Melania Trump’s Grandmother was a Soviet Soldier?

A photograph purportedly showing Melania Trump's grandmother is actually actress Janet Leigh in the 1957 movie "Jet Pilot".


A photograph shows Melania Trump's grandmother, Olga Orlif, who was a Soviet Soldier in World War II.



In January 2017, photographs began to show up on social media along with the claim that they were images of Melania Trump’s grandmother, purportedly a Soviet soldier named Olga Orlif:

Screenshot 2017-01-31 at 10.32.26 AM

The earliest versions of this rumor that we could uncover were accompanied by Russian text, which we have translated below:

Старший лейтенант Советской Армии Ольга Орлиф – бабушка югославки Мелании Трамп :-)?

Senior Lieutenant of the Soviet Army Olga Orlif – grandma of Melania Trump

This photograph actually shows actress Janet Leigh as Lt. Anna Marladovna (later Lt. Anna Shannon) in the 1957 movie “Jet Pilot,” a film about a Russian pilot who may or may not be a spy.  (It remains unclear whether this particular image is a still from the film, or if it was an official promotional photograph.)

The web site featured another image of Leigh in her Soviet Army costume:


Information about the real grandparents of Melania Trump (previously Melania Knauss) remains scarce online. The only tidbit we were able uncover was that her grandparents lived in Sevnica, a town in Slovenia, and that her grandfather developed a red onion variety called the Raka — but even that tidbit is anecdotal

While we don’t know much about the First Lady’s grandmother, a photograph of a Soviet soldier who looks a lot like Janet Leigh along with the claim that it shows Melania Trump’s grandmother is actually Janet Leigh dressed as a Soviet soldier for a 1957 movie role.

  • Smith, Alex.   “Melania who? Trump’s wife a forgotten memory in Slovenian home town.”
        The Guardian.   5 September 2016.

  • Collins, Lauren.   “The Model American.”
        The New Yorker.   9 May 2016.

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