Staunton, Aug. 22 – Some of the smallest nationalities in the world gain the attention of a mass audience only when one of their number becomes a success in fields often far removed from their origins. Charles Bronson, the descendant of Lithuanian Tatars, was one such person who garnered attention to his roots among many who would never have heard of that people.
With his death in 2003, the Lithuanian Tatars, who number only 3,000 in Lithuania and a few more in Belarus and the US, fell back into obscurity as far as the American public is concerned. But now they have a new star in Hollywood – and perhaps this group, which arrived on the Baltic shores in the 14th century from Crimea, will attract attention once again.
The new Lithuanian Tatar star in Hollywood is Glen Powell. He is currently appearing in the blockbuster film “Top Gun: Maverick.” Earlier he appeared in films like “Fast Food Nation,” “The Dark Knight Rises” and “Hidden Figures” (milliard.tatar/news/tatarin-iz-gollivuda-amerikanskii-akter-glen-pauell-iz-top-gan-maverik-imeet-tatarskie-korni-1931).
Powell’s links to the Lithuanian Tatars are more distant than those of Bronson who even named one of his daughters Zuleyka. But Powell’s great grandparents with Lithuanian Tatars, and now his fans can be expected to track down information about that people too.
For those with a more scholarly interest in the Lithuanian Tatars, the best source is Ingvar Svanberg and David Westerlund, eds., Muslim Tatar Minorities in the Baltic Sea Region (Leiden, 2016, 182 pp.). See also windowoneurasia2.blogspot.com/2019/10/vilnius-declares-2021-year-of.html.