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Ronan Farrow

Ronan Farrow

American human rights activist, freelance journalist, lawyer and government official
The basics
Quick Facts
Intro American human rights activist, freelance journalist, lawyer and government official
Countries United States of America
Occupations Lawyer Jurist Journalist Human rights activist
A.K.A. Satchel Ronan O'Sullivan Farrow
Gender male
Birth December 19, 1987 (New York City, New York, U.S.A.)
Mother: Mia Farrow
Father: Woody Allen
Siblings: Frank SinatraJr.Moses Farrow
Education Yale Law School
The details

Satchel Ronan O'Sullivan Farrow (born December 19, 1987) is an American activist, journalist, lawyer, and former U.S. government advisor. He is the son of actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen. He is also the grandson of Australian director John Farrow and Irish actress Maureen O'Sullivan.

Early life

Farrow was born in New York City to actress Mia Farrow and filmmaker Woody Allen, although Mia Farrow raised speculation in 2013 that singer-actor Frank Sinatra might be the father. He was named after baseball player Satchel Paige and actress Maureen O'Sullivan, his maternal grandmother. He was given the surname "Farrow" to avoid a family with "one child named Allen amidst two Farrows and six Previns."

Farrow attended Bard College at Simon's Rock, later transferring to Bard College and graduating at age 15. In 2009, he graduated from Yale Law School, and he later became a member of the New York Bar.


From 2001 to 2009, he was a UNICEF Spokesperson for Youth, acting as an "advocate" for children and women caught up in the ongoing crisis in Sudan's Darfur region and assisting in fundraising and addressing United Nations affiliated groups in the United States. During this time, he also made joint trips to the Darfur region of Sudan with his mother, the actress Mia Farrow, who is a UNICEF Goodwill Ambassador. He subsequently advocated for the protection of Darfuri refugees. Following on his experiences in Sudan, Farrow was affiliated with the Genocide Intervention Network.

During his time at Yale Law School, Farrow interned at the law firm Davis Polk & Wardwell and in the office of the chief counsel at the United States House Committee on Foreign Affairs, focusing on international human rights law.

In 2009, Farrow joined the Obama administration with his appointment as Special Adviser for Humanitarian and NGO Affairs in the Office of the Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan. He was part of a team of officials recruited by veteran diplomat Richard Holbrooke, for whom Farrow had previously worked as a speechwriter. For the ensuing two years, Farrow was responsible for "overseeing the U.S. Government's relationships with civil society and nongovernmental actors" in Afghanistan and Pakistan.

In 2011, Farrow was appointed Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's Special Adviser for Global Youth Issues and Director of the State Department's Office of Global Youth Issues. The office's creation was the outcome of a multi-year task-force appointed by Clinton to review the United States' economic and social policies on youth, for which Farrow co-chaired the working group with senior USAID staff member David Barth beginning in 2010. Farrow's appointment and the creation of the office were announced by Clinton as part of a refocusing on youth following the Arab Spring revolutions. Farrow was responsible for U.S. youth policy and programming with an aim toward "empower[ing] young people as economic and civic actors." Farrow concluded his term as Special Adviser in 2012, with his policies and programs continuing under his successor.

After departing government, Farrow began a Rhodes Scholarship at Oxford University, studying international relations, but did not complete his degree.

He has written essays, op-eds, and other pieces for The Guardian, Foreign Policy magazine, The Atlantic, The Wall Street Journal, the Los Angeles Times and other periodicals. In October 2013, Penguin Press acquired Farrow's book, Pandora's Box: How American Military Aid Creates America's Enemies, scheduling it for 2015 publication. From February 2014 through February 2015, Farrow hosted Ronan Farrow Daily, a television news program that aired on MSNBC.

Since then, he has continued to work as an NBC News Investigative Correspondent, reporting for NBC's Today Show, Nightly News, and the company's cable programs including Morning Joe.

Farrow currently fronts a recurring investigative series, "Undercovered with Ronan Farrow", on NBC's Today Show. Launched in June 2015, the series is billed as providing Farrow's look at the stories "you don't see in the headlines every day", often featuring crowd-sourced story selection and covering topics from the labor rights of nail salon workers to mental healthcare issues to sexual assault on campus.

He voiced minor characters in the English-language versions of two Japanese animated films, From Up on Poppy Hill (2011) and The Wind Rises (2013).


In 2008 Farrow was awarded Refugees International's McCall-Pierpaoli Humanitarian Award for "extraordinary service to refugees and displaced people." In 2009 Farrow was named New York magazine's "New Activist" of the year and included on its list of individuals "on the verge of changing their worlds." In 2011 Harper's Bazaar listed him as an "up-and-coming politician.". In 2012, he was ranked number one in "Law and Policy" on Forbes magazine's "30 Under 30" Most Influential People. He was also awarded an honorary Doctorate by Dominican University of California in 2012.

In its 2013 retrospective of men born in its 80 years of publication, Esquire magazine named him the man of the year of his birth.

In February 2014, Farrow received the third annual Cronkite Award for "Excellence in Exploration and Journalism" from Reach the World, in recognition of his work since 2001, including his being a UNICEF Spokesperson for Youth in 2001. Some media outlets noted the award came three days after Ronan Farrow Daily began airing and that the awarding was therefore not justified.

Personal life

Farrow is estranged from his father, Woody Allen. In 2011 he commented, "He's my father married to my sister. That makes me his son and his brother-in-law. That is such a moral transgression."

Asked about longstanding speculation that Ronan Farrow is the son of Mia Farrow's ex-husband Frank Sinatra, Mia stated in a 2013 Vanity Fair article that Sinatra might "possibly" be Ronan's father. After the allegation became widespread in the news media, Ronan tweeted humorously on October 2, 2013, "Listen, we're all *possibly* Frank Sinatra's son." In a February 7, 2014, editorial Woody Allen wrote in The New York Times, Allen expressed his uncertainty, writing, "Is he my son or, as Mia suggests, Frank Sinatra's?" No DNA testing has been reported to determine Farrow's paternity. According to Tina Sinatra, Frank Sinatra's youngest daughter, Frank Sinatra had previously undergone a vasectomy and could not have been Ronan's biological father.

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