Stage names have been around since the dawn of Hollywood, and some of the most famous stars in history have gone by stage names, leaving behind fans who don't even know their real names. For example, many people don't know that Judy Garland was born Frances Ethel Gumm. Cary Grant was born Archibald Alexander Leach. Both of their birth names are quite the mouthful compared to the sleek, crisp sounding stage names they adopted, so it’s easy to understand why those stars opted for stage names.
Even some singers use stage names these days. Lana Del Rey debuted as Lizzie Grant, as her birth name is Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. Due to difficulty finding success, she changed her name, reinvented herself an emerged as Lana Del Rey, songstress that teenage girls in crop tops and floral crowns are crazy about. Katy Perry was born Katheryn Hudson so her name was Katy Hudson, which sounded a bit too similar to the already mega-star Kate Hudson. She went by Katy Perry so as to not be confused with the actress.
Actresses change their names for an assortment of reasons. Like Perry, they can sometimes change their name because there is already someone mega famous with their name or a name way too similar to theirs. The Screen Actors Guild does not allow two actors to register with the same name so if someone beat them to it, they won’t even really have a choice. The decision to change one’s name can also be based on the appeal of their birth name. Longer names that are difficult to say are deemed less likely to become a household name. This list is comprised of 10 beautiful actresses who, for one reason or another, adopted a stage name.
10 Natalie Portman
9 Demi Moore
8 Olivia Wilde
7 Winona Ryder
6 Rita Hayworth
5 Kim Cattrall
4 Portia De Rossi
3 Emma Stone
2 Blake Lively
1 Marilyn Monroe
Marilyn Monroe has been a legendary sex symbol for nearly 60 years. Her name instantly brings to mind the vision of her in that infamous white dress standing over the city grate or her breathy rendition of “Happy Birthday” for JFK. She was born Norma Jeane Mortenson but began using Marilyn Monroe in 1946 and legally changed her name to Marilyn Monroe in 1954. There are many different stories floating around about the origin of this name, but that’s understandable because you could imagine basically everyone wanting to take credit for the creation of Marilyn Monroe. The most common and widely believed to be true story is that Fox talent executive Ben Lyon chose the name Marilyn during her first screen test and then she suggested Monroe to be the last name. This may be the most successful (and sexiest) use of a stage name because can anyone really image a world in which Marilyn Monroe wasn't Marilyn Monroe?
Sources: Biography.com, Namecandy.com, Phactual.com
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