15 Actors Who Use Stage Names Because Their Real Names Are Bonkers

Stage names are kind of like STDs in college, almost everyone's got one but most people just don't really know about it. Most stage names are boring, just shortened or similar first names. Some actors use their middle names because their first names are already in use or too common. It seems that the goal of a stage name is to separate you from other actors, become a little more recognizable than most common names would allow. Some of the most famous names that we know are simply made up. With many of the members on this list, there's an interesting story as to how or why they chose their name. Sometimes they were inspired by another actor or a movie. Other times they were inspired by a situation. Whatever the inspiration, these stage names are now how we know these actors. In most cases, we would never even know the original name. Some of these stage names are still only a stage name; the actors never actually changed it legally.

The common denominator here is that these people have all been living a lie. These actors have misled their fans, made them think they were something that were not. Sure, with some celebs it’s obvious that their names are stage names, like Benedict Cumberbatch surely isn't his real name; we're not that stupid. But others have let us into their lives. They let us get close to them and introduced us to their families, then we find out they aren't who they said they are. When we find out that Faith Hill's real name is Audrey Faith Perry, we feel abandoned. Is there nothing sacred anymore? Next, we're going to hear something shattering like P. Diddy isn't actually Puff Daddy's real name just shortened.

Call me crazy, but I think if celebrities are going to make us spend our own money to buy a camera so that we can interrupt their family dinner at a restaurant and take a picture of them and have them sign an autograph for us, then they should have to tell us their real names and their family's accurate history. It's only fair. But since most celebrities don't feel this way, I've put together this list that outs these actors' real names. You'll never look at them the same again. Here are 15 actors who wisely chose to use a stage name.

15 Vin Diesel – Mark Sinclair Vincent

14 David Bowie – David Robert Jones


13 Joaquin Phoenix - Joaquin Rafael Bottom

12 12 Lady Gaga - Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta

11 Téa Leoni – Elizabeth Téa Pantaleoni

10 Portia de Rossi – Amanda Lee Rogers

9 Jamie Foxx – Eric Marlon Bishop

8 Chevy Chase – Cornelius Crane Chase

7 Natalie Portman – Neta-Lee Hershlag

6 Kirk Douglas – Issur Danielovitch Demsky

5 Whoopi Goldberg – Caryn Elaine Johnson

4 Ben Kingsley – Krishna Pandit Bhanji

3 Michael Caine – Maurice Joseph Micklewhite

2 Michael Keaton – Michael Douglas

1 Marilyn Monroe – Norma Jeane Mortenson


There are many different stories about Marilyn Monroe's beginnings, and her naming is one that has several different versions depending on who you listen to. It all started with Norma Jeane Mortenson, the first version of Marilyn Monroe. In 1942, when Norma Jeane was 16-years old, she married Jim Dougherty and became Norma Jeane Dougherty. Then the story shifts to Ben Lyon, a studio executive who got Norma Jeane Dougherty her first screen test. Apparently, Lyon just hated the name Norma Jeane Dougherty and wanted her to change it. He suggested Marilyn because of Marilyn Miller, a famous stage performer, and Monroe was Norma Jeane's family name. Together they formed one of the most recognizable names ever created.

Sources: Wikipedia; IMDB; Rotten Tomatoes

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15 Actors Who Use Stage Names Because Their Real Names Are Bonkers