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More Celebrity Stage Names

Tuesday, January 10, 2012, 18:34 EDT Leave a comment Go to comments

In re-reading my earlier post about rappers’ stage names, it occurred to me that readers might be interested in the Academy Award winners I mentioned when I made the comparison between the 1940s and the 2000s in terms of the use of stage names in the film industry. Here are the Best Actor and Best Actress winners between 1940 and 1950, inclusive, with stage names bolded and real names in parentheses where applicable. I don’t consider the use of a given middle name instead of a first name to be a name change, but I note such for informational purposes.

  • James Stewart
  • Gary Cooper (Frank James Cooper)
  • James Cagney
  • Paul Lukas (Pál Lukácz)
  • Bing Crosby
  • Ray Milland (Alfred Reginald Jones)
  • Fredric March (Ernest Frederick McIntyre Bickel)
  • Ronald Colman
  • Laurence Olivier
  • Broderick Crawford
  • José Ferrer
  • Ginger Rogers (Virginia Katherine McMath)
  • Joan Fontaine (Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland)
  • Greer Garson
  • Jennifer Jones (Phylis Lee Isley)
  • Ingrid Bergman
  • Joan Crawford (Lucille Fay LeSueur)
  • Olivia de Havilland
  • Loretta Young (Gretchen Michaela Young)
  • Jane Wyman
  • Judy Holliday (Judith Tuvim)

A few notes: “Bing” was the childhood nickname of Harry Lillis Crosby and, as such, isn’t really a name change. Jane Wyman’s family name was Mayfield, but at the beginning of her career she was married to Ernest Eugene Wyman and used her married name. Paul Lukas appears to have anglicized his Hungarian name, which some might not consider a change of name; as the granddaughter and great-granddaughter of immigrants, some of whom unwillingly had their surnames changed by immigration officials, I am biased in favor of one’s original name, however ethnic it might be. Greer Garson and Jane Wyman used their middle names rather than their first names.

Now, for comparison purposes, are the Best Actor and Best Actress winners from 2000 to 2010, inclusive:

  • Russell Crowe
  • Denzel Washington
  • Adrien Brody
  • Sean Penn
  • Jamie Foxx (Eric Marlon Bishop)
  • Philip Seymour Hoffman
  • Forest Whitaker
  • Daniel Day-Lewis
  • Jeff Bridges
  • Colin Firth
  • Julia Roberts
  • Halle Berry
  • Nicole Kidman
  • Charlize Theron
  • Hilary Swank
  • Reese Witherspoon
  • Helen Mirren (Helen Mironoff)
  • Marion Cotillard
  • Kate Winslet
  • Sandra Bullock
  • Natalie Portman (Natalie Hershlag)

Notes: Halle Berry was born Maria Halle Berry, but her first and middle names were legally reversed when she was still a child. Reese Witherspoon uses a middle name.

Just for fun, here are some other real names of celebrities past and present:

  • “Dear Abby” Abigail Van Buren (Pauline Phillips)
  • Al Jolson (Asa Yoelson)
  • Alan Alda (Alphonso D’Abruzzo)
  • Alicia Keys (Alicia Augello Cook)
  • Billie Holliday (Eleanora Fagan)
  • Bruce Lee (Lee Yuen Kam)
  • Charlie Sheen (Carlos Irwin Estevez)
  • Clay Aiken (Clayton Holmes Grissom)
  • Demi Moore (Demetria Guynes)
  • Elle MacPherson (Elenor Gow)
  • Fergie (Stacey Ann Ferguson)
  • George Burns (Nathan Birnbaum)
  • Jason Alexander (Jay Scott Greenspan)
  • Jon Bon Jovi (John Francis Bongiovi)
  • Lady Gaga (Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta)
  • Marilyn Manson (Brian Warner)
  • Mylie Cyrus (Destiny Hope Cyrus)
  • Olivia Wilde (Olivia Jane Cockburn)
  • Ray Charles (Ray Charles Robinson)
  • Red Buttons (Aaron Chwatt)
  • Robert Blake (Michael James Vijencio Gubitosi)
  • Rodney Dangerfield (Jacob Cohen)
  • Shania Twain (Eileen Regina Edwards)
  • Stan Laurel (Arthur Jefferson)
  • Tony Randall (Leonard Rosenberg)
  • Whoopie Goldberg (Caryn Johnson)
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