The dark Armie Hammer family history is explored in 'House of Hammer'

'If you believe in making deals with the devil, the Hammers are top of the totem pole'

armie hammer at new york fashion week in 2018
(Image credit: Mike Coppola/Getty Images)

The Armie Hammer family history dissected in House of Hammer, a new true crime documentary, exposes generations of wrongdoing. 

After a slew of allegations against the actor, including rape, threatening text messages and cannibalistic fantasies, Armie Hammer quickly went from Hollywood's golden boy to a tainted name. In turn, this caused many fans to wonder: "Where is Armie Hamer now? What happens next?" 

His story is but one small piece of the puzzle, according to those closest to him.

"You don't just wake up one day and become a monster," Casey Hammer, who appears in Discovery+'s Armie Hammer documentary and serves as a consultant, tells Insider. "It's a learned behavior and again, that's why I wasn't shocked by a lot of what was happening."

Although alleged scenarios like these are nothing new for the actor's aunt, it was somewhat shocking to third parties to uncover just how troubling things got within the family. 

"It's crazy what was happening behind closed doors, as opposed to what was out in public," Casey says in the documentary. 

Armie Hammer family history: what to know

Before Discovery+ decided to shed light on the actor's news, the Hammer family was the subject of books, like Dossier: The Secret History of Armand Hammer by Jay Epstein and feature stories. 

Vanity Fair's exposé on the Hammers takes a look all the way back to Dr. Julius Hammer, Armie's great-great-grandfather, who was jailed in 1919 for manslaughter after performing an abortion on a Russian diplomat's wife, which ultimately killed her days later. When the family business was left in the hands of Julius' son, Armand Hammer, things grew worse. 

Armand Hammer

armand hammer headshot

(Image credit: Bob Riha, Jr./Getty Images)

The actor's great-grandfather, Armand Hammer, took control over finances and invested his third wife's fortune into Occidental Petroleum. His reputation was tainted by acts of money laundering and espionage, though he was in elite circles with the likes of Prince Charles. 

When he passed in 1990, Armie's father, Michael, became the head of the family. 

Michael Armand Hammer

Per Insider, Michael inherited his family's fortune and Knoedler Gallery in New York, which was ultimately exposed by the F.B.I. for selling fake work. He also manages the Hammer International Foundation and the Armand Hammer Foundation, among other businesses.

It seems odd that Armand would bypass his son, Julian, but given that he reportedly killed a man in 1955 due to a gambling dispute—a charge that was ultimately dropped—Julian was only rewarded $250,000.

"It's hard to watch; don't get me wrong. I'm still getting triggered, like, "Oh my God, it's my life! I mean, I lived it. I know how it ends, I'm sitting here." But I still watch it and it's pretty horrific," Casey told Salon.

Despite the name, there's no connection between Armie Hammer and the baking soda brand, per Slate. The Arm & Hammer brand was founded in 1867, a whole three decades before Armie's namesake, Armand Hammer, was even born.

However, Armand Hammer did own a considerable stake in Church & Dwight, the company that manufactures Arm & Hammer products, in the 1980s, and also served on the company's board of directors. 

a headshot of Armie Hammer at an event in 2018

(Image credit: John Lamparski/WireImage/Getty Images)

As far as the actor goes, Armie had just completed a stint in rehab following the 2021 allegations and was laying low in the Caymen Islands with his estranged wife, Elizabeth Chambers, and their children, although he's now back in California, according to reports. Sources told People in July 2022 that Hammer was cut off from his family fortune. 

As far as the Hammers go, their years of unthinkable behavior are all out on the table because of this project.

"So it'll be interesting to see why people tune in, if it's for entertainment or whatever. By the end of three hours, I guarantee their opinions will be changed and it will be something that they did not expect it," Casey further revealed to Salon.

The three-part series, House of Hammer, is now available for streaming on Discovery+.

Danielle Valente
Digital News Writer

Need a TV show recommendation? Maybe a few decor tips? Danielle, a digital news writer at Future, has you covered. Her work appears throughout the company’s lifestyle brands, including My Imperfect Life, Real Homes, and woman&home. Mainly, her time is spent at My Imperfect Life, where she’s attuned to the latest entertainment trends and dating advice for Gen Z.

Before her time at Future, Danielle was the editor of Time Out New York Kids, where she got to experience the best of the city from the point of view of its littlest residents. Before that, she was a news editor at Elite Daily. Her work has also appeared in Domino, Chowhound, and amNewYork, to name a few. 

When Danielle’s not writing, you can find her testing out a new recipe, reading a book (suggestions always welcome), or rearranging the furniture in her apartment…again.