web site Ancestry.com said on Wednesday that the British actor is distantly related to Vlad III Dracula -- the cruel 15th century ruler who inspired Bram Stoker's literary Count Dracula in 1897.

"Tracing Pattinson's family back to Vlad was difficult research, but the pieces that unraveled created the perfect accompaniment to 'The Twilight Saga'," said Anastasia Tyler, a genealogist at Ancestry.com.

Pattinson plays love-sick vampire Edward Cullen in the smash hit film franchise based on the novels by Stephenie Meyer. The first two movies earned a combined $1.1 billion at world-wide box offices. The third film "The Twilight Saga: Eclipse" opens on June 30.

Family history experts said Pattinson and Vlad -- the Transylvania-born despot also known as Vlad the Impaler -- are likely related through today's British royal family.

Pattinson, 24, is a distant cousin of Prince William and Prince Harry on their father's side, probably through the Pickering family who lived in northern England in the early 1500s, Ancestry.com said.

"Without any myth or magic, we find royalty and vampires lurking in Pattinson's life -- making his story just as supernatural as the one he is playing on screen," Tyler said.

Pattinson isn't the only movie star whose past bears an eerie resemblance to his screen persona. Last year, Ancestry.com said that actress Emma Watson, who plays teen witch Hermione Granger in the "Harry Potter" movies, is related to a 16th century woman accused of witchcraft.

(Reporting by Jill Serjeant; Editing by Bob Tourtellotte)

<p>British actor Robert Pattinson is seen during the filming of a scene in his new movie "Bel Ami" in Budapest April 8, 2010. REUTERS/Karoly Arvai</p>