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Real Names Of The Stars Of Film And Music

Updated on December 16, 2015

Whats In A Name?

Some of the most well known and loved movie stars are not who we think they are, it is amazing how many actors have changed their real names over the years to something a little more " movie star " sounding. In this article we will have a look at the original names of some of the stars from films and music.

A young John Wayne.
A young John Wayne. | Source

John Wayne

Marrion Morrison as the macho star of movies such as True Grit and Stagecoach would just not sound the same.Strangely recently declassified Sovite documents have revealed that former Russian dictator Josef Stalin considered having Wayne assassinated for his vocal anti communist views, even though he was a big fan of The Dukes films.

Bruce Willis - Walter Willis

Joaquin Phoenix - Joaquin Rafael Bottom

Ben Kingsley - Krishna Pandit Bhanji

Chevy Chase - Cornelius Crane Chase

Demi Moore - Demtria Guynes

Elliot Gould - Elliot Goldstein

Stewart Grainger - James Stewart ( So not to be confused with the already well known British actor of the same name )

Charlton Heston - John Charles Carter


Stan Laurel

Stanley Arthur Jefferson better known as Stan Laurel was actually born in 1890 in Cumbria, England. Before moving to the USA Laurel was a member of music hall troop Fred Karnos Army where he was understudy to Charlie Chaplin, and the comedian actually travelled to the US on the same ship as Chaplin.

Alan Alda - Alphonso d'Abruzzo

Diane Keaton - Diane Hall ( A name she shares with her most well known character role Annie Hall )

Whoopi Goldberg - Caryn Johnson ( Reputedly she took the name from her ability to fart a lot!)

Rock Hudson - Leroy Harold Sherer Jr

Joan Crawford - Lucille LeSueur

Deborah Kerr - Deborah Trimmler

Michael Landon - Eugene Maurice Orowitz

Vivien Leigh - Vivien Hartley

Douglas as Spartacus
Douglas as Spartacus | Source

Kirk Douglas

The star of Spartacus was actually born Issur Danielovitch Demsky to Russian Jewish immigrants in New York in 1916. On the American Film Institutes list of Greatest Male Screen Legends In American History, Douglas is ranked number 17, which makes him the highest ranked actor that is still alive.

Audrey Hepburn - Edda Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston

Judy Garland - Frances Gumm

Martin Sheen - Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez ( Charlie Sheen is Carlos Estevez )

Fred Astaire - Frederick Austerlitz

Tea Leoni - Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni

Sean Connery - Thomas Connery

Tony Curtis - Bernard Schwarz

Andy Garcia - Andres Arturo Garcia Menendez


Marilyn Monroe

Born Norma Jean Mortenson on June 1st 1926 in Los Angeles her surname was soon changed to her mothers maiden name Baker not long after birth. Incredibly Monroe was bullied at school for being ugly!. The very first issue of Playboy magazine featured Monroe on the cover, the actress was married three times and is probably the best known sex symbol of all time.

Michael Keaton - Michael Douglas ( An obvious change this one )

Natalie Portman - Natalie Herschlag

Cary Grant - Archibald Leach ( Not quite as suave sounding as Cary Grant )

Dezi Arnas - Desiderio Albert Arnaz y De Acha III ( No wonder he changed )

Kim Cattrall - Clare Woodgate

Richard Burton - Richard Jenkins

Nicholas Cage - Nicolas Coppola ( Cage named himself after his favorite comic book character Luke Cage )

Cher - Cherilyn Sarkisian La Pierre


Helen Mirren

Dame Helen Mirren a stalwart of British Theatre and movies was actually born Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov. Mirren is the only actress to play Queen Elizabeth the first and second on screen.

Carmen Electra - Tara Patrick

Bea Arthur - Bernice Frankel

Hulk Hogan - Terry Jean Bollette ( You must admit Hulk sounds much scarier )

Michael Caine - Maurice Mickelwhite

Natalie Wood - Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko

Dirk Benedict - Dirk Niewoehner

Charles Bronson - Charles Buchinski

Yul Brynner - Taidje Khan JR

Stars From The World Of Music

In the world of music it is just as important to have a cool sounding name as it is in the world of films.


Elton John

Would Elton John have enjoyed as much success if he had kept his real name of Reginald Kenneth Dwight? John has received six Grammy Awards and 5 Brit Awards as well as selling 300 million records worldwide.

Katy Perry - Katy Hudson

George Michael - Georgios Panayiotou

Elvis Costello - Declan Patrick McManus

Dido - Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong

Courtney Love - Love Michelle Harrison

Meatloaf - Marvin Lee Addy

Captain Beefheart - Don Van Vliet

Tony Bennet - Anthony Dominic Benevetto

U2 One


The lead singer of U2 known for his philanphropic work was born Paul David Hewson in Dublin, Ireland in 1960. Also known as Bono Vox the singer is not the onlly member of U2 that goes by a pseudonym, guitarist The Edge has the real name of Dave Howell Evans.

Gene Simmons - Chaim Witz

David Bowie - David Jones

Bruno Mars - Peter Gene Hernandez

Johnny Rotten - John Lydon

Iggy Pop - James Newell Osterberg Jr

Little Richard - Richard Wayne Pennyman

Joni Mitchell - Roberta Joan Anderson

Freddie Mercury - Frederick Bulsara


Buddy Holly

Incredibly Holly only enjoyed chart success for a year and a half before his untimely death in an airplane crash in 1959. Holly was a tremendous influence on other musicians including The Beatles and Bob Dylan and his death inspired the song American Pie by Don Maclean.The singers full name was Charles Hardin Holley.

Shania Twain - Eileen Regina Edwards

Stevie Wonder - Steveland Judkins

Dusty Springfield - Mary Isobel Catherine O’Brien

Lady Gaga - Stefani Joanne Angelina Germotta

Jay Z - Shaun Corey Carter

Prince / Symbol - Prince Rogers Nelson

Lou Reed - Luis Firbank

Axl Rose - William Bailey


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    • Geekdom profile image

      Geekdom 4 years ago

      Thanks for sharing the fun movie/celebrity trivia. I especially liked when you added why they changed it. Always fun to learn a stars real name. Besides when John Travolta gives his ideas.