His mother was of French, German, Scottish and English ancestry.
John Malkovich was born on December 9, 1953, in Christopher, Illinois, United States, and grew up in Benton, Illinois. He is the son of Daniel Leon and Joe Anne (née Choisser) Malkovich. He has three younger sisters and an older brother. His paternal grandparents were from Ozalj in Croatia, and according to his mother they were of Serbian ancestry from Montenegro.