Cross posted From Livejournal
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, in blue.
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 strange.
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.