Celebrities change their names for many reasons; to make them easier to spell and pronounce, shorten their last name, disassociate from a specific ethnicity, to name a few. According to the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), every actor or actress’s stage name must be unique so to differentiate themselves, many actors adopt a new name or insert a middle name or initial to stand out from their peers.
Think you know all about your favourite artists? Check out this list for some unusual and surprising name changes.
- American beauty Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada.
- Lisa Bonet became Lilakoi Moon although her acting credits are listed under her original legal name.
- Gorgeous Eric Banadinovic became actor Eric Bana.
- Steven Victor Tallarico later became Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler.
- Russell Tyrone Jones (aka Old Dirty Bastdard) changed his name to Big Baby Jesus. Too bad his new name didn’t reflect a new life as he died from a drug overdose in 2004.
- Before he was knighted, actor Michael Caine was known as Maurice Joseph Micklewhite.
- Nicki Minaj was born Onika Tanya Maraj.
- Declan Patrick McManus changed his name to Elvis Costello. We don’t blame him.
- Award-winning actress Dame Helen Mirren was born Ilynea Lydia Mironoff
- Country singer Shania Twain was born Eileen Regina Edwards.
- To increase her chances of succeeding in Hollywood, Caryn Elaine Johnson changed her name to Whoopie Goldberg.
- Wynonna Judd was born Christina Claire Ciminella.
- Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson changed her name to become best-selling recording artist Katy Perry.
- Last year, LA Lakers forward Ron Artest (born Ronald William Artest Jr) changed his name to Metta World Peace.
- Jermaine Jackson, also known as Mohammad Abdul Aziz, is reportedly changing his name to Jacksun for artistic reasons. Not sure if this will be the career game changer.
- Multi-talented Eric Marlon Bishop studied classical music, played piano for his church choir and after dabbling in comedy, changed his name to Jamie Foxx.
Would you change your name to help increase your chance of success in Hollywood or do you consider that selling out?