Names are interesting little things. They go hand in hand with organs since these two are things every single human on this Earth has. Much like organs, there are also people who don’t like their names. And if you were wondering why we pitched organs to draw a parallel here, it’s because a few of the guys and gals on this list really seem to hate some of their organs just as much as they hate their birth names. And yes, the most common organ hated by the people on this list is their liver. Hollywood, right?
But, body parts aside, names are the kind of thing everyone has, but not everyone is happy with the one they got. Whether it is because you don’t think your name sounds cool, because it is weird, or because your parents met at Woodstock and then decided to ride the wave until you were born, these days, people have the means to change their names. Sometimes, you don’t even have to do it legally, as is the case with a lot of celebrities. These people just come up with stage names and work under them. That being said, there are two categories of celebrities who use fake names. There are those who made a good call since their birth names were either weird or not fit for the entertainment industry, and there are the people who needlessly changed away from their birth names. Here, we have pitched together 10 of each. Let’s see if you agree with us on whether a celebrity made a good trade or if they should’ve kept the name their parents gave them.
20 Good Call - Miley Cyrus
Sometimes, celebrities change their names at a rather young age. When you are a child star, it is not surprising to see someone changing to a stage name whenever they are going to tackle on an acting or even a singing career. An example of someone with both of those things was Miley Cyrus. Miley is a one-of-a-kind character, and a lot of people would say that it was destiny that she would become as famous as she did. And that phrase is even funnier than you first realized because her real name is Destiny. Yes,
Miley was born Destiny Hope Cyrus all the way back in 1992.
Somewhere along the way, either she or her parents thought it would be a good idea to change her stage name to Miley, which turned out to be a good deal since you will have a hard time finding someone who does not know the name Miley Cyrus.
19 Why? - Katy Perry
A lot of celebrity stage names come from the beginning of their careers, but a few of them also happened because a celebrity could be trying to steer away from confusion because their name is similar to the name of another established celebrity. That was the case with Katy Perry. The celebrated musician
was actually born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson. Did you connect the dots yet? If we were to abbreviate that name, we would have Kate Hudson.
Although she could have stuck with her name and went with Katy Hudson, Katy Perry decided to change the last name, which does make sense. Still, we would have no problem having a Kate and a Katy Hudson in the world. That sounds fun. If anything, where money is concerned, Katy could have probably paid Kate Hudson to change her name. After all, Katy has a net worth of $210 million while Kate is worth about $38 million.
18 Good Call - Charlie Sheen
When it comes to stage names, few are as known as Charlie Sheen.
Born Carlos Irwin Estevez, Charlie certainly Americanized his name in order to appeal to a broader audience.
Many people say that he didn’t like the name he was born with, but that is none of our business. At the end of the day, changing his name to Charlie Sheen was arguably one of the few good choices this guy has made throughout his life. After all, this is Hollywood we are talking about. Would you put it past anyone that those big bosses down in California would discriminate someone just because his last name sounded Hispanic? Maybe it was not a good deal in terms of increasing diversity and empowering minorities, but changing his name was certainly a good deal for Charlie’s career. Too bad he eventually burned that bridge anyway.
17 Why? - Nicki Minaj
This one might be a little bit controversial depending on your taste. Some people could say that Nicki is an easy name to say and one that sticks with people after they hear it. But we honestly think that if Nicki Minaj had decided to stick with her birth name, she would have been golden too.
Her real name is Onika Tanya Minaj. And say what you will, but we think Onika is an awesome name, especially for an artist.
This is the kind of name that people would not forget. Sometimes, it seems like actors, musicians, and everyone in the entertainment industry want to make their names seem more “regular” so that they can appeal to a larger audience. Nevertheless, when you have a cool name like this, maybe sticking with it for a bit could prove to be a better choice.
16 Good Call - Blake Lively
This one is another question of taste and that of a business-minded approach. Think about the entry we just showed you. The reason why Nicki Minaj maybe should have stuck with her birth name was that her original name had a powerful sound to it. It was one of those names that would draw people to it like “hey, I want to hear a little bit more about Onika.”
Now, let’s shift gears and check out the complete opposite. Nothing against people with the last name Brown. After all, you don’t really choose your last name. But in a world as colorful as Hollywood is when it comes to last names, maybe something as common as Brown is not the way to go.
That, in turn, made it an easy decision for Blake Brown to change her name to Blake Lively.
15 Why? - Olivia Munn
One of the most common things for celebrities to use as their stage name is their middle name. Sometimes, it could make sense, but other times, it just makes us wonder why someone would do that. If your first name is not weird and your second name is not something out of this world that would turn your brand into a household sensation, why would you not use your first name? Let’s take Olivia Munn as an example of this.
She was born in Oklahoma City as Lisa Olivia Munn.
So why not just be Lisa in front of the cameras? It is not a weird name at all, and it is not as if Olivia would attract any more attention than Lisa when it comes to gathering a following. Maybe she had some other reason we just don’t know about.
14 Good Call - Kat Dennings
Perhaps the best reason for someone to start using a stage name is if their real name could prove a hindrance when it comes to people saying it. Yes, some guys and gals are proud of having super long and tough to spell names, but they could, in turn, prove to be a problem if your fans get tired of saying your name. If that is the case, perhaps changing to something simpler could be the answer. Kat Dennings, for example, is someone who probably started using a stage name because it would be easier to say than her real name.
She was born Katherine Litwack. Some people might not have any trouble, but others might start stumbling on that pronunciation.
Either way, Kat Dennings turn out to be a pretty cool and catchy name to go with.
13 Why? - Courtney Love
Let’s go to the world of music for a bit. We talked about Katy Perry and how she changed her name in order to avoid confusion with another star’s already established name, but there are musicians who just changed their names for the hell of it. Some of them have a good reason, but some of them just turn out to be odd choices.
Courtney Love is someone who decided to go with something other than her original last name whenever she went up on stage to perform.
Again, this is a personal decision but one that doesn’t really make much sense. Sure, having the last name Love could be an allusion to your music and whatnot. But she was born Courtney Michelle Harrison. What’s wrong with that name? Would anyone really choose to listen to her music just because her last name is Love instead of Harrison? Probably not.
12 Good Call - Steven Tyler
While some of them do just change their names for the hell of it, some have a good reason. We are still talking about musicians, and one of them who had a solid reason to change his name was Steven Tyler. First of all, when you become such an icon of music, it is almost impossible for people to go back and say something like “maybe you should have stuck with your birth name.” No, the name Steven Tyler is already imprinted in the history of rock ‘n’ roll. And saying anything against it could be considered blasphemy by his fans. More than that, we also have to take into account that
his real name is Steven Victor Tallarico.
Nothing against the Tallarico clan, but that does not seem like the kind of last name a legendary rock star would have.
11 Why? - Jodie Foster
Sometimes, a stage name can just be a nickname someone picked up along the way. Jodie Foster, for example,
was born Alicia Christian Foster.
While we have no idea where that nickname came from, we still find that there was not really much reason for her not to use her first name and become Alicia Foster instead of Jodie. At the same time, it is not like this would have made much of a difference in her career. After all, when you are someone who has won a pair of Academy Awards as well as a couple of Golden Globes, no one is going to be saying anything about your choice of stage name. Although, we can honestly say that it would be amazing if her stage name were Clarice. Yeah, props to you if you got the joke.
10 Good Call - Alison Brie
Remember how we said that sometimes choosing a stage name could be the answer to avoid having people getting confused because of a ridiculously tough-to-say last name? Well, we just found the person who best embodies this idea. When you first hear the name Alison Brie, you may think that this is a pretty cool name and most definitely her birth name. However,
it turns out that Alison Brie is the actress' real name, but not all of it. That is just a combination of her first and middle name. Her last name is actually Schermerhorn.
And yes, we are definitely puzzled about how the hell someone would say that. Yes, it might be easy for some folks, but try to imagine if English was not your first language and you were a fan who just found out that this was Alison’s real last name. You would be running laps, trying to figure out how to say it. I know I am.
9 Why? - Jamie Foxx
Musicians do seem to have a way of coming up with catchy new names to use on stage. A perfect example of that was Jamie Foxx. First of all, the two x’s on the last name were a stroke of genius, but it was still unnecessary. Sure, he might have been trying to adapt to his audience, but when you have a cool name like Eric Bishop, you don’t really have to do much adapting in order to get a following. Seriously, that sounds like an undefeated boxer’s name. “Did you watch the last Bishop fight? He knocked the other guy out cold.” We could see ourselves saying something like that. Either way,
Eric Marlon Bishop decided it would be best for his career if he came up with a stage name.
And that stage name was Jamie Foxx. We are not saying it was not a good call, just that it wasn’t necessary.
8 Good Call - Sasha Grey
When you reach stardom through the avenue that Sasha Grey used, it probably is a good idea to come up with a stage name. You seriously will not hear about an adult film star who stars under her or his birth name. Now, most of these people are not ashamed of what they do, but it is just a given that the name they come up with is not the name in their birth certificate. In case you were wondering,
Sasha Grey was actually born Marina Ann Hantzis.
Although we could see the name Marina Hantzis becoming a successful one in the mainstream movie industry like she is trying to do, it would be a shame for our dear Maria to give up the massive following she gathered as Sasha Grey.
7 Why? - Sigourney Weaver
We know that saying anything that is not a compliment about the legendary Ellen Ripley could backfire big time if a die-hard Alien fan came across this article. But since we are not going to talk smack about the character, who has an amazing name if we might add, we think we are pretty safe on this topic. The actress behind the legend of Ripley is a New York actress named Sigourney Weaver. And no, Sigourney is not actually her birth name. Yeah, she chose to go with that name, believe it or not.
Her birth name is actually Susan Alexandra Weaver.
That brings up the question of why someone who has a solid name for the entertainment industry like Susan would change it to Sigourney. Susan Weaver does seem like the name of someone who could be famous.
6 Good Call - Diane Kruger
Here is another actress to join the ranks of our favorite stars who changed their last name for the sake of their fans. It takes a big person to realize that folks will have a hard time pronouncing your last name. Or worse, how hard would it be for people to spell your last name if it ever came up in a quiz on their phones? Someone who thought dearly of her fans when coming up with a stage name was Diane Kruger. The German-American actress and former fashion model adapted to her new reality by coming up with the stage name Diane Kruger.
Her first name is actually Diane, but her last name is about as German as they come. She was born Diane Heidkrüger.
You see how some fans could have trouble with that last name, right?
5 Why? - Kelly Preston
Kelly Preston did come up with a solid stage name. It is simple, it is catchy, and people love it. The thing here is that this actress is Hawaiian. And if you are not familiar with it, people from Hawaii have some of the most awesome names you will find on this Earth. If you don’t believe us, just check this out.
Kelly Preston’s birth name is actually Kelly Kamalelehua Smith. Yes, how great is that?
Wouldn’t you go watch a movie if you saw that the name of the lead actress was Kelly Kamalelehua? We probably would. In an age of inclusion and everything else, staying true to her roots could have been a great way for Kelly to appeal to an even larger audience. Better yet, imagine if she took her husband’s last name and became Kelly Kamalelehua Travolta.
4 Good Call - Jane Seymour
God bless the British people. Not only do they have that accent, but they also have some of the best names in the entertainment industry. And when we say best names, we mean that not only do they have birth names that fit perfectly into the industry, but whenever a British person comes up with a stage name, it seems like it was tailor-made for them. Take Jane Seymour as an example. This Golden Globe-winning actress could have gone either way when it comes to the name she would use for her career.
You will have a hard time finding anyone who can contest her decision to become Jane Seymour in front of both the big and small screens. Nevertheless, her birth name is pretty solid too as she was born Joyce Penelope Wilhelmina Frankenberg.
3 Why? - Albert Brooks
Here is a hint we would give any wannabe celebrity when they start deciding whether or not they will use their birth name or a stage name for their careers. If your parents have given you a name that will undoubtedly call for attention whenever it is spoken, you should probably go with that name.
Let’s say your parents decided to name you Albert Lawrence Einstein. Why would you change that?
Sure, if you had the intention of becoming a scientist, this could become an open door to some very unflattering comparisons since anyone would have a hard time measuring up to the original Albert Einstein. But if you want to be a comedian, this is nothing short of a goldmine for jokes. Comedians love to make fun of themselves. Just imagine the jokes that Albert Brooks could come up with if he stuck with his birth name.
2 Good Call - John Wayne
Get ready for a tough pill to swallow. John Wayne’s real name is not actually John Wayne. Yeah, arguably one of the most the legendary actors of all time, Wayne played out his entire career from behind the curtain of a stage name.
The King of westerns was born in 1907 and was named by his parents Marion Robert Morrison.
First, let’s just say that Marion Morrison is not a bad name at all. It doesn’t sound like something you would get out of a Western, but we could see that as the name of an actor excelling in another genre of cinema. Either way, everyone should be thankful that this guy decided to go with the professional name John Wayne. Honestly, you will have a hard time finding a name that sounded as great within its genre as John Wayne’s.
1 Why? - Chevy Chase
Chevy Chase has just completed 50 years in his career as an actor, comedian, and writer. That is a lot of time to spend under a stage name. And yes, if you didn’t know it yet, Chevy Chase is a stage name. It is an okay stage name, definitely not what our first choice would have been if we were in his shoes, but still a solid decision. Nevertheless, this guy falls under the category of someone who really did not have to change or steer away from his birth name.
He was born Cornelius Crane Chase.
As a rule of thumb, if you are someone who was lucky enough to be born with a name that sounds as powerful and regal as Cornelius, you should really try to build your brand around it.