55 Celebrities Whose Real Names Will Surprise You (2023)

You might not have ever heard of “Maurice Micklewhite,” “Olivia Jane Cockburn” or “Diane Hall” — but you’ve certainly heard of the actors who were born with these names. When the Hollywood system started, people commonly took simplified versions of their names to make them easier for people to say.Doris Day is much simpler than “Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff” andClayton Holmes Grissom picked “Clay Aiken” when signing up for American Idol — because it was just more memorable. Or if you’re Albert Brooks, there’s no fucking possible way you can use your real name — because…well, you’ll see.

Here are 55 people whose real names might surprise you.

1. Katy Perry

Real Name: Katy Hudson

The singer changed her name to avoid confusion with that other Hudson she shares a name with: Kate Hudson.

2. Demi Moore

Real Name: Demetria Guynes

Her exes were born as “Walter Willis” and “Christopher Kutcher.”

3. Albert Brooks

Real Name: Albert Einstein

The reason for the name change should be pretty obvious.

4. Meg Ryan

Real Name: Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra

Is it just me or is her real name close to being a Fiona Apple album title?

5. Natalie Wood

Real Name: Natalia Nikolaevna Zakharenko

Born to Russian immigration parents, the young actress changed it to blend into the Hollywood times, like the SwedishGreta Lovisa Gustafsson, better known as Greta Garbo.

6. Woody Allen

Real Name: Allen Konigsberg

Come to think of it, Allen doesn’t sound very Jewish, does it?

7. Louis C.K.

Real Name: Louis Szekely

Louis C.K.’s stage name is barely such. It’s just an easier way to say his actual last name, which is pronounced “See-kay.”

8. Joaquin Phoenix

Real Name: Joaquin Rafael Bottom

If he were gay, that last name would be perfection.

9. Garrison Keillor

Real Name: Gary Edward Keillor

See? Even NPR personalities use stage names.

10. Chevy Chase

Real Name: Cornelius Crane Chase

The actor got his name from the traditional English song “The Ballad of Chevy Chase,” which (unfortunately) was not about an old racist who is difficult to work with and derails brilliant shows.

11. Tina Fey

Real Name: Elizabeth Stamatina Fey

(Video) 33 Celebrities Whose Real Names Will Surprise You

Like her 30 Rock character, Tina Fey’s real first name is “Liz.”

12. Ben Kingsley

Real Name: Krishna Pandit Bhanji

Like Barack Obama, Kingsley was born to a white mother and Kenyan father — of Indian Muslim descent.

13. Olivia Wilde

Real Name: Olivia Jane Cockburn

My last name rhymes with another word for a penis, which made Middle School rough. Olivia Cockburn, I’m here for you, if ever you need to talk.

14. Alan Alda

Real Name: Alphonso d’Abruzzo

Alda’s last name was concocted by putting together the first two letters of his first and last name. AL + DA = Alda.

15. Portia De Rossi

Real Name: Amanda Lee Rogers

I guess she figured that “Portia de Rossi” had more zest to it than “Amanda Rogers.” She was probably right.

16. Diane Keaton

Real name: Diane Hall

In real life, she shares a last name with her most famous character, Annie Hall.

17. Michael Caine

Real Name: Maurice Micklewhite

Michael Caine named himself after Humphrey Bogart’s character in “The Caine Mutiny.”

18. Larry King

Real Name: Lawrence Harvey Zeigler

King was born to an Austrian father and mother from Belarus, both of whom were Orthodox Jews living in New York in the 1930s. All of this sounds like the set up to a Woody Allen bit.

19. George Michael

Real Name: Georgios Panayiotou

He should have just changed his name to “Glory Hole.” At least it’s truth in advertising.

20. Whoopi Goldberg

Real Name: Caryn Johnson

Her stage name was concocted from her ability to fart a lot. (If you’ve seen her 1 in 3 commercials, you know she’s made quite the weird career out of bodily functions.) Her mother advised her to take a Jewish last name, arguing that it would help her career if people thought she was Jewish.

21. Hulk Hogan

Real Name: Terry Jean Bollette

If I wanted to scare someone, I’d tell them my name was Hulk, too.

22. Bea Arthur

Real Name: Bernice Frankel

Real Name: Her co-star, Rue McClanahan, was born with the first name of “Eddi-Rue.”

(Video) 10 Zim Celebs Whose Real Names Will Surprise You

23. Rock Hudson

Real Name: Leroy Harold Scherer, Jr.

Either way, he was still ridiculously hot — and gigantic. He was “6’5,” which basically makes him a skyscraper.

24. Miranda July

Real Name: Miranda Jennifer Grossinger

I have nothing to say here, except that I love Miranda July, in all of her forms. Miranda Grossinger, I accept you.

25. Elvis Costello

Real Name: Declan Patrick McManus

What’s weird: He actually looks more like a Declan than an Elvis to me.

26. Joan Crawford

Real Name: Lucille LeSueur

It makes a lot of sense that she and Lucille Bluth would have the same first name, because they’re basically the same person.

27. Kirk Douglas

Real Name: Issur Danielovitch Demsky

I really like his actual name. There’s something appropriately commanding about a man named “Issur Demsky.”

28. Carmen Electra

Real Name: Tara Patrick

C’mon. There’s no way you thought anyone’s last name was “Electra,” unless that person is in a Sophocles play.

29. Audrey Hepburn

Real Name: Edda Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston

Say that one five times fast.

30. Judy Garland

Real Name: Frances Gumm

However, Liza’s name is all hers. Her father was Vincente Minnelli, the classic musical director who worked with Judy in Meet Me in St. Louis.

31. Truman Capote

Real Name: Truman Streckfus Persons

Streckfus. Just…Streckfus.

32. Julia Child

Real Name: Julia Carolyn McWilliams

“Child” is actually her married name, so this one’s a bit of a cheat, but it’s odd to me thinking of Julia Child with any other name. She just is Julia Child.

33. Dido

Real Name: Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong

I almost wish that she had used that as her stage name, just to see that whole thing on a concert poster or an album cover. “Stan” by Eminem ft.Florian Cloud de Bounevialle Armstrong takes it to a whole other level.

34. Elvira

Real Name: Cassandra Peterson

(Video) 50 Bollywood Celebrities Whose Real Names Will Surprise You

Did you know she was in a Bond movie and posed for a Tom Waits album? The woman has not had a boring career, that’s for sure.

35. Martin Sheen

Real Name: Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez

That makes Charlie Sheen’s real name “Carlos Estevez,” as witnessed in the Machete Kills trailer.

36. Courtney Love

Real Name: Love Michelle Harrison

You can change the name, but you can’t change the cray.

37. Fred Astaire

Real Name: Frederick Austerlitz

His famous dance partner, Ginger Rogers, was born Virginia Katherine McMath

38. Tea Leoni

Real Name: Elizabeth Tea Pantaleoni

Every time I see her real last name, I just think of the word “pantalones.”

39. Bruno Mars

Real Name: Peter Gene Hernandez

Trivia question: What is Bruno Mars’ ethnicity? He’s like the racial spam of people — a little bit of everything.He is Filipino, Spanish, Puerto Rican, Hungarian and Ukranian, is Jewish and was born in Hawaii.

40. Gene Simmons

Real Name: Chaim Witz

Half of the original members of KISS were Jewish. If I could ever get Gene Simmons to play “Werewolf Bar Mitzvah,” I would die a happy human.

41. Helen Mirren

Real Name: Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov

Ilyena Mironov would be a great spy name.

42. Shania Twain

Real Name: Eileen Regina Edwards

Twain is her stepfather’s last name.

43. Anne Rice

Real Name: Howard Allen O’Brien

I also like “Howard O’Brien” better. It has a nice George Eliot thing going on, although Anne Rice is no George Eliot.

44. Julianne Moore

Real Name: Julie Smith

Julianne is a portmanteau of her first name and her middle name, Anne.

45. Kim Cattrall

Real Name: Clare Woodgate

She was born in Liverpool, hence the name, but as evidenced by The Ghost Writer, she can’t do a convincing British accent anyway. Much like Madonna.


46. Stevie Wonder

Real Name: Steveland Judkins


47. Abigail Van Buren (aka Dear Abby)

Real Name: Pauline Ester Friedman

I just love how close to Paul Friedman this is.

48. Dezi Arnas

Real Name: Desiderio Albert Arnaz y De Acha III

Oddly though, Lucille Ball really was Lucy’s actual name. It fits her so well I assumed it had to be fake, but sometimes the gods are kind.

49. Cary Grant

Real Name: Archibald Alexander Leach

There really is no way to make “Archibald Leach” roll off the tongue, is there?

50. Marilyn Monroe

Real Name: Norma Jean Mortensen

According to Monroe, she used to get picked on in school for being ugly. So no matter how hideous you’re feeling today, remember that there was a universe in which Marilyn Monroe was not considered a golden paradigm of hotness. It gives you some perspective.

51. Dusty Springfield

Real Name: Mary Isobel Catherine O’Brien

If you’re reading this and you don’t know who Dusty Springfield is, you have a lot of YouTube-ing to do.

52. Michael Keaton

Real Name: Michael Douglas

Yeah, I wouldn’t want to be confused with cunnilingus cancer guy either.

53. Spike Lee

Real Name: Shelton Lee

Whenever Spike Lee acts like a royal brat, remembering that his real name is “Shelton” always puts things into perspective for me. “Sit down, Shelton. It’s time for a nap.”

54. Natalie Portman

Real Name: Natalie Herschlag

A dual Israeli and American citizen, “Portman” is her grandmother’s maiden name.

55. Harry Houdini

Real name:Ehrich Weiss

To be a magician, you have to have a catchy stage name — likeDavid Kotkin, also known as David Copperfield. Would anyone watch “Christopher Sarantakos: Mind Freak?” 55 Celebrities Whose Real Names Will Surprise You (1)

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What stars real name? ›

Claire Jude Demorest

Do all celebrities have stage names? ›

These stars—and many, many more—took the age-old option of using a stage name. Not all actors need or use stage names, but for some, it's the right way to go.

Is Jennifer Aniston a stage name? ›

From her stage name to her “Rachel” haircut, Jennifer Aniston had little input for the names in her life. Born Jennifer Linn Anastassakis, the Friends star didn't make the change to her from real name to Aniston. Her father and US soap star John changed their surname.

Do celebrities reply to DMs? ›

Whether it's via Instagram, other social media platforms, email, or even the traditional post, celebrities do in fact respond to their fans.

How can I talk to a celebrity online? ›

To talk to celebrities, choose a social media platform where they're more likely to respond to you, such as Snapchat or Instagram, which are great for quick replies. If you want to grab their attention, tag them in every relevant post you create. Alternatively, try retweeting their tweets on Twitter to get noticed.

Who is the most famous person in the world? ›

1. Jesus Christ: In Bethlehem, Palestine, Jesus Christ was born. He was born to Mary, who was found carrying a child of the Holy Spirit, according to the Bible (Matthew 1:18). He was both a human and a divine being (John 20:28).

Who are some famous celebrities? ›

1Oprah WinfreyTelevision personality
3James CameronFilmmaker
4Lady GagaMusician
6 more rows

Do actors have fake names? ›

There are quite a few celebrities who use fake names. In some cases, they adopt a stage name because SAG rules don't allow for more than one person in the organization to have the exact same name.

Why do so many actors change their names? ›

A performer will often take a stage name because their real name is considered unattractive, dull, or unintentionally amusing; projects an undesired image; is difficult to pronounce or spell; or is already being used by another notable individual, including names that are not exactly the same but still too similar.

How do actors pick their stage names? ›

Stage names are often taken from nicknames, family names, middle names, or something with personal meaning for the actor. Finally, it is always an option for an actor to change their original name legally to their own stage name!

Do models use stage names? ›

Your stage name is simply how you identify yourself in the modeling world. It's your model persona. You'll still use your legal name when you sign binding documents like model release forms and agency contracts.

Whats a good stage name for a girl? ›

  • Allegra.
  • Ambrosia.
  • Andromeda.
  • Athena.
  • Amaranth.
  • Asphodel.
  • Bijou.
  • Belladonna.

How do you get a celebrity name? ›

How to Come Up With a Stage Name
  1. Use a variation of your actual name. ...
  2. Use a childhood nickname as inspiration. ...
  3. Pick a word that embodies your style. ...
  4. Think about artists that inspire you. ...
  5. Try brainstorming a couple of ideas.
7 Jun 2021

Do voice actors use their real names? ›

Voice actors use aliases (or pseudonyms) for a range of reasons, including: Avoiding union penalties and expulsion. Avoiding professional confusion. Their real names are too common.

Do celebs have Whatsapp? ›

We all know how whatsapp is the fastest way to communicate with our loved ones and while Bollywood actors keep in touch with their fans through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, celebrities use whatsapp to chat with their families and friends.

How can I meet a celebrity? ›

How to Meet Celebrities - YouTube

What are D list celebrities? ›

The D-list is for a person whose celebrity is so obscure that they are generally only known for appearances as celebrities on panel game shows and reality television.

How do you get a celebrity to give you money? ›

Celebrities have to wean through requests when their in search of causes to support, and they look for things that they can relate to.
  1. Decide How to Reach Out to Them. ...
  2. Focus on Your Similarities. ...
  3. Highlight the Benefits. ...
  4. Don't Hide Your Wallet. ...
  5. Make it Simple. ...
  6. Make Your Message Personal.

How can I get a celebrity phone number? ›

A great way to get in touch with celebrities is to go through their agent via the agency that represents the actor. Sometimes this will allow you to get into direct contact with your favorite celebrity. More often than not though, you will more likely be able to get a message to them through the agent.

How do you get a famous person to respond on Instagram? ›

How To Make a Celebrity Reply to You on Instagram
  1. Have an Updated Profile.
  2. Join Their Live Videos.
  3. Give Them a Repost And Tag Them.
  4. Comment on Their Posts Regularly.
  5. Send Them Personalized Messages.
  6. Ask Questions.
  7. Be Patient and Polite.
  8. Conclusion.
22 Jul 2022

How do you get a celebrity to follow you? ›

You can get a celebrity to follow you in several ways, which include sharing things to get you noticed, creating a fan page, using hashtags, sending a direct message, reposting their photos or videos, and being 100% supportive.

How do you get a celebrity to like you? ›

Attract a celebrity in the same way you would attract someone who wasn't famous.
  1. Be confident.
  2. Be yourself.
  3. Be approachable.
  4. Be thoughtful and kind.
  5. Talk normally.
  6. Make yourself look attractive.
  7. Find out things that you two have in common.
  8. Make her happy.

Should I message a celeb? ›

Although some celebrities may disable private messaging, it never hurts to try sending a direct message. Comment on photos and posts made by your celebrity. You never know when a celebrity will respond to a comment.

Do celebrities see Instagram messages? ›

Some celebrities get thousands of DMs every single day, so if you're hoping to slide into an A-list celebrity's DMs, I'm sorry to say that it is much more likely to be lost in the queue of thousands of other unread messages than to be responded to. But that doesn't mean that all hope is lost.

How can I meet a celebrity? ›

How to Meet Celebrities - YouTube

Can celebrities see your story on Instagram if you tag them? ›

If your Instagram account is set to public, anyone can see the photo or video, and the person you tagged will get a notification. If your Instagram account is private, only your approved followers can see the photo or video, and the person you tag will only get a notification if they're following you.

How much do celebrities tip? ›

Sometimes they go above and beyond to show their appreciation for a restaurant's waitstaff by leaving a jaw-dropping tip behind. While tipping between 18 and 20 percent is considered “normal,” a handful of celebrities have developed the generous habit of tipping 100 percent or more when they dine out.

Can a celebrity fall in love with a normal person? ›

Zac Efron, Matt Damon, Jessica Alba and Kevin Jonas are just a few of the celebrities who have found love with normal people. It's a tale as old as time: Celebrity meets civilian. They fall in love.

Is there a celebrity dating app? ›

Raya launched in 2015 and prides itself on being “an exclusive dating and networking platform for people in creative industries.”

Has any celebrity dated a fan? ›

A die-hard Jake T. Austin fan, Caesar met Austin at a meet-and-greet in New York City in 2011 and proceeded to tweet admiringly at him for years. Apparently having grabbed his attention, the couple went public with their relationship in 2016, making Caesar the envy of fangirls everywhere.

Do celebs have Whatsapp? ›

We all know how whatsapp is the fastest way to communicate with our loved ones and while Bollywood actors keep in touch with their fans through Twitter, Instagram and Facebook, celebrities use whatsapp to chat with their families and friends.

How do you get a celebrity to give you money? ›

Celebrities have to wean through requests when their in search of causes to support, and they look for things that they can relate to.
  1. Decide How to Reach Out to Them. ...
  2. Focus on Your Similarities. ...
  3. Highlight the Benefits. ...
  4. Don't Hide Your Wallet. ...
  5. Make it Simple. ...
  6. Make Your Message Personal.

Why do celebrities not reply on Instagram? ›

No celebrity in the world has the time to reply to each and every fan/follower, it just isn't practical. Moreover, celebrities avoid commenting coz they always fear they might get into a controversy as a slightest mistake in their reply can make the whole world go after them.


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