LOS ANGELES (TIP): It may come as a surprise to many that Hollywood actor Leonardo DiCaprio’s stepmother is an Amritdhari Sikh who sports the 5 ‘Ks’. In the backdrop of strident debates on intolerance, peppered with hate crimes against Asians in general and Sikhs in particular, this news is refreshing.
With the actor poised for a probable Oscar for “Revenent”, his Indian fans found all the more reason to cheer when news of Peggy Ann Farrar, his stepmother being an Amritdhari Sikh broke.
According to reports, Peggy embraced Sikhism many years back, but has started wearing a turban recently. Peggy is Leo’s father George DiCaprio’s second wife. She married him in 1995, after he divorced Leo’s biological mother Irmelin Indenbirken when Leonardo was one-year-old. Leonardo DiCaprio is a heart-throb who commands millions for his work, while his bohemian father George is lesser known. The latter has been a comic book artist, editor and distributor.
Quite conspicuous in her Indian traditional dress and turban, Peggy is often seen at award functions and other Hollywood events with her family. But the wave of appreciation for her has come with a dash of criticism. A video uploaded on YouTube claims that she cannot be described as an Amritdhari Sikh due to her connection with the Yogi Harbhajan sect. It also says that she has been seen participating in rituals of other faiths. But that may be the least of her concerns, given the troubled life of her biological son Adam Ferrar, who is said to have inspired his sibling Leo to adopt a career in acting. Adam has been on the wrong side of the law for possession of drugs, domestic violence and even an attempt to murder his former girl friend.
A biography on Leonardo by Douglas Wight mentions how Peggy made the best of her new husband’s unconventional living arrangement with his ex-wife. To make sure Leonardo had a father figure all his life, George DiCaprio lived next door to Irmelin and the boy who would grow up to be a star. Peggy managed to maintain a harmonious relationship without any evidence of rancor.
All said and done, the Indian connection has worked well for both Peggy and Leonardo.