So, a colleague mentioned to me casually that actress Sandra Bullock is half Albanian.
Bullock was born to the late German-born opera singer Helga Meyer, and American-Albanian voice teacher John Bullock.
But it didn’t quite ring true to me; “Bullock” is not an obviously Albanian name. Not very much more digging and I came up with what appears to be an authorised biography:
Her mother, Helga, the daughter of a German rocket scientist, initially studied to be an opera singer in Nuremberg. To support her studies, she worked as a clerk, one day being called to the town’s Palace of Justice (where the notorious post-WW2 trials took place). Here she was to takes letters for the new head honcho, one John Bullock. Bullock, originally from Birmingham, Alabama, was a Juilliard scholar who’d joined the Army as a runner and risen to become the boss of the military Postal Exchange for the whole of Europe.
So, if the Sandra-is-Albanian story is true, we are being asked to believe that at the height of the Cold War, in the late 1950s and early 1960s, the US Army allowed its PX operation for the whole of Europe to be run by an Albanian? I somehow think not. Also notable that the people posting on this pro-Albanian website seem to laugh at the idea.
Almost certainly she (or someone) told a journalist once that she is half German, half Alabamian, and the journalist misheard the second bit (and possibly had never heard of Alabama). And so a legend was born.
Happy birthday, Sandra! She is 41 today.