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Celebrity Names (The original kind)

Cross posted to Wordpress 5-20-2016

What's in a name? Apparently, a lot when it comes to fame and fortune. Stage names are a longstanding tradition, and there are a number of reasons for adopting one. Fear of being perceived as too ethnic, Guild rules that state no two members may have the same name, anonymity, shock appeal... all play a rôle in determining the choice of your monicker.

From the Huffington Post, here are 44 celebrities and their real names. Some are well known, others came as quite a surprise to me. Listed here so you don't have to page through their slide show, with concomitant advertisements, along with some gratuitous commentary by my own self.

Alicia Keys: Alicia Augello Cook
Ben Kingsley: Krishna Pandit Bhanji
(Now that's an awesome name. I think he should have kept it.)
Bruce Willis: Walter Willis
Carmen Electra: Tara Leigh Patrick
Catherine Deneuve: Catherine Dorleac
To Anglophones, any French name sounds sexy. Perhaps there's something in French that prompted the choice...
Charlie Sheen: Carlos Irwin Estevez
Chevy Chase: Cornelius Crane Chase
Christie Brinkley: Christie Lee Hudson
Christopher Walken: Ronald Walken
I like his choice.
Chuck Norris: Carlos Ray Norris
No disrespect intended, but "Carlos Norris Jokes" just doesn't have the same ring to it.
Dakota Fanning: Hannah Fanning
Demi Moore: Demetria Gene Guyne
Diane Keaton: Diane Hall
Elton John: Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Elvis Costello: Declan Patrick MacManus
Etta James: Jamesetta Hawkins
Fred Astaire: Frederick Austerlitz
Helen Mirren: Ilyena Vasilievna Mironov
Jack Black: Thomas Jacob Black
Jamie Foxx: Eric Marlon Bishop
Joan Rivers: Joan Alexandra Molinsky
Joaquin Phoenix: Joaquin Rafael Bottom
Julie Andrews: Julia Elizabeth Wells
Katy Perry: Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson
Lana Del Rey: Elizabeth Grant
Larry King: Lawrence Harvey Zeiger
Marilyn Monroe: Norma Jean Mortenson
Meg Ryan: Margaret Hyra
Mel Brooks: Melvin Kaminsky
Michael Caine: Maurice Joseph Micklewhite
Miley Cyrus: Destiny Hope Cyrus
Natalie Portman: Natalie Hershlag
Nicolas Cage: Nicholas Kim Coppola
Olivia Wilde: Olivia Jane Cockburn
That's pronounced "Coburn," in case you were wondering.
Pat Benatar: Patricia Mae Andrzejewski
Yes. Thank you so very much. I can pronounce Eyjafjallajökull, but those Polish names give me fits.
Portia De Rossi: Amanda Lee Rogers
Spike Lee: Shelton Jackson Lee
Steven Tyler: Steven Victor Tallarico
Tina Fey: Elizabeth Stamatina Fey
Tina Turner: Anna Mae Bullock
Tom Cruise: Thomas Cruise Mapother IV
A cool name doesn't make him any less weird.
Vin Diesel: Mark Vincent
Whoopi Goldberg: Caryn Elaine Johnson
Woody Allen: Allen Stewart Konigsberg

In the end analysis, it's a shame that so many talented stars change their handles because of undercurrents of racism, but until the world becomes a more tolerant place, it will probably continue to happen.

Edit: I forgot to provide the link to the Wiki article on Stage Names, which gives many more examples and various reasons for the changes.

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Feb. 9th, 2012 12:15 am (UTC)
Interesting list!

But "Hannah Fanning" -- good grief, what were her parents thinking?

Another to add to the list is Jean Reno, originally Juan Moreno y Herrera-Jiménez, born in Casablanca to Spanish parents who had fled Franco.
Feb. 9th, 2012 05:07 am (UTC)
With that in mind, I don't understand the hate on Lana Del Rey.
Feb. 9th, 2012 05:42 am (UTC)
"cites Britney Spears, Elvis Presley and Kurt Cobain amongst her musical influences" (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lana_Del_Rey)

Right there you've got three very large, very loyal fan bases predisposed to hate her on general principles!

Feb. 9th, 2012 08:55 am (UTC)
ROFL! Granted, though no worse than any of the other 11tybillion manufactured singers and boy/girl bands.
Feb. 9th, 2012 09:57 am (UTC)
Sometimes a person feels more comfortable with a new name. ;) [Foxaroo smiles like a cheshire cat]
Feb. 9th, 2012 03:49 pm (UTC)
Some of these changes don't seem worth bothering. What's wrong with Julia Wells? But Joaquin Bottom chose wisely.

You're right that bigotry plays into it. Might I add Margarita Carmen Cansino, a.k.a. Rita Hayworth, and Stanley Martin Lieber, a.k.a. Stan Lee. But why would Amanda Lee Rogers take an Italian name, without even trying to look Italian?

Then there are duplications like Albert Einstein, who became Albert Brooks.
Feb. 9th, 2012 09:11 pm (UTC)
You reminded me that I had forgotten to provide the link to the Wiki article on stage names, which mentions some of these.
Feb. 9th, 2012 08:55 pm (UTC)
Some actors have to change their name due to some one already having the name on the Equity list. Case in point, one of my favorite British actors Chris Barrie (Arnold Rimmer on Red Dwarf) who was born Christopher Brown had to change his last name due to another actor on the Equity list already using Chris Brown.

*shrugs* They are actors, they want to be somebody else for a while. :-)
Feb. 9th, 2012 09:07 pm (UTC)
Yeah, I did mention that in the opening paragraph, but it would have been easy to gloss over. Like you said, it's all smoke and mirrors anyway, but I just noticed some sadness as I contemplate the relationship between popularity and ethnicity.
Feb. 9th, 2012 09:34 pm (UTC)
Old Hollywood had a big problem with that. But I think it's more now days, the actor wants to sound different, or they want to have a more interesting name.

Some actors, like Mr B up there, only use the stage name when acting. For everything else they use their legal name. :-)


The Old Wolf

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