Celebrity names, before the fame, they were someone else entirely

I always knew there would be celebrities who changed their name. "of course!" we cry! Who's going to be famous with a name like John Smith? Or Sarah Thomas?
No! Get thee a snazzy name like Gisele Bundchen (do not attempt this name if you are not a leggy, gorgeous Brazilian model) or a single name like Rihanna/Madonna/Eminem. So here they are, altogether, for your trivia pleasure.

Celebs who ditched their real name, Understandably, and traded up-
Kirk Douglas ... real name: Issur Danielovitch. His names change has gone onto affect three generations of actors. I wonder if they feel dispossessed at all?
Woody Allen ... real name: Allen Konigsberg
George Michael ... real name: Georgious Panayioukou
Winona Ryder ... real name: Winona Laura Horowitz
Demi Moore ... real name: Demetria Guynes
Elton John ... real name: Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Snoop Dogg ... real name: Cordazer Calvin Broadus
Shania Twain ... real name: Eileen Regina Edwards
Miley Cyrus ... real name: Destiny Hope Cyrus, apparently "Cyrus gained her nickname "Miley" because she kept smiling ("Smiley") as a youngster."
Shakira ... real name: Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll
Gene Simmons ... real name: Chaim Witz
Mel Brooks ... real name: Melvin Kaminski- I'm not good with recognising the origin of names, but even I can tell this is Jewish...
Elle Macpherson ... real name: Eleanor Nancy Gow
Wtf? What was wrong with your real name?
Daniel Michaeli became Danny DeVito ...
Laura Jean Reese Witherspoon became Reese Witherspoon ... {no With-a-knife}
Thomas Woodward became Tom Jones ... snappier I suppose...
Jay Greenspan became Jason Alexander ... these are entirely interchangeable to me...
Alicia Christian Foster became Jodie Foster ...
Christopher Ashton Kutcher became Ashton Kutcher ... I guess Christopher Kutcher was a bit too alliterative for him? Just think, Demi Moore could have been Demetria Guynes-Kutcher. Bit Eastern bloc hey....
I guess I can see it a bit more with..
Alicia Augello Cook became Alicia Keys ...
Carlos Ray became Chuck Norris ... this makes him sound more suited to a piano bar that serves all night margarita's from girls in lime green spandex.
Tom Mapother IV! became Tom Cruise ... {Does this make Katie Holmes = Kate Mapother [I] ?}
Robert Zimmerman became Bob Dylan ...
David Robert Jones became David Bowie ...if only he'd known he could have cashed in on an association with an Australian Department store....
Ringo Starr was Richard Starkey
Carmen Electra was Tara Leigh Patrick
.... But still, there was nothing really wrong with their names.

Celebs who traded in a so-so "vanilla" name for a pretty cool one
Vin Diesel ...his real name is Mark Vincent
Portia De Rossi ... her real name is Amanda Lee Rogers {Amanda Degeneres?}
Busta Rhymes ... his real name is... Trevor Smith -Ho Hum!
50 Cent ... his real name is Curtis Jackson.... I think you can forgive rappers though, they're expected to have awesome names.
Axl Rose ... real name William Bailey
Boy George ... real name George Alan O'Dowd
Whoopi Goldberg ... real name Caryn Johnson *yawn* I wonder how she came up with Whoopi Goldberg? Reason suggested here, but I don't trust the accuracy...
Jamie Foxx ... real name Eric Bishop- quite nerdy isn't it?
Seems a lot more common with music types than actor types to change your name to something quite cool.
Queen Latifah was Dana Owens
Kid Rock was Bob Ritchie!
Sigourney Weaver, Orginally Susan Weaver, she picked out her unusual new name from a character in the novel, The Great Gatsby.
Ludacris is actually Brian Bridges

and Hmmm...
Angelina Jolie ...whose real name is Angelina Jolie Voight and
Nicole Richie ... whose real name is Nicole Camilla Escovedo
Interestingly while Nicole Richie changed her name to credit her famous father, Angelina Jolie ditched the obvious link to her father Jon Voight, I wonder if she finds it weird being addressed by her middle name as her surname though. My middle name is May, and I would find it very weird to be called Mrs May.
And the famous exceptions. The two big stars who refused to change their names: Arnold Schwarznegger and Raquel Welch.

Other Celebrity name stories~

Oprah is actually a typo. Her parents wanted to use the biblical name Orpah, but the midwife couldn't spell so it became Oprah.
Nicolas Cage started life as Nicholas Coppola, but changed it to disassociate himself with famous film director Uncle Francis Ford Coppola. The name 'Cage' came from the comic book character 'Luke Cage'.
Michael Crawford - The Phantom of the Opera star was once called Michael Dumble-Smith. The unsurprising desire for a name change was concluded after he saw a passing Crawford's buscuit lorry.
I can't help but wonder who comes up with these names? I would agonise about changing my name!

3 kindred spirits ~ This bugs them too!:

K said...
July 21, 2008 12:28 PM

I'm suprised you didn't list Marilyn Monroe (previously Norma Jean Baker)

A lot of Agents suggest name changes, either to make names more memorable or to distance themselves from other actors with similar names. Its also why lots of child stars go by full names (Jonathan Taylor Thomas, Sarah Michelle Gellar etc). There are so many child actors around the names double up. The once they're known by something it sticks.

And people like Michael Douglas - it just wasn't cool to have a European name during and in the decades after the war. Even if you were obvioulsy of migrant stock, westernising your name meant that you were "American".

I have a stage name ready for my big break. You know - just in case. It my real first name (I like my name - Kate) and my maternal grandmother's maiden name (Darke). Remember me when I'm famous! You can be my date to the Ooscars (H wouldn't want to come anyway)

Dataceptionist said...
July 21, 2008 2:12 PM

I actually had a section called "the usual suspects" with Marilyn Monroe, Madonna, Elton John for people you immediately associate with name change, but ditched it LOL

I like your child actor reason greatly, it makes sense.

Hahaha and I'm Pussy Farnell. Oh wait, that's my P*rn star name.

Finally we find out your name!! I've been tossing possibilities around for a while, but I didn't pick Kate. :)

K said...
July 21, 2008 3:35 PM

Haha - what did you think it might have been?
I use K for the blog cause H calls me that when he's being lazy. And I didn't even notice until he told me (no idea how that came up) cause they sound so similar when hollered across the house.

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