Celebrities Who Often Change Their Names

We have become so accustomed to knowing celebrities by their stage names that we become quite amazed when we discover what's really on their legal birth certificates. Many names have been changed by the individuals themselves, but many of them are asked to change their names for various reasons.

Reasons Celebrities Change Their Names

The directors or producers might ask an actor or actress to change their names for more appeal and to make them easier to pronounce and spell. Some long names are made shorter and some first names are dropped and some celebrities go by their middle names. If a name has a negative connotation or unintentional humor, there is no question that name will be changed.

Interesting Name Changes

Here are the name changes that I find most interesting:

Eric Marlon Bishop found that female stand-up comedians were put at the head of the list to perform so he changed his name to Jamie Foxx because Jamie could be either a male or female name. Spelling Foxx with two xx's was a tribute to Redd Foxx who also changed his name. His name was John Elroy Sanford. It appeared that Redd Foxx couldn't get the name Sanford out of his mind as evidenced by his long running television show, "Sanford and Son." Redd Foxx got his first name because of the reddish tone in his hair.

Halle Berry kept her name that her mother gave her. She was named after Halle Department Store in Cleveland, Ohio.

David Adkins is on his birth certificate, but today we know him as the superstar comedian Sinbad who changed his name to because he wanted to get attention in show business

Stevie Wonder’s real name was Steveland Morris when he first started performing at 10 years old. Because of his amazing talent, people started calling him the little boy wonder. Berry Gordy, Jr. capitalized on this and named him Little Stevie Wonder for his first Motown contract. The "Little" from his name was dropped when he grew up.

Nina Simone was legally named Eunice Kathleen Waymon. When she started playing at a bar and grill in Atlantic City, she adopted the name “Nina” after the Spanish “niña,” meaning “little girl” because that was what an old boyfriend used to call her. Here last name “Simone” was from the French actress Simone Signoret. What she did was to combine Spanish and French and the little girl became very successful.

Alicia Augello Cook changed her last name to Alicia Keys because she begin playing the piano at age 7 and loved it so much. Just think had she kept her original last name, she would be a COOK instead of a famous pianist.

Longer Names Are Shortened

Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg is shortened to Jane Seymour.
Issur Danielovitch Demsky is shortened to Kirk Douglas.
Allen Stewart Konigsberg changed his real name to Woody Allen.
Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg changed his name to Jean-Claude Van Damme. It is still long, but it is an improvement.
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon is Reese Witherspoon.
Christopher Ashton Kutcher just dropped Christopher from his name and uses his middle name. He did this because the modeling agency suggested it because another Christopher already worked there. His wife, Demi Moore has Demetria Gene Guynes on her legal birth certificate.
Doris Day was originally named Doris von Kappelhoff.
Christian Slater was born Christian Michael Leonard Hawkins.
Caryn Elaine Johnson first became just Whoopi, but her mother told her no one would take her serious with that name. So she became Whoopi Goldberg.
Anna Nicole Smith was named Vickie Lynn Hogan.
Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jean Baker.
Meg Ryan is really Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra.

What's in a name? The people who changed their names can certainly answer that question.

Shorter Names Made Longer

There are not many shorter names made longer with these exceptions:
Jacob Cohen became Rodney Dangerfield; still two names but more syllables.
Lou Upchurch changed his name to Lou Diamond Phillips.

Some Names Not Far From Original Name

Christopher Walken is really Ronald Walken.
Wynona Ryder was born Wynona Horowitz.
Sally Fields was born Sally Mahoney.
Danny DeVito is really Daniel Michaeli.
Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Coppola David Jones changed his name to David Bowie. Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall.
Julie Andrews was originally Julie Wells.
Brad Pitt's name is not too far off from his real name, William Bradley Pitt.
Elton John was named Reginald Kenneth Dwight.
Clay Aiken was named Clayton Holmes Grissom. Some Names Not Far From Original Name
Christopher Walken is really Ronald Walken.
Wynona Ryder was born Wynona Horowitz.
Sally Fields was born Sally Mahoney.
Danny DeVito is really Daniel Michaeli.
Nicolas Cage was born Nicolas Coppola David Jones changed his name to David Bowie. Diane Keaton was born Diane Hall.
Julie Andrews was originally Julie Wells.
Brad Pitt's name is not too far off from his real name, William Bradley Pitt.
Elton John was named Reginald Kenneth Dwight.
Clay Aiken was named Clayton Holmes Grissom.

More by this Author


Comments 3 comments

Dian'swords4u profile image

Dian'swords4u 5 years ago from North Carolina

Very interesting hub. I can see why some of them changed their names. I think our names that are given to us by our parents are special. Sometimes we are named after parents or grandparents or other meaningful people. I do however think that parents should be mindful of the consequences of names for their children. Sometimes they can be a bit unlikeable. Again, thanks for the hub.


revmjm profile image

revmjm 5 years ago from Richmond, VA Author

Thanks so much for your comment. I found it so interesting how Halle Berry and Alicia Keys got their names.


lifegate profile image

lifegate 5 years ago from Pleasant Gap, PA

revmjm,

Thanks for sharing some interesting facts.

    Sign in or sign up and post using a HubPages Network account.

    0 of 8192 characters used
    Post Comment

    No HTML is allowed in comments, but URLs will be hyperlinked. Comments are not for promoting your articles or other sites.


    Click to Rate This Article
    working