Many celebrities drop their own names and take on more fashionable ones for their careers. There are lots of reasons why celebs change their names and it can be interesting to know what these famous people are really called. Check out the list of 10 celebrities who have changed their names for fame.
1. Demi Moore
Born Demetria Gene Guynes, the actress found the name Moore after she married for the first time in 1984. She kept the name even after she divorced. Incidentally, her daughter Tallulah changed her name, too. In 2007, Bruce Willis came on The Late Show with David Letterman and announced his daughter’s plans to change her name from Tallulah to Lula.
2. Katy Perry
Photo: Sean MacEntee
Born Kathryn Hudson, the singer’s first record release was a Christian gospel album. She used her real name on it. Before she broke into the big time, though, she felt that the name Kathryn Hudson might one day be shortened to Kate Hudson, a name that was already famous in Hollywood. The name she chose was Perry, her mother’s maiden name.
3. Natalie Portman
When Natalie was born in Jerusalem to her Israeli father and American mother, she was named Natalie Herschlag. When she got her first part (in the movie Leon: The Professor), she worried that her fame would make it hard for her family to have privacy. That was when she decided to take the name Portman – the maiden name of her paternal grandmother.
4. Whoopi Goldberg
Photo: Mark Taylor
The Academy Award-winning comedian was born Caryn Elaine Johnson. As she worked the theater circuit in San Diego, she developed an embarrassing flatulence problem that her friends would often call her out on. Rather than shrink out of embarrassment, she decided to embrace her problem. Since her friends would call her Whoopee after the sound a whoopee cushion made, she decided to take the name. The Goldberg part came when she decided that she could rise more quickly in Hollywood if she picked a more Jewish name than Johnson.
5. Jodie Foster
Photo: Loren Javier
The real name of The Silence of the Lambs actress is Alicia Christian Foster. Her mother’s partner was a woman called Josephina Dominguez. Somehow, the first parts of her name, Jo and D, stuck as a first name for Alicia. At least, this is the version told in Foster Child: A Biography of Jodie Foster, a tell-all book by her brother.
6. Meg Ryan
Photo: Pierre Omidyar
The actress who played lovable, childlike women over her entire career, was born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra. Her stage name Ryan came from her maternal grandmother. The name Meg was a blend. Her nickname at home was Peggy. She decided to take the M from her own name Margaret and put it together with Peggy.
7. Freddie Mercury
The songwriter and singer behind We Will Rock You isn’t of English stock. He was from India and came from Farsi heritage. His real name was Farouk Bulsara, after his hometown Bulsar in the Indian state of Gujarat. Freddie grew up in Mumbai. Interested in music since childhood, he took the name Freddie simply because it sounded more “rockstar-like”. It was only after he formed Queen in 1970 that he decided to change his last name as well.
8. Cary Grant
Cary Grant is a suave name that seems fit for a Hollywood superstar. The actor didn’t consider Archibald Alexander Leach, his real name, very fashionable-sounding (Archibald Leach, incidentally, is what John Cleese’s character is called in the movie A Fish Called Wanda).
9. Elton John
The Sacrifice singer was born Reginald Kenneth Dwight. He chose to change his name to something shorter for publicity purposes. Elton John came from merging the names of Elton Dean and Long John Baldry – two saxophonists he admired.
10. Jamie Foxx
Photo: Walmart Corporate
The name Foxx tends to jump out as a made-up stage name. Born Eric Marlon Bishop, the comedian at one point chose the gender-neutral name Jamie because he believed that female-sounding names got picked more often for standup gigs. The name Foxx was picked in homage to the comedian Redd Foxx, whom he admired.
No one can really tell if changing a name helps one’s career. Having a cool name can’t hurt, though. Do you know other celebrities who have changed their names for fame? Do you think these celebs made good choices?