Who is Nicolas Cage’s Father? Exploring the Life and Legacy of August Coppola

August Coppola

is a renowned actor known for his iconic roles in like Face Off and Leaving Las Vegas. However, behind his Hollywood career lies a fascinating family history. One of the key figures in Cage’s life is his father, August . In this article, we will delve into the life and legacy of August Coppola, exploring his background, his influence on Nicolas Cage, and the tragic aspects of his personal life.

The Coppola Family Legacy

August Coppola was part of the famous Coppola family, which includes his brother, filmmaker , and his sister, actress Talia Shire. Born on February 16, 1934, in Hartford, Connecticut, August was the oldest child of Carmine Coppola, a composer and classically trained flutist, and Italia Coppola, a lyricist. The family moved frequently due to Carmine’s work, but the siblings remained close and shared a love for movies and literature.

August Coppola’s passion for education led him to pursue a career in academia. He earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UCLA, a master’s in English from Hofstra University, and a doctorate in comparative literature and interdisciplinary studies from Occidental College. He went on to become a literature professor, teaching at Cal State Long Beach and later at San Francisco State University.

August Coppola’s Influence on Nicolas Cage

Nicolas Cage, originally born Nicolas Coppola, changed his last name to avoid accusations of nepotism and to establish his own identity in the entertainment industry. However, his father’s influence on his upbringing and artistic development cannot be understated. August Coppola exposed Nicolas to a wide range of films, including works by renowned directors like Federico Fellini. He took his son to art-house cinemas and introduced him to classics like ‘Citizen Kane,’ which sparked Nicolas’s interest in cinema and acting.

In an interview with Playboy magazine, Nicolas Cage described his father as one of the most remarkable characters he had ever met. He credited August with shaping his taste in movies and instilling in him a sense of curiosity and imagination. August’s unconventional approach to life and education left a lasting impact on Nicolas, who fondly remembers their movie outings and the nightmares they inspired.

Tragedy and Mental Illness

While August Coppola played a significant role in Nicolas Cage’s life, the actor’s relationship with his mother, Joy Vogelsang, was more complicated. Joy struggled with severe depression and schizophrenia, which deeply affected her and her family. Nicolas’s parents divorced when he was a child, and August primarily raised him while Joy battled her mental issues.

Nicolas has spoken openly about his mother’s illness and the challenges it posed for their family. He described moments when Joy would enter a state of confusion, forgetting everything that had happened. Despite the difficulties, Nicolas developed a scientific curiosity and detachment that allowed him to cope with the situation. However, he acknowledges that his mother’s illness likely had an impact on him, possibly contributing to the nightmares he experienced.

August Coppola’s Legacy

August Coppola’s contributions extended beyond his role as a father. He was involved in the film industry as an executive with his brother’s American Zoetrope film studio. He played a part in the revival of Abel Gance’s 1927 silent film ‘Napoleon’ and helped create the Tactile Dome, an interactive sensory exhibit at the Palace of Fine Arts’ Exploratorium in San Francisco.

August Coppola passed away in 2009 at the age of 75. His legacy lives on through his children and grandchildren. Nicolas Cage named his daughter August Francesca Coppola in honor of his late father, ensuring that the Coppola name continues to be celebrated within the family.


August Coppola was not only the father of Nicolas Cage but also a remarkable individual in his own right. His passion for education, love for cinema, and unconventional approach to life left a lasting impact on his son. Despite the challenges posed by his mother’s mental illness, August provided Nicolas with a rich cultural upbringing that shaped his career and artistic sensibilities. Today, August Coppola’s legacy lives on through his family and the indelible mark he left on the world of cinema.

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