88 Celebrity Birth Names You Don’t Know About
In the world of celebrity, using an alias or stage name is quite a common practice. And it’s not just limited to the entertainment industry because even a few athletes, writers, and artists opt to use stage names rather than using their birth names. But the question that boggles our mind is why they do this in the first place? After all, our parents spent weeks — and even months — brainstorming together to come up with our names while dreaming about future degrees. And for these people to not use it, especially when they’ve become so famous, is just disrespectful. Or is it?
Public figures often have to deal with a lack of privacy in their careers. And using a stage name or pen name is a form of protection for these stars from prying eyes. However, some celebrities adopt different names for other personal reasons. These include having birth names that are too long to spell out on paper, the desire to push for uniqueness and simplicity, and also because of their personal experiences or inspirations. For some, they simply don’t like their birth names. Wondering who these celebrities are? Well, let’s get to know each one and find out why they decided to change their names.
Demi Moore | Demetria Gene Guynes
Demi Moore was born in New Mexico on November 11, 1962. She was one of the most popular Hollywood stars. She was once the highest paid actress in Hollywood. Actress Demi Moore was not always called this way. When she was born, her parents gave her the name Demetria Gene Guynes. She went by the nickname, Demi. When she married Freddy Moore, she decided to keep his last name.
Even when they decided to hire a divorce attorney, Demi still wanted to be known as Demi Moore. Because of this, she not only created her reputation around this name that soon became famous, but she also inspired her own daughter Tallulah to change her name legally. She said she didn’t like her name so she wanted to go by Lula instead. Her father Bruce Willis shared this story in The Late Show with David Letterman in 2007. She asked her dad to tell everyone in the world about it.
Raquel Welch | Jo Raquel Tejada
Raquel Welch was born in Chicago, Illinois and grew up in California. She was born with the name Jo Raquel Tejada. Raquel Welch studied ballet when she was a child. At the age of 14, Raquel Welch won a beauty contest. She shared that once upon a time, her schoolmates and her teacher called her by her first name Jo. She became known to everybody as Jo, but she did not like it.
When her mother Josephine found out about it, she went to the school and asked them to call her Raquel. Though she named her daughter Jo after herself, she realized that it wasn’t the identity she was going for. Ever since then, our beloved celebrity has been known as just Raquel. The actress is actually part Latina and though she isn’t a proficient Spanish speaker, Welch still credits her Hispanic blood for making her the person who she is today.
Phylicia Rashad | Phylicia Ayers-Allen
Phylicia Rashad was born in Houston, Texas. Phylicia Rashad’s real name is not far from what she is using. Born on June 19, 1948, she was named Phylicia Ayers-Allen. Phylicia Rashad is known for her role as Clair Huxtable on the NBC sitcom The Cosby Show, which earned her Emmy Award nominations in 1985 and 1986. It looks like Phylicia inherited her incredible talent as an artist from her mother, Vivian Mayers, who is a Pulitzer Prize-nominated artist. Vivian is also a poet, playwright, scholar, and publisher. Her father, Andrew Arthur Allen, alternatively, was an orthodontist.
Phylicia is not only the performer in her family. She is the sister of jazz-musician Andrew Arthur Allen Jr. and Debbie Allen, who is also an actress, choreographer, and director. Her other brother, Hugh Allen, is a real estate banker in North Carolina. Aside from her extraordinary talent, Phylicia also has both beauty and brains. She graduated magna cum laude with a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree.
Janet Jackson | Janet Damita Jo Jackson
Janet Jackson is a famous American pop singer and actor. Surely, you know Janet Jackson as a member of the famous family, the Jacksons. She is the youngest member of the family. In addition, Janet Jackson is the sister of the late King of Pop, Michael Jackson, and collaborated in the song, Scream. Janet Jackson is good at songs and dancing, she is recognized as the best dancing female artist in the European and American music circles.
But did you know her real name is Janet Damita Jo Jackson? Although it is not far from the screen name she is using, it is quite too long. Aside from being a part of the Jackson family, Janet has successfully made a name for herself. Just like her brother, she is an integral part of popular culture as well as the music scene. She is known for her innovative, socially conscious, and provocative songs, not to mention elaborate stage shows. In addition to being a singer-songwriter, she also has movie credits.
Chuck Norris | Carlos Ray Norris
Chuck Norris, was born with the name Carlos Ray Norris. We all know Chuck for his outstanding martial art skills; he won numerous martial arts tournaments and championship events. To his credit, he was even able to form his own martial arts discipline. In addition to winning the championship title of traditional karate in the United States for many times, Chuck Norris was also proficient in various martial arts and created his own Chun Kuk Do.
Besides martial arts, Chuck is a black belt in Judo and in the Brazilian jiu-jitsu called Tang Soo Do. His martial arts skills gave him the opportunity to work in the entertainment industry. He was tasked and assigned to teaching martial arts to celebrities for a while. Aside from being a trainer, he was offered roles in action films, including films like The Wrecking Crew and Way of the Dragon, where he worked with his friend Bruce Lee.
Tina Turner | Anna Mae Bullock
Anyone who hears the name Tina Turner will immediately be reminded of songs such as Rollin in The River and What’s Love Got to Do With it. We all know how amazing Tina is as a performer, but what many of us don’t know is that Tina Turner is not her real name. Her maiden name was Anna Mae Bullock; she got her surname Turner when she married her husband, Ike Turner.
Tina is known as The Queen of Rock ‘n’ Roll. She is an artist invested in expressing herself through performing and writing songs. Her excellent way of performing on stage, together with her memorable written songs, paved the way for her to succeed as a solo artist. Tina was recognized as one of the best-selling recording artists of all time; she also won 12 Grammy Awards, 3 Grammy Hall of Fame awards, and a Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award. She is, to her credit, a true legend in the music industry.
Bill Cosby | William Henry Cosby Jr.
Bill Cosby was born in a workers’ district in Philadelphia. During his acting career, every work was so successful, such as The Cosby Mysteries, Fat Albert, The Cosby Show. He was widely known for being a stand-up comedian. His real name was William Henry Cosby Jr. As a stand-up comedian, he performs in front of a live audience while interacting with them through a microphone.
His stand-up comedy career started in hungry i, a night club in San Francisco. The night club where Bill Cosby performs played a significant role in the history of stand-up comedy. Aside from his stand-up comedy career, Billy made investments of his time in acting. He had a role in the TV show Spy. He also starred in the TV sitcom, The Bill Cosby Show. Bill also created and produced an animated comedy TV series called Fat Albert and the Cosby Kids. It was inspired by Fat Albert, a character that he developed in his stand-up routines.
Tiger Woods | Eldrick Woods
Tiger woods was born on December 30, 1975. He is a Californian who grew up in the Los Angeles. Tiger Woods’ family had a good financial environment when he was young. Since his father loved sports, he often went to play golf. Tiger Woods has been playing with the vitality of a Tiger in his career, but what exactly is the story behind this name?
Woods was born Eldrick Woods to a father who served the army. One of his comrades, Vuong Dang Phone, was a Vietnamese soldier who was a very close friend to him during the war. His nickname was Tiger, and this was what they called him. Woods’s now late father gave him the name and ever since then, he has used it. Not only is the name interesting but it is also quite sentimental to the family. Even in his professional career, his credits go under the name Tiger Woods. He has dropped his given name Eldrick for the most part.
Sophia Loren | Sofia Villani Scicolone
Sophia Loren was born in Rome, Italy on September 20, 1934. Sophia Loren has a very Italian name, Sofia Villani Scicolone. Well, it is not surprising at all, knowing she is of Italian descent. She is the daughter of Romilda Villani and Riccardo Scicolone. In her autobiography, Yesterday, Today, Tomorrow: My Life, Sophia revealed she is of noble descent, so she has the right to be called the Marchioness of Licata Scicolone Murillo.
The 86-year-old actress is one of the most recognizable stars of Hollywood’s Golden Age. She also got credit for being American Film Institute’s 21st greatest female star of Classic Hollywood Cinema. Today, she is the only living actress who is also the highest-ranked living person on that list. Some of the notable films Sophia was involved in are The Pride and the Passion, Houseboat, and It Started in Naples.
Lil Wayne | Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr.
Lil Wayne grew up on a street full of violence and poverty. At the age of 8, Lil Wayne wrote his first rap song. Lil Wayne is another rapper who has topped the charts with his hit music multiple times. A star in the hip-hop scene, he was born Dwayne Michael Carter, Jr. on September 27, 1982, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
When he rose to fame, he decided to drop the “D” from Dwayne and go by just “Wayne” because he did not want to give credit to his father Dwayne Carter who had been separated from him for a long time. With this decision, he went by his undeniably cool moniker and achieved more and more success in his career. In fact, in the early 2000s, he became one of the top-selling artists of his time. Another nickname that was given to him as a popular singer was “Weezy”.
Jim Carrey | James Eugene Carrey
James Eugene Carrey was born in Toronto, Canada. James Eugene Carrey probably changed his name to Jim Carrey to make it easier to say and write. His life changed when he joined the entertainment industry in the late 1970s. He is now known as one of the best comedians in the world and is also known as an inveterate artist. He used his energetic slapstick performances as insurance for his rise to fame, and it was a success.
Jim conquered the big screen in the 1990s with his comical acts in the movies Ace Ventura: Pet Detective, The Mask, Dumb and Dumber, and Ace Ventura: When Nature Calls, among others. Jim Carrey also has many other representative works, such as Dumb and Dumber, The Mask, Ace Ventura: Pet Detective. His bold ideas and exaggerated acting atrracted more and more people. There is no doubt that Jim Carrey is one of the best comedian in Hollywood.
Sia | Sia Kate Isobelle Furler
Sia just goes by her first name as a singer but her full name is actually Sia Kate Isobelle Furler. She was born in Adelaide, Australia, on December 18, 1975. She is an Australian pop singer and songwriter, graduated from Adelaide High School. Her parents were both exposed to show business so it was almost expected that she, too, would follow in their footsteps. Her mother was an artist and her father was a musician.
Sia herself started performing in Adelaide with Crisp, her former band. She had a solo career back in the 90s but things went wrong when her then-boyfriend met with an accident and passed a week before she was supposed to fly in to be with him. Just this year, the degree to which the tables have changed for Sia just got stronger as she confirmed to have adopted two boys in May 2020.
Pink | Alecia Beth Moore
Pink Born in Pennsylvania on September 8, 1979. She is a singer, creator, and dancer. Singer Pink is known for her beautiful voice and her audacious personality. The performer was born with the name Alecia Beth Moore, a name that certainly does not sound like the rebellious and outspoken diva that we all know her to be. The singer’s stage name came from Quentin Tarantino’s film Reservoir Dogs. She took it from the character Mr. Pink who was played by Steve Buscemi.
When asked about the feedback she was getting from the controversial origin of her stage name, she said that it didn’t bother her. In fact, it was meant to be inappropriate. She said the story from which the nickname came from involved a fun night with her friends and her private parts. The anecdote she credits as the source of her stage name is actually pretty vulgar.
Tom Cruise | Thomas Cruise Mapother IV
Hollywood superstar Tom Cruise was born with the name Thomas Cruise Mapother IV on July 3, 1962, in Syracuse, New York. His mother was a special education teacher and his father and namesake was an electrical engineer. Cruise did not have a simple childhood. His family life was hard because his father was quite temperamental and his family moved a lot. In his 14 years as a student, Cruise was said to have attended a total of 15 schools.
All the while, however, he found a passion for acting and did it wherever he went. Eventually, he ended up in Hollywood after countless auditions and when he started getting film credits, he dropped his family name and started using his middle name instead. Tom Cruise is different from many actors and stars. His success depends on his continuous learning and hard training. Finally, with his spirit of perseverance and hard-working, he stepped toward success and glory.
Lana Del Rey | Elizabeth Woolridge Grant
Lana Del Rey was born in Manhattan, New York City, on June 21, 1985. She grew up in a small village on Lake Placid in the north of New York. Music icon Lana Del Rey is now a big name in the industry. But before she reached the heights of fame that she now enjoys, she used to go by the stage name Lizzy Grant. Her real name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, and her nickname Lizzy was what she used when she first started making music.
Unfortunately, her first album did not turn out well. Because of this, part of the investment planning strategy that she and her managers considered was a rebranding. They changed her name into “Lana Del Rey”. In one interview with Vogue, Del Rey said that her new stage name was inspired by the beaches of Miami. She said that her stage name embodied her music and brought to memory “the glamour of the seaside”.
Bruno Mars | Peter Gene Hernandez
Funky singer Bruno Mars has taken the world by storm with his music, dance moves, and overall outgoing personality. The Puerto Rican star was born with the name Peter Gene Hernandez. He said that he decided to do this because he did not want to be boxed into just making Latin and Spanish music.
If he had a Puerto Rican sounding name, people would be more likely to credit him to Puerto Rican music as well. He didn’t want that so he branched out to a cool stage name. His dad gave him the nickname “Bruno” when he was a toddler because he brought to mind Bruno Sammartino, his favorite wrestler. Adding “Mars” to his name made him feel out of this world. “I guess I’m from Mars,” he said.
Tom Hardy | Edward Thomas Hardy
Actor Tom Hardy was born Edward Thomas Hardy on September 15, 1977, in Hammersmith, London. His mother was a painter and his father was a novelist. Since he had been exposed to the arts and literature at such a young age, it did not come as a surprise that Hardy would be interested in drama. Hardy’ s primary and secondary schools are private schools. Although he and Robert Pattinson were in different classes, they were alumni of the same high school.
He attended Richmond Drama School and then Drama Centre London to train in acting. When he began to get acting jobs, he decided to use his middle name as a stage name. He shortened it, too, to make it easier to hear and say. Since then, his film credits mention the name Tom Hardy. He appeared in Inception, Band of Brothers, Black Hawk Down, and Star Trek: Nemesis.
Nicolas Cage | Nicolas Kim Coppola
Legendary actor Nicholas Cage was born on January 7, 1964. He is the nephew of Coppola, the director of Godfather. As a member of the Coppola family, he had a strong interest in acting and photography. Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Kim Coppola. It was a conscious decision not to bring his family name with him, though.
The first reason is that he had an unpleasant year of living with his popular uncle, Francis Ford Coppola — as well as his uncle’s family — when he was in the ninth grade. He did not want to be associated with his famous uncle at all. Another reason is that he wanted to make it out on his own. He wanted the public to judge him and his work based solely on what he is able to do and not for his famous uncle. He credits the surname “Cage” from the Marvel character Luke Cage and from the artist John Cage.
Christopher Walken | Ronald Walken
Actor Christopher Walken was born Ronald Walken in Astoria, Queens, New York. Born to immigrant parents, Walken was originally named after Ronald Colman, an actor who his parents were fond of. Walken’s name changed when he started working for Monique Van Vooren who started to call him Christopher for no reason. The pet name stuck and everyone started calling him the name, and he started getting known for it.
Although his close loved ones and friends still refer to him as “Ronnie,” Walken brought Christopher with him through his stardom. It followed that all his film credits refer to him as Christopher Walken. He appeared in movies like Me and My Brother, The Anderson Tapes, Sean Connery, Annie Hall, and The Deer Hunter. He is a great actor and an admirable figure in Hollywood. By the way, Christopher Walken is the only early 007 villain to win an Oscar for best actor.
Meryl Streep | Mary Louise Streep
Legendary award-winning actress Meryl Streep is a huge name in Hollywood. Before she reached the heights of fame and recognition that is now associated with her name, she was called Mary Louise Streep. “Mary” is apparently a tradition in the family of Streep’s mother. Her mother and grandmother had the same name. In the same way, Streep had to call her first daughter Mary as well to keep up with the family tradition.
She, however, has always been called Meryl at home to identify her from the other Marys. It followed that when she started pursuing her career in acting, she brought with her her nickname. From the early auditions to all her big-budget productions, all her film credits have become Meryl Streep. In 1975, Meryl Streep appeared in the stage show Trelawney’ s Stage and entered the performing arts field. Her acting career was very smooth and enviable.
Larry King | Lawrence Harvey Zeiger
Larry King’s first day on set saw an interesting development. Born Lawrence Harvey Zeiger, King’s initial plan was to be known as Larry Zeiger, but a few minutes away from going on air, his manager told him Zeiger was “too ethnic” and that it would be difficult to remember. He said they wouldn’t know how to spell it either.
He had to think of another name. Coincidentally, The Miami Herald was present there too and they were opening with an advertisement for King’s Wholesale Liquors. They both took the cue and from then on, he was known as Larry King. Who knew three minutes could change your identity forever? He had a lawyer change his name legally after a while. On December 16, 2010, Larry King officially left the screen.
Joaquin Phoenix | Joaquin Rafael Bottom / Leaf Phoenix
Award-winning actor Joaquin Phoenix was born Joaquin Rafael Bottom to John Lee and Arlyn Bottom. Phoenix was the third of five siblings. Their names were all in theme: River, Rain, Liberty, and Summer. During the early stage of his life, he and his family were part of the religious cult Children of God.
When they quit the sect, his parents changed their family name to “Phoenix” which symbolized a new beginning for them. As the actor grew up, he changed his name to “Leaf” because he wanted to be in theme with his siblings’ names. In the early part of his career as a child actor, he was known as Leaf Phoenix. When he turned 15, however, he decided to change his name back to Joaquin and his film credits have been Joaquin Phoenix since then.
Natalie Portman | Natalie Hershlag
Award-winning actress Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag in Jerusalem, Israel in 1981. Her father was a gynecologist and an Israeli national while her mother was an American citizen. Portman holds both an American and Israeli citizenship because of her parentage. When she was 11, she was found in a fast food restaurant and was invited to be a child model, but she refused.
Early on in her career, she decided not to use her real family name to protect her family’s privacy. We all know this could be a problem for big stars like her. She might have also invested in a state of the art home security system to make sure her family members residing both in Israel and in the United States are safe. She took her grandmother’s maiden name “Portman” instead for her stage name. The first time she used this name was on The Professional.
Mila Kunis | Milena Markovna Kunis
Actress Mila Kunis hails from Ukraine. She and her entire family moved to Los Angeles, California in 1991 when she was only 7 years old. She grew up in a Jewish family, one of the reasons her family moved to the United States was anti Semitism in the former Soviet Union. At 9 years old, Mila started attending acting classes after her father heard about them on the radio. She met her talent agent in those classes.
When she started getting acting roles, she shortened her full name from Milena Markovna Kunis to just Mila Kunis. She landed roles in Make a Wish, Molly, Days of Our Lives, 7th Heaven and Gia when she was young. She tried to get a degree in college too but after one semester, decided to drop out and pursue acting full-time. As she made this decision, her career went into full bloom.
L Jackson | Samuel Leroy Jackson
Legendary actor Samuel L. Jackson has been in the entertainment industry for a while now. He is, to a huge degree, known for so many memorable performances in Hollywood. He became such a household name that every time gets tied to a film, a huge audience gets drawn in. Have you ever wondered what the “L” in his name means? It actually means “Leroy”. In that case, his full name is Samuel Leroy Jackson.
In the first decade in New York, He wanted to play a movie but ran into difficulties everywhere. He had to make a living by putting on a TV play on a small screen. He has made appearances in popular films like Jungle Fever, Do the Right Thing, Django Unchained, and the slew of other films that form the Marvel Cinematic Universe. Back in 2011, he became the highest-grossing actor of all time because of his iconic role as Nick Fury in the Avengers films.
Kirk Douglas | Issur Danielovitch
Kirk Douglas did not make it straight into the entertainment industry. In fact, he had to take several jobs when he was still young to try and make ends meet. He had been a hotel waiter and freestyle wrestler since he was a child. Back then, he was willing to do almost anything just to pay the bills – even if it meant changing his name. In 1946, he made his first big screen appearance in the film The Strange Love of Martha Ivers. This was the beginning of his acting career.
In an interview with People, he said that the decision to change his name from Issur Danielovitch to Kirk Douglas came from the idea that his original name was not right for Hollywood at the time. Before he tried to pursue an entertainment career, he thought of the credits he would get and went by Kirk Douglas. Looking back, Douglas admits regretting changing his name though. He said keeping it would have made him more interesting.
Vin Diesel | Mark Sinclair Vincent
Vin Diesel is a great name for an action star — and we have to admit, it sounds cool, too. In 1999, he won a prize in Cannes Film Festival as an actor and was appreciated by Steven Spielberg, who invited him to perform in the war film Saving Private Ryan. Always starring as the big guy, Diesel surely created a stage name that became a brand unto itself. He was born Mark Sinclair Vincent.
Before he entered the entertainment world, he worked as a bouncer at a nightclub in New York. The nickname “Vin” came out when they started using it as a shortcut for his last name Vincent. The name stuck, and when he made it big in Hollywood, it was the name he used. “Diesel” was a name that his friends made for him because it seemed like he ran on electricity. He was always a guy with so much energy to spare!
Meg Ryan | Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra
In Hollywood, the silent film era actress Mary pinkford once enjoyed the reputation of “sweetheart”. By the end of the 20th century, Meg Ryan, who was also good at romantic comedy, has surpassed her predecessors in sweetness. Actress Meg Ryan was born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra to Roman Catholic parents. As a child, Ryan went to Bethel high school and when she graduated, she attended New York University to take a degree in Journalism.
She went into acting to pay for her school fees. After a while though, she dropped out and decided to pursue acting all the way. She changed her name along with this change of lifestyle. Meg is short for Margaret and “Ryan” was taken from her grandmother’s maiden name. Her first movie appearance was in the 1981 film Rich and Famous where she played the daughter of Candice Bergen. After that, she made her way to bigger movies and worked with Hollywood giants.
Reese Witherspoon | Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
Legally Blonde star Reese Witherspoon was born Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon. When she started acting, she dropped her first name and used her mother’s maiden name for her stage name. Witherspoon spent her childhood in Hollywood and was already exposed to show business at seven years old. Reese’ s career as an actress started very smoothly. At the age of 14, she starred in her first film The Man In The Moon.
Her career bloomed since then, and somewhere along the road, she actually hired a lawyer to legally change her name to her stage name. When she got married to her first husband Ryan Phillippe, they had a son to whom they also gave the name “Reese” as a middle name. The name must mean a lot to the star, as it was taken from her mother. The name, strangely enough, must have helped her succeed in the limelight.
Helen Mirren | Ilyena Lydia Mironoff
Actress Helen Mirren was born Ilyena Lydia Mironoff to an English mother and a Russian father. Her name change happened when her family got stuck in London during the Cold War. It was a case of home security back then. Her father decided to change her name so that she would not be treated questionably in the middle of the Russian Revolution. She brought this name with her even to Hollywood.
She started acting when she was attending high school at St. Bernard’s High School for Girls. From school productions, she found a career in the West End and then on Broadway. Because of her contributions to the field of drama, she was awarded the Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire. In her decades of professional acting career, she has created many characters for us. In 2020, she won the Berlin International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award.
Victoria Principal | Vicki Ree Principal
Vicki Ree Principal, who is more popularly known as Victoria Principal, rose to prominence for her role as Pamela Barnes Ewing on the hit TV series Dallas. Victoria Principal was born in Fukuoka, Japan on January 3, 1950. She was not only an actress but also a producer and voice actor. After spending several years on the show, she decided to leave in 1987. The 70-year-old star later was able to make significant investments, starting her own production company, Victoria Principal Productions.
Aside from this, she also invested in other things. She got interested in natural beauty therapies, creating her own line of skincare products, which she called Principal Secret. With her knowledge about beauty, skincare, fitness, wellbeing, and health, Victoria wrote three books in the 80s about these things and ultimately became a best-selling author. In 2001, she wrote a new book again, titled Living Principal.
50 Cent | Curtis James Jackson III
When we start talking about rap and rap culture, one name that will not disappear is 50 Cent. 50 Cent was born in Queens, New York, USA on July 6, 1975. He is an American rapper, entrepreneur, and investor. Born Curtis James Jackson III, 50 Cent chose his stage name from one of his idols as a child. The popular gangster personality from Brooklyn that he idolized as he was growing up had the name 50 Cent.
When his idol died, Curtis took his stage name and, to some degree, continued his legacy. He said that he wanted to pay tribute to the former 50 Cent by using his name in his career. However, his real name Curtis is still very much functional for the musician. He still uses his birth name for film credits and even named the album he released in 2007 “Curtis”.
Jay Leno | James Douglas Muir Leno
James Douglas Muir Leno was born in New Rochelle, New York, USA on April 28, 1950. He is more popularly known as Jay Leno, but did you know that the famed host’s real name is James Douglas Muir “Jay” Leno. Yes, it is quite long to say on TV, so he probably changed his name to make it simpler. Maybe he thought it would be hard to do stand-up comedy if he had to be introduced using his long name.
Aside from being a comedian, Jay is also known for his other great talents. He is an occasional actor, writer, producer, and former late-night TV host. Born in New Rochelle, New York, his mom, Catherine Muir, was a homemaker, while his father, Angelina Leno, was an insurance salesman. He had a modest start and worked hard to be where he is today – he is, indeed, one of the most famous personalities in Hollywood.
Jamie Foxx | Eric Marlon Bishop
Jamie Foxx was born in Terrell, Texas, USA on December 13, 1967. Before making it big in the industry, our favorite celebrities had their fair share of rejections. Actor Jamie Foxx went through this exact problem. When he was starting out in stand-up comedy, he brought with him his birth name Eric Marlon Bishop. He realized, though, that more often than not, comedy clubs would give more opportunities to women comedians than men.
Because of this, he decided to go for an androgynous stage name. This way, the clubs wouldn’t be too sure if he was male or female when they saw his name on the list. Eventually, he made it big, thanks to his smart plan. Because he was given more opportunities to show off his talent, he eventually made his way to dozens of impressive film credits.
Céline Dion | Céline Marie Claudette Dion
She is known all over the world as Celine Dion, but the iconic singer’s real name is Céline Marie Claudette Dion. As a member of a musically-inclined family, the 52-year-old star got her name from the song, Céline. Celine Dion first major performance was at the tender age of 5, during the wedding of her brother, Michel. Celine then continued performing with her siblings at her parents’ small piano bar.
It then became her lifelong dream to be a singer. With all the hard work she’s put toward building a career, gone are the days she would perform in a small bar while worrying about her family’s mortgage. Now, Celine Dion is known as the Queen of Adult Contemporary because she was able to conquer the worldwide music scene. Celine has been dropping hit after hit ever since.
Billy Dee Williams | William December Williams, Jr
If you are a Star Wars fan, then you probably know the actor who portrays the character of Lando Calrissian. It is of course none other than Billy Dee Williams. Billy is an actor, a voice actor, and an artist. His real name was William December Williams, Jr. Before becoming an actor, he invested in performing at an early age. His debut was at the age of 7, in the production of Firebrand of Florence at the Broadway theatre.
Billy is also, to a huge degree, artistically inclined; he has a passion for painting that he even won a scholarship through one of his artworks. Since the materials for painting were costly, Billy returned to acting to earn money to fund his art supplies. He had his film debut in The Last Angry Man, and since then, he has been working as an actor in different films to fund his passion for the art.
Snoop Dogg | Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr.
Snoop Dogg, born on October 20, 1971 in Long Beach California, USA. He is undeniably one of the most famous names in the world of hip-hop. His gangster music and his laid back personality have made him quite the character. As you might have guessed, Snoop’s stage name isn’t his birth name. He was born Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. and he was fondly called Calvin when he was younger.
As a child, his favorite cartoon was Peanuts and Charlie Brown and because he watched the show so often, his mother began telling him that he looked like his favorite character, Snoopy. The adorable story became the reason the rapper started going by his famous name today. After he made it big as a musician, all his songs, film, and TV credits have consistently referred to him as “Snoop Dogg”.
Connie Stevens | Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia
Connie Stevens was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA on August 8, 1938 . She was born with the name of Concetta Rosalie Ann Ingoglia. Besides being an actress, she is also a director, screenwriter, producer, cinematographer, editor, and singer. Connie became famous for her role as Cricket Blake in the television series Hawaiian Eye. On the other hand, her first widely recognized role in a film was in Young and Dangerous.
Her acting career investments were seen when she also appeared in Eighteen and Anxious, The Bob Cummings Show, and Dragstrip Riot. Since she is also a singer, she released her first album, Concetta. Her singles became moderately big hits, and these include the singles Blame It on My Youth, Looking for a Boy, and Spring is Here. Of course, these songs were made possible by songwriters and composers who worked with her.
Joy Reid | Joy-Ann M. Lomena
Joy Reid was born in Brooklyn, New York, USA on December 8, 1968. Her real name is Joy-Ann Lomena, but she is known professionally as Joy Reid. The 51-year-old personality made a name for herself as a TV host, MSNBC national correspondent, and political commentator. She is not afraid to ask things, especially if it has something to do with politics.
In fact, she gets credit for being one of the political pundits who have been at the forefront of conversations about the election season. Aside from hosting, Joy also has a talent for writing. She wrote the book Fracture: Barack Obama, the Clintons, and the Racial Divide. Joy is also the host of the MSNBC morning show AM Joy. Born in Brooklyn, New York, she worked hard to finish her studies at the prestigious Harvard University with a focus on film.
Susan Boyle | Susan Magdalene Boyle
Susan Boyle, or Susan Magdalene Boyle in real life, stunned everyone with her remarkable voice. Nobody was expecting that golden voice to come out of her body. She wowed not just the audience but also the TV viewers of Britain’s Got Talent back in the day when she sang her own rendition of I Dreamed a Dream from Les Misérables. Her talent deserves the attention of the whole world.
Susan probably inherited her father’s talent, Patrick Boyle, who was also a great singer at the Bishop’s Blaize. She has a studio album to her name, released in November 2009. It then became UK’s best-selling debut album of all time, beating the record held by the industry veteran, Leona Lewis. It didn’t only top the charts but also received credit for setting a new record for the biggest first-week sales by a debut album.
Floyd Mayweather | Floyd Joy Sinclair
One of the most popular boxers in the world today is Floyd Mayweather. He was born into a family of boxers and because of his lineage, he was also drawn to the world of the sport. Mayweather was born with the name Floyd Joy Sinclair on February 24, 1977, in Grand Rapids, Michigans. Though he grew up a Sinclair, he decided to change his name to Floyd Mayweather on September 21, 1989, after his own father Floyd Mayweather, Sr.
Just like his predecessors, he became one of the most talented players in the boxing arena. His bloodline along with his own hard work and discipline helped get to where he is today. In addition, he also received a high payment for the efforts he has made. With the fortune that he has earned, he has surely made investments to his name as well.
Lee Majors | Harvey Lee Yeary
TV, film, and voice actor, Lee Majors, was born with the name Harvey Lee Yeary on April 23, 1939, in Wyandotte, Michigan. He once studied football at Indiana University and then transferred to Eastern Kentucky State College. Now known to the world as a great talent, Majors appeared in several big productions like The Fall Guy, The Six Million Dollar Man, and Scrooged. Before this success though, he had a little difficulty with his name.
Majors had actually gone through his first few years in the entertainment industry using his birth name. However, a lot of people mispronounced or had difficulty saying his surname Yeary. Because of this, he made the decision to just change the name. With the help of a lawyer, his surname was changed to Majors, and his wife Faith Majors even carries his new family name now.
J. Simpson | Orenthal James Simpson
Football star O.J. Simpson has become one of the biggest names in the sports world. Born as Orenthal James Simpson on July 9, 1947, in San Francisco, California, O.J. began earning the nickname “Juice” when he started playing professionally because he was likened to electricity — the way he played on the field was so energetic. His speed was also quite notable. O.J. Simpson was known as the best running back in the history of professional football.
Because of his performance, he was the top choice of the AFL Buffalo Bills during the 1969 draft. On top of this, his real name’s initials were O.J. – or orange juice. The name stuck until he earned huge success in his career. Though he doesn’t go by his lengthier real name, it isn’t completely lost because his nickname still stands for his given name.
Woody Allen | Allen Konigsberg
Big celebrity Woody Allen sure has a catchy name, but just like most catchy names, it isn’t his birth name. He was born Allen Konigsberg on December 1, 1935, in the Bronx. He grew up in Brooklyn with his family. He always had a flair for comedy, which is why he decided to write jokes and sell them to newspaper columns. He was only 17 when he legally changed his name to Heywood Allen.
He began introducing himself as Woody and it stuck. Soon, bigger clients took notice of his work. He was eventually known as Woody Allen. He tried to get a degree in film at New York University but eventually quit college to pursue a career in writing comedy. Now, Woody Allen has become a very famous director and has created many beloved works. Moreover, he has also become one of the most respected directors living in the United States.
Metta World Peace | Ron Artest Jr.
Metta World Peace was born in Queens, New York, USA on November 13, 1979. Metta World Peace is an NBA star whose name will seem utterly strange to anyone who hears it — but, it obviously isn’t his birth name. He was named after his father, Ron Artest, Sr. Given this, his real birth name is actually Ron Artest, Jr.
Though he was named such to carry his father’s legacy, he did not think that it would spark the degree of interest it did to the rest of the world. This is the reason why he changed it up and went for the more fascinating Metta World Peace. Metta World Peace wanted to promote love, friendship, and kindness in the world. His name says it all, and he tries his hardest to embody all the values of his name.
Elton John | Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Elton John was born in Pinna, England on March 25, 1947. As a legendary music icon, Elton John created his stage name himself. Like a proper Englishman, his given name was Reginald Kenneth Dwight. He did not go by this name when he rose to fame though. Inspired by The Beatles member John Lennon and one of his own former bandmates, he coined the name, Elton John. He used to be in a band.
Elton John said that was the time when he realized he really wanted to become a singer and that he wanted to choose his own name. He named himself “Elton” after the saxophone player in his band. “John” was taken after he saw the famous Beatles musician’s photo on the wall of one of the investment planning meetings he was attending for his record label.
Albert Pujols | Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara
Baseball star Albert Pujols became famous because he’s such a great baseball player. Garnering a lot of positive feedback from his teammates and spectators because of his incredible home runs, his name earned a reputation in the sport of baseball. Born Jose Alberto Pujols Alcantara, the athlete shortened his name when he became a professional player.
He dropped the “Jose” and the “Alcantara” in his full name and dropped the “o” in “Alberto,” making his first name easier to say and hear on the world stage. Going by “Albert,” the Western version of his name made it easier for him to become more recognized. The name change is also an investment he made that he’s hoping will help him make it to the Hall of Fame one day.
Osi Umenyiora | Ositadimma Umenyiora
One problem with having a name that is either too long or too difficult to pronounce is that sometimes people just don’t bother saying it anymore. As we all know, that would not be good for the opportunities that come along. That’s why athlete Osi Umenyiora decided to compromise and shorten his full name, which was originally Ositadimma Umenyiora.
Now known as “Osi,” the defensive of the Atlanta Falcons made his name short, sweet, and definitely recognizable. The decision to go by the first three letters of his first name was more of a practical choice and we all think it would help both him and the people who address him. Not only will he be more approachable, but he will still, at least, retain his real name, somehow. We wonder how his credit cards look with his full name embossed.
CC Sabathia | Carsten Charles Sabathia
C.C. Sabathia was born in Vallejo, California, USA on July 20, 1980. C.C. Sabathia, just like Metta World Peace, was named after his father. C.C. Sabathia is a Major League Baseball player who has played for the Cleveland Indians, Milwaukee Brewers, and New York Yankees. We all know older generations love for their children to keep their legacy and name for as long as they can. C.C. stands for Carsten Charles, the same name he shares with his dad.
His father should be really proud of his son because not only did he give honor to the family, but specifically to his name as well. Sabathia has been a recipient of the 2007 Cy Young Award. Being one of the best lefty pitchers in the field, he has surely earned the recognition. Every time he gets credit, his father can say that he gets a small part of the credit as well.
Bubba Watson | Gerry Lester Watson Jr.
Golf star Bubba Watson is a powerhouse on the field. He has earned recognition for his superb performance in each tournament. Bubba Watson was born in Baghdad, Florida, U.S. on November 5, 1978. Though he is widely known by the adorable name “Bubba”, most people don’t know that his real name is actually Gerry Lester Watson, Jr. Named after his father, Watson earned the nickname “Bubba” because when he was a baby he was quite the chubby cutie.
The pet name stuck and Bubba Watson decided to use it in his professional career. It did him well, too, because the distinctive nickname makes him a more interesting public figure. This move was probably approved by his publicist and financial advisers, too. It was expected to bring him more opportunities and make his reputation pop. There is no doubt that name changing makes a difference in his life.
Doc Rivers | Glenn River
Doc Rivers was born in Chicago, Illinois, U.S. on October 13, 1961. For thirteen years, Doc Rivers seemed to be running on both muscle power and electricity inside the NBA court. He wasn’t the most famous player, but he certainly could hang out with the best from a skill perspective. He won not just countless games but also millions of hearts around the globe.
After his very promising career, he decided to retire from being a player and transition to being a coach. Rivers coached the Boston Celtics and the L.A. Clippers. Though “Doc” is iconic, his real first name is actually Glenn Rivers. Compared to his great name, Glenn doesn’t pop as much. This is probably part of the reason why he decided to go for the more influential one-syllable label. Admit it, “Doc Rivers on the court” sounds super cool.
Bo Jackson | Vincent Edward Jackson
Bo Jackson was born in Bessemer, Alabama, U.S. on November 30, 1962. Bo Jackson was given credit for being the first-ever athlete to play in the all-star games of two major sports. A king in both football and baseball, Jackson became a sensation in the sports community. A mantra was even created for him that says “Bo Knows”.
His first name may be only two letters but it definitely made the catchphrase work. What most of his fans probably aren’t aware of is that his real name is actually Vincent Edward Jackson. We know, “Vincent Edward Knows” does not spark the same fire. When he was very young, he was given the nickname “Bo” because his energy was like that of a wild boar’s. Clearly, he took both the vigor and the nickname to his professional career.
Magic Johnson | Earvin Johnson
One of the biggest sports personalities in the world is Magic Johnson. With at least two decades of experience in both the sports and entertainment industry, he has earned not only a fan club composed of millions but also a bank account that has quite the sizable amount. Magic Johnson was born in Lansing, Michigan, U.S. on August 14, 1959 and he was a NBA professional basketball player.
Magic Johnson’s career surely sparks Magic as he has not only made it big in his respective field but has also become successful in changing people’s lives. He helped out with the HIV/AIDS movement and raised a big sum. He is also an entrepreneur who is quite successful, with several successful business ventures he was able to make early investments in. He’s Magic all around, but before all his achievements, he went by his given name Earvin.
E.L. James | Erika Leonard
E.L. James was born in Walesdon, London, UK on March 7, 1963. The controversial and raunchy novel series Fifty Shades of Grey was written under the pen name E.L. James. James is actually a British writer named Erika Leonard. Her early writing years started when she wrote a fanfiction of the Twilight series under the pen name Snowqueens Icedragon. There, earlier drafts of Fifty Shades of Grey entitled Master of the Universe were published online.
When she gained a following, she made an investment in the book and completed it for publication. When she started doing novels, she created a more formal pen name and used E.L. James. Using her initials and her family name created a pseudonym that differentiated her sexy romantic writer side from her gentle housewife side that was her everyday life. Anyway, a pen name is very important to a writer.
Colt McCoy | Daniel McCoy
Colt McCoy was born in Hobbs, New Mexico, U.S. on September 5, 1986 and he was born with the name Daniel McCoy. He was taking a degree at the University of Texas while he was also playing American football. From then on, he became a professional player because he impressed a lot of people with his skills. He is currently the backup quarterback of the Washington Redskins.
McCoy changed his name and is now known as “Colt” which is actually his middle name. When he rose to fame he decided he wanted to be called by his second name and not his first. He hasn’t exactly shared with the public why he has an affinity for the name though. We all have our preferences, and we think his stage name definitely sounds like an athlete’s name.
Pele | Edson Arantes do Nascimento
Pele is arguably one of the greatest soccer players of his time. He was always great on the field and his list of accomplishments clearly explains why he has so many fans. His name “Pele” is obviously not his birth name. His birth name is Edson Arantes do Nascimento – way longer than his four-letter appellation. The name “Pele” was given by a bully when he was in grade school. He didn’t like being mocked and even punched the classmate.
Eventually, he decided that he liked the name and brought it with him to his professional career. It gave him quite the reputation and it certainly is a lot easier to remember than his lengthy real name. The degree to which fate works is amazing. Some things are just blessings in disguise. So,learn to accept everything that life gives.
Halsey | Ashley Nicolette Frangipane
Music icon Halsey has been garnering a big following ever since her debut as a singer. She was born in Edison, New Jersey, U.S. on September 29, 1994. Other than her chart-topping hits, another fun and quirky detail about her that made fans fall in love again is her name. The one-word credit “Halsey” is actually an anagram of her real name.
Her full name is Ashley Nicolette Frangipane, but in an interview with Rolling Stone, she said that she didn’t like the name because she didn’t like the person that she was when she was called by it. When she saw the street name Halsey Street in Brooklyn, she realized that it was basically “Ashley” with the letters rearranged. She fell in love with it and decided to go by it, along with a step-up in her personality.
Richard Bachman | Stephen King
Stephen King is an American best-selling author. He has written scripts, column comments, and once served as a film director, producer and actor. For a while back, popular novelist Stephen King did not use his real name for his first publications. He went with the pen name Richard Bachman. He was placed on the spot and asked to come up with a name when he was on the phone with his publisher.
Coincidentally, a book by Richard Stark was on his table and a song by Bachman-Turner Overdrive was playing. He combined the names and made money from the new alias. He used this pen name until someone discovered that Richard Bachman and Stephen King were one and the same. When he blew his cover, he decided to just go with his real name. All his investments and masterpieces are now under the name Stephen King.
Common | Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr.
Rapper Common was clearly not born with this name. He was named Lonnie Rashid Lynn, Jr. after his father Lonnie Lynn. Growing up, Common had two loves: rap and basketball. He worked as a ball boy for the Chicago Bulls for one season when he was a teenager. His passion for hip-hop sparked when he went to Cincinnati to visit a relative. Upon returning home from the trip, he immersed himself in rap songs and breakdancing.
When he started recording music, he used the stage name “Common Sense” but dropped the “Sense” in 1994 because of a name conflict with another group of musicians. After working with a lawyer, he settled with just “Common” and still uses the name to this day. His name is Common, but his life is not common. His album Resurrection has acquired a huge success in the underground hip-hop world.
Anne Rice | Howard Allen Frances O’Brien
Well-known author Anne Rice had a case of bullying when she was younger. Since she was named after her father, her real name Howard Allen Frances O’Brien might sound a little too male for a young girl like her. Because of this, she took the initiative to change her first name and introduce herself as “Anne” on the first day of school so that she would not have to go through the usual name-calling.
She brought the nickname with her until she grew up and finally made a career out of writing novels. “Rice” came from her late husband’s surname which she took after marrying him. She went by “Anne Rice” in most of her creations. Other than these books, she also made investments in publishing under pen names A.N. Roquelaure and Anne Rampling.
Ludacris | Christopher Brian Bridges
Ludacris is one of the most famous rappers in today’s generation. As one would expect, “Ludacris” is not his birth name – because who would name their son “Ludacris,” after all. He was born Christopher Brian Bridges and the “Chris” in his given name is still seen in his stage name. When asked about why he chose “Ludacris” as his moniker, he explained that he created the name to represent the two facets of his personality.
He described himself as crazy and wild on one side and calm, laidback, and cool about everything on the other. He believes the nickname labels him as a person properly. Before he was known as Ludacris, he used to go by the credit “Chris Luva Luva” in the early stage of his hip-hop career.
Tina Fey | Elizabeth Stamatina Fey
Tina Fey has been making people laugh through both her writing and acting for ages. The 30 Rock star caught attention when she played Liz Lemon in the popular TV series. However, what most people don’t know about her is that she and Liz actually share a name. Born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey, our beloved star dropped a few parts of her real name to bring into her stage name.
“Tina” is actually a shortened version of her middle name Stamatina. It was a good call, for sure, because her stage name rings a bell and is a lot easier to say and remember. A lot of her credit cards probably still have her real name but the short version is what the public knows her for. Saturday Night Live may be one of the reasons you know her.
Swizz Beatz | Kasseem Dean
Swizz Beatz has been a star in the hip-hop scene since he was just 16 years old. He was born Kasseem Dean but chose to go by his stage name when he raps or deejays. Though he hasn’t shared with the public the reasons why he chose this particular moniker for his stage name, it still remains a cool label for his performances – though he does not use it for his songwriting pursuits.
Because of this, it is safe to presume that all of his investments are still written under his real name. Imagine if his land titles and all his important documents are signed with his rapper’s name on it. It would definitely be a cool thing to see but eyebrows would rise at the sight. But in the hip-hop scene, Swizz Beatz will undoubtedly be remembered by more people.
Stevie Wonder | Stevland Hardaway Judkins
The musical legend Stevie Wonder was born as Stevland Hardaway Judkins on May 13, 1950, in Saginaw, Michigan. When he started to rise in stardom, record executive Berry Gordy introduced him to the world as “Little Stevie Wonder”. The name stuck, as did his music in people’s ears. His success grew and grew, and when he released the number 1 song Uptight (Everything’s Alright).
He dropped the “Little” in his name. Soon, the audience grew with him. He won 25 Grammy Awards over the years and had more than 30 songs that made it to the Top 10. With more than 100 million albums sold around the globe, financial advisors had to be brought on board to deal with his assets. Although he was blind, he, like Beethoven, became one of the most successful musicians.
Faith Hill | Audrey Faith Perry
Singer and musician Faith Hill started out singing in church choirs back when she was just a child. Of course, this was how she was first recognized. She found her passion early on and made an investment in it until she gained success. Her given name was Audrey Faith Perry. She decided to use her middle name as her stage name. “Hill” was taken from her first husband Daniel Hill’s name.
When she rose to fame, she took it with her to the stage. Now, the Grammy Award recipient is married to another music icon, Tim McGraw, and their love story and musical collaborations have attracted more fans. The pair is blessed with three daughters — Maggie Elizabeth, Gracie Katherine, and Audrey Caroline (after Faith’s real first name). There is no doubt that she is a successful country artist.
Whoopi Goldberg | Caryn Elaine Johnson
Whoopi Goldberg is now an iconic name to us. The comedian, actress, and talk-show host has impressed a lot of audiences over the years. She was born Caryn Elaine Johnson – something pretty far from the moniker she’s now more popularly known for. If you are curious about how she got her distinctive stage name, however, let us tell you a funny story. Many people laugh when they hear this story.
According to Goldberg, she was named after a whoopee cushion because she had a problem with gas. In an interview with New York Times, she admitted that during a performance, you don’t always get the chance to head to the bathroom so if you need to fart, you just have to do it. The name stuck, so it journeyed with her all throughout her hugely successful career.
Julianne Moore | Julie Anne Smith
Actress Julianne Moore expressed to The New York Times in 2001 that, to a huge degree, she loved her real name and that she did not want to change it. She was born Julie Anne Smith, but when she started acting, she said it was a name too common to be noticed. She decided to have a stage name but did not want to hurt anyone in the process of choosing one.
She said that her chosen name was taken from her parents’ names. Her mother’s name is Anne and her father’s middle name is Moore. She combined “Julie” and “Anne” together and took “Moore” for a surname to avoid any ill feelings from the people around her. She thought it was “horrible” to change her name but still went on and did it anyway.
Téa Leoni | Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni
Actress Téa Leoni was born Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni on February 25, 1966, in New York City. Her father was a lawyer and her mother was a nutritionist and a dietitian. If we don’t understand her culture, we may be very puzzled. She came from a combination of a lot of nationalities, including Italian, English, Polish, Irish, Scottish and German. This also meant that she had to follow a lot of traditions. One of these is that they use their middle names as their first names.
This is the reason why she is known as Téa (which is pronounced as Tay-yuh) and not Elizabeth. When she had her children, she followed the practice as well. West and Miller are her kids’ middle names. “Leoni” is a shortened version of her actual family name Pantaleoni. Maybe it’s not complicated for them.
Fergie | Stacy Ann Ferguson
Black Eyed Peas member Fergie was born as Stacy Ann Ferguson. When she rose to fame as a singer and a rapper, she created a stage name that came from her real surname “Ferguson”. Since this was the name that made her successful, she decided to bring her stage name with her forever. When she made this decision, she was already married to actor Josh Duhamel for more than four years.
Because of this, she hired an attorney to help her change her name legally into “Fergie Duhamel”. She said that she should go by this name because it is how she is known both in her career and in her personal life. She filed this request to the Los Angeles County Superior Court. With the short name Fergie, she has been remembered by more people. Now she works in the fashion industry.
Aloe Blacc | Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III
Hip-hop star Aloe Blacc was born with the dashing name Egbert Nathaniel Dawkins III in Orange County, California in 1979. His father was a military man who was very clever. Blacc described him as a “strategy guy.” He probably got his brains from his father, too, as he was always good in school. In fact, he got a scholarship to attend the University of Southern California. He took a degree in communications and linguistic psychology.
Early in his hip-hop career, he formed the twosome called Emanon. He very slowly rose up to fame and finally, while in his 30s, began to top the charts. He chose the name “Aloe” for his stage name because he described his singing style as “smooth like lotion”. In fact, not only his singing style, his career has been very smooth.
Olivia Wilde | Olivia Jane Cockburn
Director Olivia Wilde took her talents from a lineage of talented people. Her family was made up of journalists and they used pen names in their writing. Because of this practice, it was just something expected of her to do as well. Born Olivia Jane Cockburn, she was advised by her mom to choose a name that would inspire her. Her family thought a screen name would help her build her own identity to a certain degree as well.
She chose Oscar Wilde as an inspiration. She thought that he was someone highly respected for the many contributions he had. She loved that he was not only innovative and clever but also humorous. She said it came as a surprise when people found her name sexy. Many people say it’s a bold move to use Wilde as her name. After all, no one had done that before.
Tim McGraw | Samuel Timothy McGraw
Grammy-winner Tim McGraw was born with the name Samuel Timothy McGraw. He took his middle name and shortened it for his stage name “Tim”. McGraw is a big name in country music. He has sold more than 40 million albums worldwide and eleven of his albums reached the top spot on the Billboard country charts.
21 of his songs also topped the charts. He is married to Faith Hill, also a country superstar, and together they have created music together that — again — topped the charts. Before he reached this degree of success, McGraw faced a fatherless childhood. He did not know who his father was until he found his birth certificate and realized that his childhood idol, baseball player Tug McGraw, was his biological father. After his success, the truth will not trouble him any more.
Portia de Rossi | Amanda Lee Rogers
Australian actress Portia de Rossi changed her name herself when she was a teenager. Born Amanda Lee Rogers, she was struggling with her gender identity and found that a name change would be an opportunity for her to find herself. She said that the first name “Portia” was inspired by a character from Shakespeare’s play The Merchant of Venice. She chose “de Rossi,” an Italian surname because she felt that it sounded exotic and sophisticated.
Coming from Australia, she felt that Europe was so far away. It almost felt like a dream because she thought of it as a refined, classy, and fashionable place. The personal initiative made her ask the help of a lawyer to legally change her name at only 15 years old. After she married Ellen Lee DeGeneres, they became a couple that everyone loved.
Shania Twain | Eilleen Regina Edwards
Music icon Shania Twain was born Eilleen Regina Edwards in Windsor, Ontario, Canada, in 1965. When she turned six, her mother married her step-father Jerry Twain, an Ojibwa native. She legally changed her surname to Twain when this occurred. In 1993, she was taken as a talent by Mercury Nashville Records. She then chose the stage name “Shania.” Her unique first name is pronounced as “Shu-nye-ah” and means “I’m on my way’ in Ojibwe.
The name also brings with it the hardships she’s been through especially when her parents died in an accident. With this name change, her career skyrocketed. Though her first album was not as successful, her second one had record-breaking sales. From this success, she was able to make investments for herself and her family. Her life will get better and better.
Michael Keaton | Michael John Douglas
Actor Michael Keaton was actually born Michael John Douglas. Does that ring a bell? There is already another actor named Michael Douglas and on top of that, there is also a TV host named Mike Douglas. When Michael Keaton started out in the entertainment industry, it was clear to him that he cannot keep his real name because he would be confused with either of the two.
With this predicament in mind, he brainstormed and ended up inspired by the comedian Buster Keaton. Since he liked his work, he took his family name and made his stage name Michael Keaton. Now his film credits are undeniably his and we all know who exactly Michael Keaton is. This way, his identity is his own. Now, we all know his name is Michael Keaton, while most people don’t know his real name.
The Weeknd | Abel Makkonen Tesfaye
The Weeknd has been successful in his music career for the past few years. His name is clearly not his given name. He was born Abel Makkonen Tesfaye, after his father. Though his father left him when he was just a toddler, he still had to bring his name. The music icon said that he did not like his name and did not think about using it when he eventually made it big.
He dropped out of school and left home one rebellious weekend, and since it was a memorable experience, he named himself “The Weekend”. Eventually, because lawyers advised him against copyright issues, he had to drop one “e” because another band was named the same. He settled for “The Weeknd”. Now he’s 30 years old and has achieved great success.
Michael Caine | Maurice Joseph Micklewhite
Born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite, Michael Caine was just like any other child growing up. He had people to look up to, often inside the small screen. When his career hit it big, he decided to have a stage name. Inspired by the film The Caine Mutiny, he chose “Caine” for his name. He shared in one interview with New York Magazine that he specifically liked the character of Humphrey Bogart and thought of him as his hero.
He said that since a lot of the people who had to deal with mortgages – working-class people – were often portrayed as antagonists of the stories, there weren’t many people to relate to on-screen. When Bogart appeared he couldn’t get over it. In his decades of career, he has starred in more than 100 films. His achievements are obvious.
Ben Kingsley | Krishna Pandit Bhanji
Actor Ben Kingsley was born Krishna Pandit Bhanji. In one interview with Inside the Actors Studio, Kingsley said that the reason he had to change his name was that he was afraid that having a name too foreign would give his career a negative impact. In order to make his stage name, he took his father’s and grandfather’s nicknames to show them his love and admiration. He said that Ben was the nickname of his father and that Kingsley was the nickname of his grandfather, King Clove.
Because he used his stage name instead of his real name in his career, the degree to which opportunities came and his reputation grew increased so much as it was easier to say and remember. He has been an actor for decades. He won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role as Gandhi in the first film Gandhi. Maybe that’s the good luck his name brings him.
Jodie Foster | Alicia Christian Foster
Jodie Foster has become a household name in the film industry. The marvelous and stunning actress has impressed the public not only with her beauty and talent but also with her intelligence. Before she became known as Jodie Foster, however, her birth name was actually Alicia Christian Foster. Her brother Buddy wrote a book entitled Foster Child: A Biography of Jodie Foster, and in it, he said how she might have come up with her stage name “Jodie.”
He said that it was most likely from their mother’s partner Josephina Dominguez, who raised her with her mother. “Jodie” came from “Jo D,” a shortcut or nickname of her aunt. The degree of impact she made on Foster’s life might have been a lot considering she chose her for her stage name’s inspiration.
Charlie Sheen / Martin Sheen | Carlos Irwin Estevez / Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez
Actors Martin and Charlie Sheen are a father and son duo who have both opted to change their names for the cameras. Raised by parents who were both immigrants from Ireland and Spain, Martin Sheen was born with the name Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez. He wanted to use a more American name when he started entering the industry.
He took his stage name from Robert Dale Martin, a casting director at CBS who helped him make it big in Hollywood, and from Fulton Sheen, a televangelist who admired him as an actor. His son Carlos Irwin decided to follow in his footsteps. He did not only become an actor as well but also took on a stage name. He carried his father’s surname “Sheen” of course and became Charlie Sheen. However, he took it a degree further and had his name legally changed.
Bono | Paul David Hewson
Musical icon U2’s lead vocalist Bono has had his fair share of fortune and fame from the band’s success. However, before he became known as one of the greatest names in music history, he went by the name Paul David Hewson. When he started pursuing music seriously, he decided to go by Bono, short for the nickname “Bono Vox” which is Latin for “good voice.” This was given to him by one of his close friends, Gavin Friday.
The name stuck and since the moniker rang true to his passion and profession, he brought it with him to stardom. His wife still carries his real surname Hewson, though, so his credit cards and important documents might still be in his real name. The name Bono brought him great success, and maybe it will continue to be used in the future.
Seuss | Theodor Seuss Geisel
Dr. Seuss has always been quite a mystery. All of his writing is quite entertaining due to its whimsical play of words, wholesome thoughts, and fun, iconic graphics. Dr. Seuss was actually born with the name Theodor Seuss Geisel. “Seuss” was his middle name so he took it as a pen name. He added the “Dr.” to it because his father’s dream for him was to become a medical doctor one day.
Since he had different plans for himself, he did this as a compromise. Some say that Dr. Seuss was planning to write a masterpiece that was going to be his greatest work ever. This was going to be the only novel he was going to publish where he planned to credit his real name. This will probably remain a mystery as well.
Mark Twain | Samuel Clemens
Author Mark Twain was born Samuel Clemens. Mark Twain is so famous that many people think it is his real name.The popular writer also used a pen name in publishing his great works but he never really explained why he chose the name that he used. According to some researchers, however, the name Mark Twain came from a famous comedy journal that Clemens was fond of reading.
Some other researchers speculate that it came from Clemens’ job at the Mississippi River. “Mark Twain” was called out by the person in charge of assessing the depth of the river if it was at least twelve feet. This meant that it was a safe depth for the riverboat to travel. To avoid any hull or roof repair if the water was too shallow, it was an essential step.
Maya Angelou | Marguerite Annie Johnson
Maya Angelou is an award-winning personality in the field of literature and activism. She was born Marguerite Annie Johnson but her nickname had always been Maya. She decided to bring along the name Maya to her career as it was comfortable and familiar to her. When she married Tosh Angelos, a Greek sailor, she took his family name as well. When they hired a divorce lawyer, however, she decided to create a variation out of her ex-husband’s family name.
She came up with Maya Angelou. She has used this name in all her publications and engagements. It is what she brought with her throughout her journey as a writer and even when she started actively fighting for human rights and the advocacies she believed in. Her writing career has been more than 50 years. But her most famous works are autobiographies of her childhood
Bell Hooks | Gloria Jean Watkins
One of the biggest names in feminism is bell hooks. Born Gloria Jean Watkins, hooks took her chosen pen name from her great grandmother from her mother’s side. Her name was Bell Blair Hooks and she was the inspiration and role model of the famed writer. She admired her for never being afraid to say what was on her mind. In one of her books, bell hooks explained why she intentionally never capitalizes her pen name.
She made this literary decision because she wanted readers to focus on what she writes and not on who she was. Her entire personality was full of electricity as she was dubbed as the “woman that talked back.” She worked towards exposing injustices and fighting for women’s rights and gender equality. Her works have become the spiritual pillar of women.
Lemony Snicket | Daniel Handler
Lemony Snicket has made an investment in using mystery for his public character. Born Daniel Handler, Snicket used a pen name for his best-selling novels A Series of Unfortunate Events. He is also the narrator in his stories. He would go as far as introducing himself as someone Snicket sent to engagements and public appearances because the mysterious storyteller himself could not make it to the event because some unfortunate event had happened.
Keeping up with the act, he has sold millions of copies of his books and they have also been turned into films and TV series. Teenagers and even young adults worldwide absolutely love his mystery series. The entire persona he has built around this character also helps his gimmick. But until now, few people know his real name. But until now, few people know his real name. Perhaps he wanted to succeed in his own works, just like Mark Twain.
K. Rowling & Robert Galbraith | Joanne Rowling
The extremely successful author of the popular Harry Potter novels, J.K. Rowling was born Joanne Rowling. However, in the midst of her hunt for a publisher, she was told that her books might not be attractive to young boys because they were written by a girl. To avoid this, she used “J.K.” instead of her first name. The “K” is not really her middle name because she has none.
She credits her grandmother’s name Kathleen as the addition to her initial. Meanwhile, when the boy wizard stories were done, Rowling delved into the crime genre. Her fiction novels were released under another pen name, Robert Galbraith. It was not until someone had investigated the two books extensively that it was found out that they were the same person. It was a funny story, even if it caused misunderstanding.
George Michael — Georgios Panayiotou
Wham! Member George Michael was born Georgios Panayiotou on June 25, 1963 in Bushley, Hertfordshire. Though his passion for music is evident in his work and performance, he was not born into a music-loving family. When he put up his band and started to become famous for his music, he made the decision to change his name and go by a stage name. He chose George Michael, something not too far from his real name, but also something way easier to say and remember.
He and his band have made it big. They even took credit for being the first pop stars to ever perform in China. Wham! had an audience of more than 15,000 people when they introduced the country to pop music in the mid-80’s. He was successful. You are an old soul if you know his real name.
MARILYN MONROE | NORMA JEAN MORTENSON
Marilyn Monroe’s real name is Norma Jean Mortenson and she was one of the most popular icons in the ‘50s. She became quite an in-demand model back then, and when 20th Century Fox signed her up, this gave birth to the name, Marilyn Monroe. She appeared in The Asphalt Jungle which increased her fans. She then followed up her success with more films focusing on her image as being a love goddess which garnered her quite a following.
Monroe’s fame continued to rise with her performance in the movies The Seven Year Itch, Bus Stop, and The Prince and the Showgirl. Her investments in her acting under the tutelage of Lee Strasberg helped her take on a variety of roles that surpassed her dumb blonde image. She won accolades for her role in Some Like It Hot. The actress did try to diversify her acting by accepting different types of projects. Although she is no longer with us, Monroe’s fame has rippled throughout the decades and she remains one of the highest-paid actresses of her time.
ALICIA KEYS |ALICIA AUGELLO-COOK
Alicia Keys thought it was best to have a stage name for her singing career rather than sticking with her given name which is Alicia Augello-Cook. Although her initial choice was to name herself Alicia Wild, she settled with Alicia Keys instead as it suited her preference to using the piano. The singer added that it helped open doors, as she has risen to stardom since 2000.
Keys music and composition are modern takes to soul music greats like Marvin Gaye as well as Stevie Wonder. Her debut album, Songs in a Minor, was a huge success. She followed this up with The Diary of Alicia Keys which was also a hit. She sealed her status as a singer-songwriter after winning four Grammy Awards. Keys did not just thrive in the music industry, because she also scored a few film roles too such as Smokin’ Aces, The Secret Life of Bees, and The Nanny Diaries which also contributed to her growing pool of investment money.
MEGHAN MARKLE | RACHEL MEGHAN MARKLE
Who would have thought that the Suits actress, Meghan Markle, actually has a different first name? Born Rachel Meghan Markle, the actress has followed in the footsteps of other celebrities who chose to have a different stage name. Indeed, many were shocked when Markle revealed that her first name was Rachel just like her character’s name in the hit TV show, Suits. This revelation did not dampen her fans’ admiration for her, but rather, it gave her the added edge as it helped absorb her character in the TV show.
Before she even became an actress, and later Duchess of Sussex, Markle invested her time in getting not just one degree but two, which are in theater and international studies. It seems she had a premonition of her future as her skills in the theater was translated into her acting career and her knowledge in international studies helped her fit in and become part of the Royal Family.
IRINA SHAYK | IRINA VALERYEVNA SHAYKHLISLAMOVA
Irina Shayk is a renowned supermodel whom you can catch walking the runway for high-profile fashion designers across the globe. The Russian beauty also holds the title of being the first model from her home country to grace the cover of Sports Illustrated. One of her first accomplishments was inking a deal with Intimissimi where she became the face of the company. It was also the same year when she appeared in Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue.
However, did you know that her birth name is far longer than we believe? Her given name is Irina Valeryevna Shaykhlislamova or Irina Shayk for short. Perhaps the model shortened it to make her easy to remember, which seems to have worked. From modeling swimwear to doing high-fashion, Shayk is one model who knows how investment planning is useful in the future. After all, she has a good real-estate portfolio to her name.
BRAD PITT | WILLIAM BRADLEY PITT
You might remember Brad Pitt in his movies like Interview with the Vampire, Legends of the Fall, Mr. & Mrs. Smith, Fury, Snatch, and Ocean’s Eleven and its succeeding movies. However, did you know that his given name is different? Brad Pitt’s real name is William Bradley Pitt. This little tidbit is definitely welcome for those who are fans of the actor. Rumor has it that he often introduces himself as William when flirting with women especially now that he is single.
Although the actor did not finish his degree, he made it big in Hollywood, especially in his supporting role in the movie, Thelma and Louise. There is no doubt that Pitt is one dedicated, not to mention a highly versatile actor, as he has taken a variety of roles that showcased his talent on the silver screen. His net worth definitely proves his being an in-demand actor in Hollywood.
GIGI HADID | JELENA NOURA HADID
Jelena Noura Hadid, or more popularly known as Gigi Hadid, is one of the highest-paid supermodels of today. She gave up pursuing a degree in Criminal Psychology to focus on becoming a model just like her mother, Yolanda Hadid. Her career in modeling began when she was 2 years old after being discovered by Guess clothing’s Paul Marciano. She later became the face of one of the clothing brand’s campaigns in 2012 when she worked once more with Marciano.
Her career has skyrocketed over the years, earning the Model of the Year award in 2015, then becoming a brand ambassador for Maybelline. She has walked for famous brands like Marc Jacobs, Michael Kors, and even Max Mara, just to name a few. Aside from modeling, Hadid also does photography which you can see in Gigi’s Journal. She also appeared in the short film entitled Virgin Eyes.
LADY GAGA | STEFANI JOANNE ANGELINA GERMANOTTA
Lady Gaga’s birth name is quite far from her stage name, which is Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta. The pop music icon has chosen Lady Gaga wherein she was inspired by the song Radio Ga Ga by the famous British rock band, Queen. She has since retained her new moniker in her musing and on stage which suits her well.
She worked as a songwriter prior to being discovered by Akon. Her debut album The Fame which contained the hit songs Poker Face and Just Dance made her a megastar overnight. To her credit, Lady Gaga has also shined as an actress starting with getting a role in American Horror Story: Hotel where she bagged a Golden Globe for Best Actress. She is also the lead in the film, A Star is Born, where she worked alongside Bradley Cooper. Lady Gaga is known not just for her music but also for her outlandish attire as well.
RIHANNA | ROBIN RIHANNA FENTY
Rihanna has taken the music industry by storm after being discovered by Jay-Z who immediately signed her up for a six-album record deal back in 2004. Born Robin Rihanna Fenty, the singer skyrocketed to fame with her collaboration with Jay-Z and his producers for her albums. Her second album, A Girl Like Me, was certified platinum. Her third album, Good Girl Gone Bad, garnered positive reviews where it also contained her hit, Umbrella.
Rihanna has certainly sealed her name as one of the highest-paid singers of today, not to mention receiving multiple awards too, which to her credit, proves that she has the voice that drew fans to her. She did not shy away from acting either such as films and TV shows like, Bring It On: All or Nothing, Styled to Rock, Battleship, and Ocean’s 8. Aside from that, she has also set up her own business empire, which adds to her half a billion net worth.
MILEY CYRUS | DESTINY HOPE CYRUS
Did you know that Miley Cyrus’s real name is Destiny Hope Cyrus? You might think that her current name is far off, but her parents nicknamed her “Smiley” when she was a child because she was always smiling. This was later shortened to Miley and it stuck. The actress turned singer-songwriter legally changed her name to Miley Ray Cyrus which we all know of. Her first brush with acting was when she appeared in her father’s TV series, Doc. She later snagged the role for Disney’s Hannah Montana.
Cyrus’s music career was on the right track with her hit singles included The Climb, We Can’t Stop, Party in the U.S.A, and Wrecking Ball. She later took on the role of coach and mentor for the reality singing competition, The Voice. Cyrus also appeared in the movie, The Last Song, where she met Liam Hemsworth whom she later married. The actress has been known to spend her investment money on real estate as well as donate it to charity.
CARDI B | BELCALIS MARLENIS ALMANZAR
Belcalis Marlenis Almanzar, or better known as Cardi B, is a professional rapper and television personality who began her career in the TV show, Love & Hip Hop: New York. The show became her stepping stone to a more lucrative career. After two years in the show, she called it quits to focus more on her music which was a wise choice. She first appeared in Shaggy’s remix of Boom Boom. Cardi B’s music video for Cheap Ass Weave then came out in 2015.
Her biggest breakthrough was in 2017 when she signed up with Atlantic Records. Although she had received nominations for Best New Artist and Best Female Hip-Hop Artist, she wasn’t able to bring home any awards. She then dabbled in acting, appearing in the film, Hustlers, which received positive reviews. Aside from being a musician, Cardi B also worked as an entrepreneur with one of her investments being a lingerie chain.
EMMA STONE | EMILY JEAN STONE
Emily Jean Stone rebranded herself as Emma Stone since there was already an actress by that name. This proved to be a game-changer as the young actress has since been one of the most sought-after actresses of today. You might know her in films like Superbad, The Help, Birdman, La La Land, and The Legend of Tarzan. Although she did not finish her studies to get a degree, Stone made a name for herself in Hollywood with the support of her mother.
Her breakthrough came with the comedy film, Easy A, where she got several nominations. Let’s not forget that she also starred alongside Andrew Garfield in The Amazing Spider-Man and The Amazing Spider-Man 2. With her amazing skills and successful career, no wonder she was once part of Time magazine’s 100 most influential people. Stone has also been busy buying properties here and there and has been a supporter of cancer awareness after her mother was diagnosed with it.
KITHARINGTON | CHRISTOPHER CATESBY HARINGTON
Talk about someone having a stage name that is way different from his given name, Kit Harington’s real name is Christopher Catesby Harington, and he earned his degree from the Central School of Speech and Drama. Though the actor intended to become a journalist, he was later cast in War Horse where he gained recognition for his performance. This ultimately led to more acting projects such as a role in Posh. Of course, he gained worldwide recognition when he took on the role of Jon Snow in the hit TV series, Game of Thrones.
Harington’s acting career includes appearances in films like Silent Hill: Revelation 3D, Pompeii, and Seventh Son. He also lent his voice to a character in the animated movie, How to Train Your Dragon 2. He did earn a considerable sum during the last two seasons of GoT, which contributed to his net worth. Hopefully we will see more of Kit Harington soon.
DRAKE | AUBREY DRAKE GRAHAM
Aubrey Drake Graham, also known as Drake, starred in the Canadian TV series Degrassi: The Next Generation using his given name. Though his childhood was a bit rocky, Drake was able to finish college and get a degree from Vaughan Road Academy. His music career was inspired by the likes of Jay-Z, who made it big by going solo. Eventually, Aubrey Drake dropped his first name and just went by his middle name, Drake.
Drake’s first mixtape, Room for Improvement, was well received after it sold 6,000 copies off of his website and MySpace. His succeeding mixtapes gained the attention of Lil Wayne, who later called Drake to join his Tha Carter III tour. It took a while before Drake signed with Young Money Entertainment but it was rumored that during his stint as an independent artist, music labels went to war with each other to acquire the young talent.
ASHTON KUTCHER | CHRISTOPHER ASHTON KUTCHER
Born Christopher Ashton Kutcher, Ashton Kutcher began his career in modeling, walking down the runway for Calvin Klein. As someone who has big ambitions, Kutcher pursued a career in acting where he landed the role of Kelso in the sitcom, That 70s Show. It was his role in this show that made him a favorite for comedic roles. He used his airhead persona again on Dude, Where’s My Car, Just Married, and Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner. It was his role in Punk’d that was his biggest contribution to pop culture.
He replaced Charlie Sheen in Two and a Half Men and even appeared in The Bachelor. Outside of Hollywood, Kutcher has impressed everybody with the investments he’s made in various startups like Airbnb, Uber, Zenreach, ResearchGate, and Spotify, to name a few. He was once married to Demi Moore and later to his That 70s Show co-star, Mila Kunis.
ERYKAH BADU | ERICA ABI WRIGHT
Erykah Badu’s real name is Erica Abi Wright. The singer changed the spelling of her first name stating that it was a slave name until she changed it to Erykah. As for Badu, it was her favorite jazz scat sound, plus the name for the 10th born child of the Akan people of Ghana. The singer-songwriter rose to fame for her R&B and modern soul music — her album, Baduizm, propelled her to the limelight.
Known for her colorful head-wraps that later became her signature, Badu showed off her singing prowess by going on tours across the globe. She even collaborated with Dave Chapelle for a tour that became a hit. Aside from the investments she’s made in her singing career, Badu also worked in film. She took on supporting roles in films like Blues Brothers, The Cider House Rules, House of D, and What Men Want.
SPIKE LEE |SHELTON JACKSON LEE
Spike Lee is the world’s leading film patriarch of black life in America. Born as Shelton Jackson Lee, he grew up in an Afro-centric family with a creative bent, so it’s perhaps no surprise that his younger siblings have all pursued degrees in the arts and have appeared in his feature films. His first feature film, She’s Gotta Have It, wowed critics and immediately pegged him as a filmmaker to watch.
Lee swung big with his film Do the Right Thing and it was hailed as a gem instantly after its launch. At the start of the ‘90s, Lee went through an auteur phase, releasing one film each year for a decade except in 1993. Lee demonstrated that he was still a vital force in the industry with his film, BlacKkKlansman. It was lauded by critics as one of his best films, and it did amazingly well in the box office, grossing $90 million on a $15 million budget.
COURTNEY LOVE | COURTNEY MICHELLE LOVE
Courtney Michelle Love was either one of the true heroes or antagonists of the indie-rock era, making her one of the most divisive music figures. Love studied acting and founded the Pagan Babies, her first band. She later landed a small role in the show Sid & Nancy, which was followed by a lead role in Straight to Hell. After relocating to Los Angeles, she co-founded the band Hole and released their debut album, Pretty on the Inside. Soon after, she went to a Dharma Bums show in Portland and met Nirvana frontman Kurt Cobain.
Courtney won a Golden Globe nomination for her performance in the film The People vs. Larry Flynt in 1999. For a few years, she would remain relatively silent, making a few film appearances here and there. To a huge degree, Love experienced more than her fair share of highs and lows but has always found a way to keep the faith.
NICKI MINAJ | ONIKA TANYA MINAJ
Nicki Minaj rose to fame in the 2010s due to her rapid-fire poetic delivery, her collection of stylized personas, and her willingness to go between hip-hop and pop. Minaj was born Onika Tanya Maraj in Trinidad and Tobago. After establishing a loyal following on MySpace and scoring her first Billboard hit with I Get Crazy in 2008, she changed her moniker to Nicki Minaj. She signed a contract with Lil Wayne’s Young Money Entertainment in 2009 and, to her credit, has collaborated with several of the label’s biggest names since.
In her first decade of making music, Minaj launched over 70 hits and stole the spotlight with guest appearances on other artists’ singles, defining herself as more of an influential figure than an album artist. Stand-alone songs like Superbass and Starships, all of which were chart-topping mega-hits with hundreds of millions of streams, cemented Minaj’s legacy. She is a descendant of Jay-Z and Beyoncé and is one of the most prominent rappers and crossover pop stars.
CALVIN HARRIS | ADAM RICHARD WILES
Calvin Harris was born Adam Richard Wiles. He decided to pursue music after realizing he wouldn’t make it as a soccer player. Under the alias Stouffer, Calvin released the single Da Bongos in 2002. Eventually, he started to make music and released it under the name Calvin Harris on MySpace. His music attracted the attention of manager Mark Gillespie, who decided to represent Harris after signing with EMI.
He released his first and second albums soon enough and both were certified gold in the UK. Despite his reputation as a musician, he became more interested in songwriting and recording, and his tastes coincided with the meteoric rise of electronic dance music. Harris largely entrusted the singing of his album,18 Others, to Rihanna, Ne-Yo, and others, and it became a huge hit. Harris was appointed resident DJ at the MGM Grand in Las Vegas. Because of his career investments, he landed at the top of Forbes’ list of highest-paid DJs in 2013.
FRANK OCEAN |CHRISTOPHER EDWIN BREAUX
To some degree, Frank Ocean has grown to be one of the most intriguing figures in contemporary music. Born Christopher Edwin Breaux, he became a phenomenon in the best sense of the word when his debut album Nostalgia, Ultra mixtape, and Channel Orange grabbed the eye of the R&B and hip-hop community.
Its blunt, devotional lyrics and diverse modulation drew acclaim from critics and peers alike, propelling Ocean to the top, where he was able to collaborate with artists like Jay-Z and Kanye West. Although business problems delayed Ocean’s follow-up album, he demonstrated in August 2016 that he has solid musical power. Since then, he’s released a short album’s worth of tracks, including the platinum-certified Chanel and Cayendo. Ocean’s distinct take on R&B, as well as his forthright integrity, established him as a standout with a bright future.
JOHN LEGEND | JOHN ROGER STEPHENS
Beginning with his critically acclaimed debut album, Get Lifted, John Legend’s style of elegant and melodic sound filled a void in the contemporary R&B scene. Born John Stephens, he stayed in the shadows until launching his multi-pronged sneak assault on the film industry. Soon after getting his break playing piano on Everything Is Everything, the songwriter collaborated with Jay-Z, landed a major-label contract through Kanye West, and began writing songs.
The album introduced mainstream music fans to Legend’s smooth singing, which brought a certain suavity to hip-hop soul, most noticeably in the hit single Ordinary People. Legend went on to do films after his success in music. Topping his investments, he landed roles in award-winning features like Glory and Jitney. He is among a few performers who’ve been able to win the four big show-business trophies and is the first African-American to have done so.
KATY PERRY | KATHERINE ELIZABETH HUDSON
Her musical ambitions started when she was young, and she appears to have been an instant sensation. Katy Hudson’s first album was aimed at the Christian/inspirational market. Katy moved to Los Angeles in search of success and shifted her attention to pop music. She ditched her initial moniker and chose to use her mother’s maiden name instead.
To her credit, she reached the top of the Billboard Hot 100 in 2008 with her suggestive single I Kissed a Girl. She cemented her name with a string of successful hit singles as well as the album Teenage Dream. She skillfully balanced her work as her career progressed, adding the track Roar to her roster while making room for dance club singles like Dark Horse. Perry broadened her appeal with film skits and a stint as a jury on American Idol — these ventures held her in the spotlight and aided her transformation from pop diva to showbiz mainstay.
LORDE | ELLA YELICH O’CONNOR
Lorde rose to prominence in her native New Zealand after the release of her hit song, Royals. Lorde was born Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O’Connor into an artistic family. She found her love of acting and singing while participating in a drama club at her local elementary school when she was five years old. A Universal talent scout spotted Lorde, and a prestigious music label signed the then-13-year-old singer. Lorde sang and played over the next four years while learning to compose songs on a guitar. Her music career didn’t take off until she collaborated with songwriter Joel Little.
Lorde hit a chord with people because she was a refreshing contrast to shiny and cheerful mainstream-types like Taylor Swift and Katy Perry. To some degree, she was a symbol for teens who felt older than their years. Her pop hit, Royals, became an absolute sensation.
MANDY MOORE | AMANDA LEIGH MOORE
She was one of the most resilient faces of the late-’90s teen pop boom. Amanda Leigh Moore, who made her studio debut at the age of 15, styled her music after her adolescent peers. It was said that she became interested in music and acting at a young age and that it was her grandmother, a professional ballerina, who inspired her. She expanded her range early on, outperforming her peers’ acting abilities in the film A Walk to Remember.
Moore effortlessly transitioned from teenage pop star to mature lyricist as the 2000s progressed. Her album Wild Hope marked the end of the singer’s transition to adult pop. She got her sixth straight Top 40 album in 2009. Though she didn’t entirely abandon music, her missteps in the studio were balanced by performance roles in the 2010s. Her role in the film This Is Us earned her an Academy Award nomination.
MINDY KALING | VERA MINDY CHOKALINGHAM
Mindy Kaling evolved from a sought-after writer to one of the most distinctive satirical characters. Vera Mindy Chokalingham started doing stand-up comedy after college and tried her shot at writing. Mindy was hired as a writer for The Office and was, to her credit, eventually cast to play a character in the same show. Her on-screen character appeared in 161 of the show’s 188 episodes. She starred in the comedy films The 40-Year-Old Virgin and Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian.
Mindy produced and starred in the sitcom The Mindy Project after leaving The Office. After the release of her memoir, Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?, she gained even more acclaim. Mindy joined movies such as Oceans 8 and established herself as an actress. Kaling eventually got the opportunity to write and produce shows for HBO Go and Netflix.
G-EAZY | GERALD EARL GILLUM
When he first came out in the late 2000s, G-Eazy was dubbed “the James Dean of rap” because of his slick hair and leather jacket. G-Eazy was born Gerald Earl Gillum and began rapping while still a student before releasing his solo album, The Epidemic LP. He steadily ascended the charts in the 2010s on the power of his hit duet with Bebe Rexha, Me, Myself & I, from his major-label debut, These Things Happen.
To his credit, he went on to top the R&B/Hip-Hop charts and reach number five on the Billboard 200. In 2016, Eazy contributed to Britney Spears’ comeback song Make Me, which reached the Top 20 on the Billboard Hot 100. With his third album, The Beautiful & Damned, he repeated his success, collaborating with Cardi B on the Top Four hit No Limit. G-Eazy has aged without sacrificing any of his flair, experimenting with a more contemplative indie-pop style in 2020’s Everything’s Strange Here.
PRINCE HARRY | HENRY CHARLES ALBERT DAVID
Prince Harry is the sixth in line to the British throne and is the youngest son of Prince Charles and Princess Diana. His parents revealed that his name would be Prince Henry Charles Albert David, but his family and friends refer to him as Harry. As the prince grew older, he was called Prince Harry and Prince Henry of Wales.
In 1998, Harry was accepted into Eton and quickly became famous among his classmates. He quickly adjusted to school life, finding several outlets for his academic, athletic, and artistic abilities. In May 2005, Harry started a new degree in his life by enrolling as an cadet at the prestigious military academy, Sandhurst. Even though was serving in the military, he still found time to volunteer. He is a patron of many charities, including Sentebale, which assists orphaned children in Lesotho, South Africa.
LUCY HALE | KAREN LUCILLE HALE
Karen Lucille “Lucy” Hale made a name for herself in Hollywood by competing in popular talent shows before establishing herself as a flexible actress. On American Juniors, Hale’s singing abilities earned her a place in the Top 5 and a spot in a musical group with the other finalists. Hale embraced an acting career after launching her debut album. She eventually rose from supporting roles to leading ones in just a few years. She landed significant roles in numerous television programs and feature films due to her dynamic presence.
Because of her involvement with the TV series Pretty Little Liars and film A Cinderella Story: Once Upon a Song, Hale rapidly rose to international teen fame. She showcased her seasoned acting talents by playing complex characters, paving the groundwork for a promising career beyond her teenage years.
CHACE CRAWFORD | CHRISTOPHER CHACE CRAWFORD
Christopher Chace Crawford’s breakout role was in the iconic teen series, Gossip Girl. Crawford was often referred to in entertainment media and gossip pages as the show’s Golden Boy, and he also became a crowd favorite on the famous, New York-based show. Before his popularity in Gossip Girl, the actor had his debut in the Long Lost Son, which he followed up with a role in the mystery thriller, The Covenant.
It was a fast rise to stardom for the young star, leading to more prominent roles, including a role in the series Twelve. Crawford, to his credit, became a major star in a short period of time despite being in the public radar only briefly. He later opened himself up to a broader range of film and television ventures, and landed a role in Amazon’s The Boys in 2018, a show that’s now seeing massive success.
WINONA RYDER | WINONA LAURA HOROWITZ
Named after the village in which she was born, Winona Laura Horowitz was a film star who brought complexity and inner life to teen roles in movies like Heathers and Edward Scissorhands. Her deep, vibrant brown eyes and aura that reminded Tim Burton of timeless old movie stars, made her a favorite in period dramas like The Age of Innocence. She’s portrayed everything from a teenage cheerleader to a space robot in Alien: Resurrection during her third decade of acting.
After a long hiatus, Ryder returned in 2007 with a series of independent films. She also played Spock’s mom in Star Trek. Following her success, she became an over-the-hill ballerina in Black Swan. Several years later, she starred in the Netflix series, Stranger Things. Ryder, to some degree, made the challenging transition from teen star to seasoned actress — not an easy feat in such a demanding industry.
NINA DOBREV | NIKOLINA KAMENOVA DOBREVA
Nina Dobrev’s real name is Nikolina Kamenova Dobreva. This unique name was given to her by her parents. Her father was a computer specialist, while her mother is an artist. She was born in 1989 in Bulgaria, but her family moved to Toronto to raise her when she turned 2. Dobrev is one of the TV stars who was a fan-favorite thanks to her distinct look and impressive acting chops. The Canadian-actress got international fame for her lead role in the hit vampire drama, The Vampire Diaries. She starred alongside former on-and-off screen partner Ian Somerhalder. Before landing the role, she starred as Mia Jones in Degrassi: The Next Generation, a drama series under TeenNick for 13 seasons.
Dobrev’s career in the entertainment industry is still high-flying. Indeed, she has reached a certain degree of fame for her TV roles. Apart from doing TV and movie projects, Dobrev is also an active philanthropist who dedicates her time to supporting charity projects.
TOPHER GRACE | CHRISTOPHER JOHN GRACE
Topher Grace’s birth name is Christopher John Grace. He was born in New York City to parents who were of German-Jewish and Irish descent. Grace is best known for his role in the late ‘90s to early 2000s show, That ‘70s Show. For eight seasons, Grace was a favorite character in Fox’s retro teen show, where he starred alongside Mila Kunis, Ashton Kutcher, and Wilmer Valderrama. After his stint in the show, Grace was able to bag more credit roles, including in the films Spider-Man 3, In Good Company, and Interstellar.
At some point in his career, Grace started focusing on editing. He made edits for popular films like Star Wars, which was his way of relaxing. This would later turn into a money-making gig for Grace, and he was able to get editing projects in the Star Wars trilogy, Boogie Nights, and Toy Story 4. In 2019, Grace, together with Jeff Yorkes, named their Twitter account Lou’s Café, which is a pseudonym for their collaborations.
JENNIFER ANISTON | JENNIFER JOANNA ANISTON
Jennifer Aniston is an A-list actress who was born to actor parents John Aniston and Nancy Dow. The couple named her Jennifer Joanna Aniston. Later, when Aniston started her career, she decided to remove her second name and stick with Jennifer Aniston as a screen name. She has been acting since she was a child. Her career slowly rose in the ‘80s when she starred in the 1988 film, Mac and Me.
It was in the ‘90s when the actress began landing roles for romantic-comedy films. Her biggest break was in the series Friends, which ran for a decade. She also starred in rom-com films such as Just Go With It, Mystery Murder, and We’re The Millers. Aniston is one of the highest-paid actresses today. Throughout her career, Aniston was able to amass a whopping $300 million net worth. This allowed her to increase her investment portfolio.
DIANE KEATON | DIANNE HALL
Actress Diane Keaton’s original name is Dianne Hall. She dropped her middle name but left her surname, Keaton. Keaton is known for her distinct personality, fashion sense, impressive acting skills, and entrepreneurial ventures outside acting. She is also known for her outstanding Broadway performances, specifically in Play It Again and Sam. She entered the film industry and landed roles in films such as The Godfather, Manhattan, and The Little Drummer Girl. Her roles earned her a slew of awards, including an Academy Award, a BAFTA, and a Golden Globe.
As someone who already has the fame and fortune to be able to retire, Keaton doesn’t seem to want to retire anytime soon. In fact, she continues to make money as a producer and as a real-estate developer. She’s used investment planning methods that elevated her riches and increased her net worth.
DAVID BOWIE | DAVID ROBERT JONES
David Bowie was born David Robert Jones. The iconic musician rose to fame in the ‘70s, because of his impressive musical genre-hopping during the four decades of his career. Bowie’s music sold over 100 million records worldwide and he was said to be among the best-selling musicians of all time. This was the time when Bowie had all the resources to make investments outside his career.
His songs Space Oddity, Heroes, and Rebel Rebel, were massively successful. Bowie also earned the title of one of the most influential musicians of the 20th century. Bowie, at one point, even landed in Time’s list of 100 Greatest Artists of All Time. He was also posthumously awarded as the Greatest Rock Star Ever by Rolling Stone shortly after he passed away. His last album, Blackstar, was released two days before he passed away. Even though Bowie passed in 2016 due to a health condition, he left a legacy in the music industry.
CARY GRANT | ARCHIBALD ALEXANDER LEACH
Cary Grant’s real name is far from his short and catchy screen name. He was born Archibald Alexander Leach and was called Archie as he was growing up. When his family moved from Bristol to the United States, Grant used his original name up until the time he was started doing Broadway and Vaudeville performances. He decided to adopt a new screen name in 1931 when she signed a contract with Paramount Pictures. Grant would use his screen name moving forward for roles in North by Northwest, To Catch a Thief, and Charade.
Grant’s career spans over four decades and resulted in more than 40 movies. His earnings as an actor allowed him to put investment money into real estate properties, including a huge village in Acapulco. He stayed active in the industry until the time of his passing in 1986.
AUDREY HEPBURN | AUDREY KATHLEEN RUSTON
British actress Audrey Hepburn was an iconic star in the ‘50s. Her original name was Audrey Kathleen Ruston. Under her screen name, Audrey Hepburn, the actress became a world-renowned darling, both for her acting and impressive style that many still look up to to this day. Some of her best-known films are Breakfast at Tiffany’s, Roman Holiday, and Sabrina.
People loved her as an actress, and she was named one of the greatest actresses during the Golden age of Hollywood. Meanwhile, her fashion sense got her inducted into the International Best Dressed List Hall of Fame. Instead of focusing on her retirement and savoring all the investment money and savings that she accumulated as a superstar, Hepburn became a humanitarian. Hepburn dedicated her time to doing philanthropic work. She actively participated in UNICEF’s humanitarian efforts in Ethiopia, Sudan, Bangladesh, and other countries.
ALBERT BROOKS | ALBERT LAWRENCE EINSTEIN
Albert Brooks was born Albert Lawrence Einstein. Brooks has been a consistent figure in front of the screen. He is known for his acting career, which mainly focused on comedy. He has written and starred in a lot of comedy films in the ‘80s and ‘90s, including Modern Romance and Defending Your Life. Brooks made a career out of directing, and among the films he directed are Lost in America and The Famous Comedians School. He was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in Broadcast News. He also gained the attention of many award-giving bodies for his role as a Jewish mobster in the 2011 film Drive.
Now 73, Brooks is working as a voice actor to add to his income. He could have fully enjoyed retirement with all the investment money he has in the bank but he still chooses to work part-time while enjoying life with his wife and two daughters. Brooks is known by younger generations as the voice behind Marlin, the clownfish in the movie Finding Nemo. He was also a recurring guest voice for The Simpsons.
NATALIE WOOD | NATALIA NIKOLAEVNA ZACHARENKO
Natalie Wood was one of the classic actresses in the golden age of Hollywood cinema. Born as Natalia Nikolaevna Zacharenko to Russian immigrant parents, Wood was discovered by a talent scout in San Francisco at the early age of 4. In her autobiography, Wood recalled how her mother had dreams of becoming a star. Since circumstances did not allow her mother to reach her dream of becoming a star, Wood fulfilled it instead.
Upon starting her career, Wood’s real name was replaced with Natalie Wood, a catchier screen name for a star. She starred in Miracle on 34th Street, Rebel Without a Cause, and West Side Story. From child star roles, Wood transitioned into adult film roles — among her best known adult roles were in the films Sex and the Single Girl, Inside Daisy Clover, and Bob & Carol & Ted & Alice. Her portrayals also earned her Academy Awards and Golden Globes recognition. In the span of her career, Wood was able to make investments in her future from the earnings she made.
LOUIS C.K. | LOUIS SZÉKELY
Louis Székely is comedian Louis C.K’s real name. Born to a software engineer mother and economist father, C.K was raised to be a talented and smart individual. From Mexico, his family moved to Boston where C.K started schooling. This was also from where he worked his way up to Hollywood. At the onset of his career, C.K. made a job out of writing scripts and screenplays for comedians like Chris Rock, David Letterman, and Dana Carvey.
He also wrote comedy for Saturday Night Live. Apart from all this, he got into directing and took directorial creditfor Pootie Tang, and Tomorrow Night. C.K was one of the few comedians who turned to innovative solutions to keep up with modern times. On his website, he released the comedy album Live in Houston where he earned direct sales for his shows. His video concerts were also downloadable from his website. Through the years, C.K has made a name as a reputable comedian.
GARRISON KEILLOR | GARY EDWARD KEILLOR
Garrison Keillor, whose real name is Gary Edward Keillor, is a multi-talented Hollywood personality. Although he doesn’t act in front of the camera, his tremendous body of work had a big impact on the industry. He created the A Prairie Home Companion, a Minnesota Public Radio show that he hosted for four decades. He was also the creator of Guy Noir, the five-minute radio show The Writer’s Almanac and Lake Wobegon, which was later adapted into a book. Apart from this, Keillor was able to turn his talent into cash and investments through his work as a storyteller, humorist, and radio personality.
Now 78, Keillor is enjoying life in simple ways. Keillor is someone who lives day by day exploring his surroundings. He frequents markets, cafes, and galleries in Minneapolis where he resides. There’s isn’t much chatter about him these days, but hopefully, we’ll be hearing from him, soon.
CHEVY CHASE | CORNELIUS CRANE CHASE
Born Cornelius Crane Chase in 1943 from a prominent family, Chevy Chase did not intend to be a comedic genius. Growing up, he did not need cash loans because he had his parents to back him up. He took a pre-med course back in college but was unable to enter medical school and be a doctor. Instead, he turned to innate talent in comedy. In his early days as a comedian, Chase co-founded Channel One, an underground comedy ensemble in 1967.
From then on, his antics found their way to TV. He appeared in National Lampoon and became a cast member of the first season of Saturday Night Live. In SNL, Chase was known for his Weekend Update segment, which many fans look forward to. The comedian since then earned several recognitions, including the Primetime Emmy Awards. He also ventured into acting, taking on roles for the 1978 film Foul Play and 1985 movie Fletcher, among others. Although Chase is semi-retired, he admitted that he can still take acting projects if there are offers that come his way.
ALAN ALDA – ALPHONSO JOSEPH D’ABRUZZO
Alan Alda is a renowned actor whose star shined in the 1970s. He has been acting since he was a child, thanks to his actor father Robert Alda who was the one who named him Alphonso Joseph D’Abruzzo. His most iconic role was as Hawkeye Pierce in the war television series M*A*S*H, where he received fame. Alda also appeared in movies such as California Suite and The Seduction of Joe Tynan.
Apart from acting on the big screen, Alda also tried cultivating his talent on Broadway. He has made outstanding performances for Broadway shows such as The Owl and the Pussycat as well as in Fair Game for Lovers. In the course of his career, he earned credit for his acting and bagged six Emmys and a Golden Globe Award. Alda is now retired at 85 and is enjoying all his hard-earned money from his decades-long career.
HULK HOGAN | TERRY EUGENE BOLLEA
Many ‘80s TV and wrestling fans know Hulk Hogan, who was born Terry Eugene Bollea. He rose to fame for his professional wrestling career and also made his way to Hollywood as a TV personality, actor, and musician. He first started his career in 1983 when he signed up for the World Wrestling Federation. He became the most famous wrestler in that decade, winning five overall championships. His wrestling career would go on for years before he finally transitioned to doing TV and movies. He starred in movies such as No Holds Barred and Suburban Commando, among others.
During the span of his career as a wrestling superstar, Hogan was able to bring home millions of dollars. He might have called for the help of a financial advisor to help him with his finances. True enough, his money went to good use when he decided to finance a restaurant called Pastamania. He also founded a good number of other business ventures, on top of his many real-estate purchases.
BEA ARTHUR | BERNICE FRANKEL
Bea Arthur is one of the classic Hollywood stars whose immense contribution is still being discussed up to this day. Before venturing into acting, Arthur, whose real name is Bernice Frankel, juggled various jobs. She enlisted in the United States Marine Corps Women’s Reserve, became a typist in Washington, a truck driver, and dispatcher to pay her electricity bills. Starting her acting career as a Broadway talent, Arthur worked her way into Hollywood before eventually gaining national fame. Her best-known roles were in the TV shows Maude and The Golden Girls.
She also earned a Tony Award in 1966 for Best Featured Actress for her performance in Mame. Before she passed away in 2009 at the age of 86, Arthur was a strong supporter of animal welfare and LGBT rights. She put a huge amount of her investment money into financing an 18-bed home for homeless LGBT youth. The home was named Bea Arthur Residences and is located in New York City.
ROCK HUDSON | LEROY HAROLD SCHERER
Who doesn’t know Leroy Harold Scherer, Jr.? Right now, maybe you’re thinking you’ve never heard of the name. Well, you might not know him by his real name, but he is none other than the famous American actor, Rock Hudson. Being one of the most prominent actors of his generation, Hudson has etched this name in Hollywood history. Millions adore the name since it has been the star’s identity in the industry. However, the actor himself wasn’t really fond of it.
Surprisingly, he wasn’t the one who decided to change it in the first place. It was actually his Hollywood talent agent, Henry Wilson. Interestingly, the name came from both the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River. Whatever name the actor decided to go with, millions would have still adored him. It wasn’t his name that brought him fame after all. The credit goes to his hard work and incredible talent!
MIRANDA JULY | JENNIFER GROSSINGER
We all know Miranda July. She is one of the most talented personalities in the industry. She does not only have the credit of being an actress, but she is also a known director, screenwriter, author, and singer! Did you know that she wasn’t always known by that name though? She was born on February 15, 1974, in Barre, Vermont. Originally, she was known as Miranda Jennifer Grossinger. If you’re wondering how she came to have her name, then let me fill you in!
She changed her last name to July because of a character that was based on her. This character came from a story that was created by her high school best friend, Johanna Fateman. It wasn’t until she was in her 20’s that she legally changed her name though. If this isn’t one of the best examples of life imitating art, then I don’t know what is!
JOAN CRAWFORD | LUCILLE FAY LESUEUR
Does the name Lucille Fay LeSueur ring a bell? Let me give you a hint. She is one of the most prominent actresses of her time. Life magazine even hailed her as the first Queen of the Movies. Furthermore, the American Film Institute ranked her tenth on its list of the greatest female stars of Classic Hollywood Cinema in 1999. By now, I think you know who I am talking about — it is none other than Joan Crawford! If you’re wondering how the star got the name that fans know her for, then I’m here to tell you the story.
In 1924, the actress was discovered by studio bosses at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. They then offered her a contract. It didn’t end there though; they also ran a magazine competition to choose a new name for the rising star, and you guessed it. That was the winning entry! Whatever name won, fans would have still admired the actress and the name. It wasn’t her name that brought her success in the first place! The credit goes to her amazing talent and character delivery!
CARMEN ELECTRA | TARA LEIGH PATRICK
Doesn’t Carmen Electra’s name just suit her? Well, legendary singer-songwriter, Prince, thought so, too! Electra was born on April 20, 1972, in Sharonville, Ohio. Originally, she was known as Tara Leigh Patrick. That changed after her encounter with the legend. The star first saw Prince when she was auditioning for an all-girl group that he was putting together at the time. He ended up signing the rising star to his label, Paisley Park.
After seeing her dance, he said that she looked like an Electra. Right there and then, he decided that that should be her name. While the actress was hesitant with the name at first, it eventually grew on her. Well, whatever name the actress went by, I think we can all agree that she would have still shined either way. With her remarkable talent and her many investments in the industry, she has become one of the biggest contributors to Hollywood history.
TRUMAN CAPOTE | TRUMAN STRECKFUS PERSONS
Who doesn’t know the novella, Breakfast at Tiffany’s? It’s one of the best literary works to have ever existed. This masterpiece was created by none other than Truman Capote. He also took credit for the creation of the non-fiction novel, In Cold Blood. Truman is one of the most accomplished writers of all time. For one, a lot of his works have been adapted to film — more than 20 films and television dramas, to be exact. He was born on September 30, 1924, in New Orleans, Louisiana.
Originally, he was known as Truman Streckfus Persons. If you’re wondering, the name we all grew accustomed to isn’t a pen name. Capote came from his stepfather, Joseph Capote. To quote Shakespeare though, what’s in a name? Persons or Capote, whatever name the talented novelist uses, we would have loved him and his work all the same. It was his hands that penned some of the greatest literary pieces of all time.
JUDY GARLAND | FRANCES ETHEL GUMM
Judy Garland was one of the most prominent and talented artists of her time. With more than four decades in the industry, she managed to snag a Golden Globe Award. In addition, she was also a recipient of an Academy Juvenile Award and a Special Tony Award. That’s not all though! She also took credit for being the first woman to win a Grammy Award for Album of the Year. Talk about talent!
The star was born on June 10, 1922, in Minnesota. Originally, she was known as Frances Ethel Gumm. In 1934, the Gumm Sisters changed their name to the Garland Sisters. With this, Frances changed her name to “Judy” soon after. The change was largely inspired by a popular Hoagy Carmichael song. Gumm or Garland, we would have loved her either way. After all, she became an acclaimed actress because of her talent and not her name!
GENE SIMMONS | CHAIM WITZ
Chaim Witz is one of the most talented personalities in Hollywood without a doubt. He is not only a singer, but he is also a songwriter, record producer, actor, author, and entrepreneur. His talents and investments in the industry have also been recognized. In 2014, the Reial Circle Artístic de Barcelona awarded him the Golden Medal.
I know what you’re thinking! I must be talking about the wrong person. The celebrity I just described sounds a lot like Gene Simmons. Well, you’re not wrong! Simmons was born on August 25, 1949, in Haifa, Israel. Originally, he was known by that name! Later on, he changed his name to Gene Klein. When he was in college, the star chose a stage name. The name by which we know him now was chosen as a tribute to the singer Jumpin’ Gene Simmons. Whatever name he uses, his fans would have still adored him.