Famous Name Changes
December 20, 2001 3:20 PM   Subscribe

Famous Name Changes What a turn off when you find out Paul David Hewson, Vincent Damon Furnier, William Michael Albert Broad are your favorite rockers (inside)
posted by Voyageman (17 comments total)
Bono= Paul David Hewson
Alice Cooper = Vincent Damon Furnier
Billy Idol= William Michael Albert Broad
posted by Voyageman at 3:20 PM on December 20, 2001

Albert Brooks' real name is Albert Einstein??

That's totally rad.
posted by pudders at 3:36 PM on December 20, 2001

How do you get beyond the front page of that site?
posted by ParisParamus at 3:45 PM on December 20, 2001

Click on go.
posted by liam at 3:49 PM on December 20, 2001

lower right corner, click "GO"
posted by G_Ask at 3:51 PM on December 20, 2001

How about James Jewel Osterburg? Becoming Iggy Pop was probably one of the smartest moves he's ever made.
posted by jonmc at 4:18 PM on December 20, 2001

Marion Morrison. Man, that dude sounds like a real wimp.
posted by ColdChef at 7:13 PM on December 20, 2001

Albert Brooks' brother is Super Dave Osborne. Super Dave was on Stern one time and said his real last name is Einstein and that his brother is Albert. Interesting little fact IMO.
posted by suprfli at 7:56 PM on December 20, 2001

That's a really cool page. I've always been a little disappointed that my name doesn't have a ring to it like famous people's names. Now I know why: famous people change their names to get that ring.
posted by ktheory at 9:40 PM on December 20, 2001

This site is really funny. It has to have some of the worst navigation on that first page though.
posted by untuckedshirts at 9:41 PM on December 20, 2001

What's really sad is to see all the folks with Jewish and Italian names changing them to something bland and Anglo. Did it hurt, I wonder? Or did they enjoy it, as part of leaving their past behind, and embracing a new life, a new career, and (what they hoped would be) a glorious destiny in entertainment?

Most of those name changes are a couple of decades old, of course. Think anything has changed? I don't know. Maybe it has. Woody Allen changed his name, but Jerry Seinfeld didn't.

Of course, a lot of the changes have nothing to do with ethnicity, they're just to get what ktheory calls 'that ring'.
posted by Slithy_Tove at 10:57 PM on December 20, 2001

I have to agree with Slithy_Tove, in that this is a little sad and probably a remnant of an age when Hollywood wanted to project a white-bread image of wholesome America (or are we still in that age?). It reminds me a little of the way rappers give themselves aliases, except this is sneakier.

I also like the fact that Portia De Rossi of er, Ally McBeal, changed her name from Mandy Rogers. Perhaps things are changing?
posted by Big Fat Tycoon at 3:39 AM on December 21, 2001

Historically, a lot of these changes were, indeed, orchestrated by agents or studios who were tailoring an image and didn't want any star with a name that was in any way "normal" because the movies were all about fantasy. Fantasy, however, in the early to mid-20th century, could not be undertaken by Italians (Anna Italiano = Anne Bancroft) Jews (Isidore Demsky = Kirk Douglas) obvious Catholics (John Joseph Patrick Lyon = Jack Lord) or farmgirls (Harlean Carpenter = Jean Harlow).

What's interesting is to imagine how many people would have different names if an actor had been allowed to become famous with the moniker their parents had given them. How many women today would be named Gladys, Lucille, Tula or Norma Jean? How many men would be Marion, Archibald, or Bernard?
posted by Dreama at 6:02 AM on December 21, 2001

My goodness. Elvis Costello used to be Declan Patrick McManus.
posted by jnthnjng at 7:10 AM on December 21, 2001

If Leelee Sobieski can become a movie star without changing her name, anyone can. These days, at least.
posted by bingo at 9:00 AM on December 21, 2001

Browsing through the entertainers, Bjork's last name, Gundmundsdottir, intrigued me. From her website and the famousenamechanges website, I learned that she's from Iceland. Now curious about Iceland, I did some more research and found a pretty fascinating fact. The naming of children is outlined by Icelandic law; the last name of a child is derived from the father's first name and the child's sex. For example, a girl named Mary born to John would get the name " Mary Johnsdottir". A boy named Mark born to a man named John would be named "Mark Johnson".

Now I want to visit Iceland.
posted by tomorama at 6:33 PM on December 21, 2001

They left out Our Man in Kabul, Jerry Rivers.
posted by ParisParamus at 8:27 PM on December 21, 2001

« Older Mars and The Red Cross now offer red, white, and...   |   Guitar Geek Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments