28 Celebrities Who Use Stage Names
November 14th, 2013 1:03pm EST
Many celebrities have changed their names before they hit it big, and for many reasons. Let's take a look at some of the biggest stars who didn't take their birth name to Hollywood.
Katy Hudson didn't want to be confused with Kate Hudson, so she took her mother's maiden name and became Katy Perry.
Oprah Winfrey's name is iconic, but it's not actually her real name. It's Orpha, after the biblical figure. However, so many people mispronounced her name while she was growing up that the mispronunciation stuck.
Barry Manilow was born Barry Alan Pincus. He took his mother's maiden name around the time of his Bar Mitzvah.
Alison Brie is actually Alison Brie Schermerhorn. It's pronounced "Skermerhorn," and she hated the mispronunciation so much she just lopped it off.
Louis C.K. made his moniker by simply spelling out the pronunciation of his real last name, Szekely.
Elisabeth Banks changed her last name from Mitchell, so she wouldn't be confused with the Lost star.
Michael Caine is really Maurice Joseph Micklewhite and he wanted Michael Scott as his stage name, but it was taken. Hurried to come up with a new name, he lifted one from a nearby poster for Caine's Mutiny.
Frederick Austerlitz's mother convinced him to change his name to Fred Astaire, reportedly due to the name of a battle fought by Napoleon.
Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg picked Henry VIII's third wife, Jane Seymour, for her stage name.
Natalie Portman changed her name from Natalie Hershlag to protect her family while she was a child actor in Leon: The Professional.
Wolfgang Johannes Topfschnig changed his name to Wolfgang Puck after his father deserted his mother, and adopted the family name of his mother's second husband.
Mel Brooks changed his name from Melvin Kaminsky due to a famous trumpet play named Max Kaminsky. He altered his mother's maiden name, Brookman, and adopted that instead. Perhaps as an in-joke, he named his son Max.
Reginald Kenneth Dwight reportedly made his stage name by taking two of his favorite blues musicians: Elton Dean and Long John Baldry. Thus, Elton John was born.
Elizabeth Stamatina Fey created her stage name by getting rid of most of her real one to create Tina Fey. That middle name is pretty cool, though.
Eric Marlon Bishop was a young comedian with an idea. After seeing women get picked first during open mic nights at clubs, he began signing up as Jamie Foxx and the rest is history. His last name is a tribute to the late Redd Foxx.
Chevy Chase was born Cornelius Crane Chase. His Grandmother gave him the nickname Chevy, after the song "The Ballad of Chevy Chase."
Krishna Bhanji was told by his father that he would only make it in cinema if he had an English name, so he created Ben Kingsley.
Bob Dylan says he was influenced by poetry of Dylan Thomas, which is why he took the poet's first name as his last, rather than being billed as Robert Allen Zimmerman.
Alan Alda was born Alfonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo. He made his stage name by taking the first two letters of his real first and last name.
Tom Cruise has a better ring to it than Thomas Cruise Mapother IV.
Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez changed his name out of necessity after he realized it was hampering his acting prospects in the 60s. He adopted Martin Sheen from the name of a CBS casting director who hired him and evangelist Fulton Sheen. Carlos Estevez followed in his footsteps and became Charlie Sheen.
Allan Stewart Konigsberg changed his name to Heywood Allen around the age of 17 when he began writing material for newspapers.
Susan Alexandra Weaver chose her stage name from a minor character in The Great Gatsby and became Sigourney Weaver.
Lawrence Harvey Zeiger was told by radio managers his name was too ethnic, so he looked in the newspaper and took Larry King, after King's wholesale liquor.
Destiny Hope Cyrus was nicknamed Smiley as an infant due to her habit of grinning so often. It was later shortened to Miley.
Caryn Elaine Johnson was told she was like a whoopee cushion, and the name Whoopi stuck. Her mother then told her to get a Jewish name to make it in show business, and she adopted Goldberg.
Nicolas Cage didn't want his real name, Nicolas Kim Coppola, to be linked to his uncle Francis Ford Coppola. Instead, he took his last name from the comic book character Luke Cage.
Issur Danielovitch adopted the name Kirk Douglas as he began acting school.
Olivia Jane Cockburn changed to name to Olivia Wilde, in a tribute to Oscar Wilde.
When Archibald Alexander Leach became a naturalized citizen of the United States, he changed his name to Cary Grant.
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