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Celebrities Who Changed Their Names

Updated on July 10, 2022
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Margaret Minnicks has been an online writer for many years. She writes about interesting things.

Stage 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 celebrities have been asked to change their names for various reasons.

Reasons Celebrities Change Their Names

Managers, directors, or producers might ask celebrities 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 the name will be changed.

Long Name
Short Name
Clayton Holmes Grissom
Clay Aiken
Allen Stewart Konigsberg
Woody Allen
Jean-Claude Camille Fran├žois Van Varenberg
Jean-Claude Van Damme
Doris von Kappelhoff
Doris Day
Eric Marlon Bishop
Jamie Foxx
John Elroy Sanford
Redd Foxx
Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Elton John
Demetria Gene Guynes
Demi Moore
Issur Danielovitch Demsky
Kirk Douglas
Caryn Elaine Johnson
Whoopi Goldberg
Christopher Ashton Kutcher
Ashton Kutcher
Norma Jean Baker
Marilyn Monroe
Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra
Meg Ryan
Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg
Jane Seymour
Christian Michael Leonard Hawkins
Christian Slater
Laura Jeanne Reese Witherspoon
Reese Witherspoon
John Elroy Sanford is Redd Foxx
John Elroy Sanford is Redd Foxx | Source

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.

Jamie Foxx changed his name to be like his idol Redd Foxx.
Jamie Foxx changed his name to be like his idol Redd Foxx.

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.

Names Similar to Real Names

Real Name
Stage Name
Julie Wells
Julie Andrews
David Jones
David Bowie
Nicolas Coppola
Nicolas Cage
Sally Mahoney.
Sally Field
Diane Hall.
Diane Keaton
Wynona Horowitz.
Wynona Ryder
Ronald Walken
Christopher Walken
William Bradley Pitt
Brad Pitt

Celebrities Who Use All Three Names

  • Neil Patrick Harris

  • Sarah Jessica Parker
  • Michael Philip Thomas

Celebrities with a Middle Initial

Sometimes celebrities will use the entire time to be identified. Some of those celebrities include the following:

  • Mary J. Blige
  • Sterling K. Brown
  • Former President George W. Bush
  • Michael J. Fox
  • Vivica A. Fox
  • David S. Goyer
  • Taraji P. Henson
  • Samuel L. Jackson
  • Michael B. Jordan uses his middle initial to set himself apart from the basketball icon Michael Jordan.

  • William H. Macy
  • President Harry S. Truman used a middle initial even though he had no middle name.
  • Courtney B. Vance


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