The most bloodthirsty murderer of Mafia, played by Robert De Niro in the new Martin Scorsese film, The Irishman, is not a distant uncle of Ed Sheeran – but there is a small chance that it could be cousins, MailOnline can reveal today.
Expert genealogists have explored the intriguing ties between Suffolk's hit maker (28) and New Jersey-born assassin Frank Sheeran, who killed 25 people in front of the crowd, including union leader Jimmy Hoffa in 1975.
British actor Stephen Graham, who plays the lead role in The Irishman, & # 39; swore & # 39; last night that Ed claimed the gangster was a family member – but birth, marriage, and death records from Britain and America from 1845 show no direct link between the two men.
The parents and grandparents of Frank & # 39; The Irishman & # 39; Sheeran are all born in the US – there is a possibility through the great-grandfather Thomas Sheeran of the rented gun, who was born in Ireland, but the chances are low.
If Ed and Frank do share a family bond, then that should be through a marriage from the 18th century or earlier, which means that they come closest to the cousins.
The British Flame Star's own family appears to be from Maghera in County Londonderry, Northern Ireland, on the side of his father John & # 39; s – and Galway on the side of his mother Imogen.
The first Irish record under that name O & # 39; Sheeran – anglicized to Sheeran by many who emigrated came to the UK – dates from 1170 in County Donegal, in the far northwest of Ireland in Ulster.
A well-known friend of Ed Sheeran has claimed that the star is related to Frank Sheeran (right in 1970), the gangster played by Robert De Niro in Martin Scorsese & # 39; s new movie The Irishman – but research by MailOnline suggests otherwise
Hi-tech: Robert De Niro, 76, played Sheeran (right) in all scenes in the critically acclaimed new film and was digitally obsolete for those who portrayed him as a younger man
Wow: Stephen, 46, who plays fellow gangster Anthony Provenzano in the popular new movie, insisted that the unlikely connection was real (Pictured: Stephen with Scorsese last month)
Ed made the link while the movie was being made – but did not claim to be a direct relative
One family tree expert who looked at families on both sides of the Atlantic said: & # 39; Frank's father, Thomas Francis Sheeran jr and his grandfather Thomas Francis Sheeran sr were born in the United States. But his great-grandfather was born in Ireland. But this will be before 1845 at the latest.
& # 39; If we look at the birth dates of each generation, it seems likely that you have to support at least two more generations on Ed & # 39; s before we get a link. That will bring them no closer than 4th cousins & # 39 ;.
There is a small chance that they are related by a female bloodline in Ireland – but it would be an extraordinary coincidence for both men to get the same surname in those circumstances.
Frank Sheeran, who was notorious to paint & # 39; houses & # 39; by splashing the blood of victims on the walls, a & # 39; distant uncle & # 39; named for Shape Of You singer Ed, 28.
The claim was made by celebrated British actor Stephen Graham, 46, who plays fellow gangster Anthony Provenzano in the new Scorcese film that receives rave reviews.
He told The sun: & # 39; They are related to each other, you know. Honest to God – I swear the life of my nana. That's what Ed said, he says it's his distant uncle. & # 39;
Ed had previously emphasized the couple's shared name when the movie was first announced, although he didn't seem to know any family ties.
He wrote on social media: & # 39; Robert De Niro plays a top Irishman in a new Martin Scorsese film. The gangster he plays is Frank Sheeran. True story. & # 39;
Shooting: Frank Sheeran (right) claimed to have killed union leader James Hoffa by shooting him twice in the back of a head in a house in Detroit (photo: Sheeran and Hoffa) – one of 25 victims
The Irishman Frank died of cancer in 2003 before the story of his life was told to the book I Heard You Paint Houses by former prosecutor Charles Brandt, who interviewed the real Sheeran.
In what is an adaptation of the book, the Scorsese film describes the life of the hit man Sheeran.
It portrays him as an old man who thinks about the role he played in the disappearance of trade union leader James Hoffa (Al Pacino) and his connections with the Bufalino crime family.
Sheeran claimed he had killed Hoffa by shooting him twice in the back of a home in Detroit.
Before his revelation, Hoffa's disappearance had been one of America & # 39; s greatest unsolved crime mysteries.
The murder of Hoffa was just one of the dozens of shocking murders Sheeran admitted – many on Hoffa's orders.
De Niro, 76, played the role of the gangster in all scenes and was digitally obsolete for those who showed him as a younger man.
One of the murders that Sheeran claimed to have committed was, among other things, the notorious murder of Joe Gallo, a mafia boss, who died during his birthday in a restaurant.
Sheeran said he developed his murderous instincts and his callous disregard for taking human lives while serving in the US Army in North Africa and Italy during World War II.
He said he had spent 411 days in battle – far more than most other American soldiers ever did.
He told Brandt that he was taking part in concise executions of German prisoners of war, and not just front line soldiers, but even German mule drivers.
He claimed that he did not hesitate to do what I needed to do.
The film about his life has stunned the public and has become Scorsese's most popular film by achieving a perfect score on the Rotten Tomatoes review website.
The popular website – which gathers official film reviews to give each film a percentage score – gave the film a 100 percent score based on reviews from 80 different publications.
It is extremely difficult to get a & # 39; Certified Fresh & # 39; score of 10 percent on the website, because a single negative rating undermines a perfect score.
The film has even replaced Scorcese's most famous film, Taxi Driver, with a rating of 98 percent.
The Irishman is also better than the other beloved films from the director, Goodfellas and Raging Bull, who each have a 96 percent rating on Rotten Tomatoes.
Impressive: the film has an impressive audience and has become Scorsese's most popular film by achieving a perfect score on the Rotten Tomatoes review website
Hard partying: the link between Ed and the gangster comes after the singer came back on stage last month to sing Backstreet Boys and his hit Galway Girl in a Japanese karaoke bar
The unexpected link between Ed and Sheeran comes after the singer said in August that he was taking a break from the show.
Ed reportedly said during his last show: & # 39; As you may or may not know, I have been on the Divide tour for more than two years now and this is the last day of the whole event. & # 39;
& # 39; Something very bittersweet about it. I think it's great that you are here and we end it in Ipswich. This is my last performance of probably 18 months & # 39 ;.
However, he returned to the stage last month to sing Backstreet Boys and his hit Galway Girl in a Japanese Karoke bar after England's final defeat in South Africa.
Starting with his hit Galway Girl, it didn't take long for Ed to continue his childhood with & # 39; I Want It That Way & # 39; from Backstreet Boys.
After entertaining the audience, Ed decided to put on a Charizard onesie and happily posed for selfies with over-excited fans before enjoying a large glass of wine.
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