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Feature
50 Movie Stars You Didn't Know Had Changed Their Name (And A Few You Did)
The weird and wonderful tales behind Hollywood pseudonyms

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Following Empire’s all-singing, all dancing, ridiculously indispensible guide to Hollywood actor name pronunciation, here’s an equally essential digest of those actors and actresses who have dared to establish careers under names that do not necessarily belong to them. Betty Perske? Johnny O’Keeffe? Phil Clapp? Bryan Trout? All await you among the 50 that follow…

WORDS OWEN WILLIAMS
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50 Movie Stars You Didn't Know Had Changed Their Name (And A Few You Did)  | Boris Karloff
Boris Karloff

Real name: William Henry Pratt

Reason for change: You’d think it was self-explanatory, but it was actually to avoid his family’s embarrassment over his choice of career (his brothers were all in the British foreign service). He said he chose ‘Boris’ because it sounded exotic, and claimed that ‘Karloff’ was a Slavic branch on his family tree. His daughter said that was nonsense, so we may never know how he landed on it.

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Have Your Say
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Your Comments

1 Butterfly effect
It all started with Issur Demsky who changed his name to Kirk Douglas, a moniker so catchy that his son Michael kept it. So, when the REAL Michael J. Douglas came along, it was too late and he had to change it to Keaton. But if I were in Keaton's shoes, I would change my name to Michael Demsky, just to close the loop! More

Posted by Grimm on Thursday November 7, 2013, 13:43

2 jean reno is .....
its Jean Reno y Herrera JIMENEZ ! nor Jiminez More

Posted by hadooooooooooooooken on Tuesday November 5, 2013, 13:26

3 RE: EMPIRE
It's a marketing thing. They can show advertisers they've had an extra 50 page views instead of 1. More

Posted by Dartfordian on Saturday November 2, 2013, 20:30

4 RE: Charlie Sheen?
L: Bellboy Charlie Sheen? Um, hello? n there along with his father and brother at number 40. Maybe you should do more than look at the pictures before you comment. More

Posted by Osric on Saturday November 2, 2013, 09:15

5 Charlie Sheen?
Um, hello? More

Posted by Bellboy on Friday November 1, 2013, 12:39

6 Bruce Willis?
AKA Walter Willis? More

Posted by TPM007 on Thursday October 31, 2013, 16:18

7 EMPIRE
Empire, when you do these features, could you please include an overview page that summarises the list? clicking through 50 seperate pages takes FOREVER. More

Posted by hermes16 on Thursday October 31, 2013, 13:20

8 Michael Keaton
Michael Keaton was originally Michael Douglas but obviously that one was already taken in the SAG registry. He named himself Keaton after Diane. More

Posted by evildave69 on Thursday October 31, 2013, 10:46

9 wonder if they use stage names at home?
I mean for example does Michael Caine's family and friends call him Maurice in private? Can Empire ask this question if they get a chance in the future? More

Posted by oscarwantstowork on Thursday October 31, 2013, 08:38

10 Michael Caine
Just as well Michael Caine didn't stick with Michael Scott - that's the name of Steve Carrel's character in The Office! More

Posted by dctuck on Thursday October 31, 2013, 08:09

11 RE: "A surname that sounds like an STD is clearly not a good idea for showbiz"
I think Gordon Clapp might disagree with you. More

Posted by balkaster on Wednesday October 30, 2013, 21:06

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