We all know Brad Pitt and Joaquin Phoenix, but did you also know that these names aren’t real at all?
Many actors and actresses conveniently adopted a new name early in their careers, probably because it would give them more opportunities in Hollywood.
Actors and their real names
There are plenty of reasons why (starting) actors would go for a different name. In some cases, that change – as you can read – is very logical. Try not to laugh out loud as you read this list.
1. Brad Pitt (and his ex…)
Brad, of course, needs no introduction. With his many iconic roles, he is now one of Hollywood’s most famous actors and most recently he also received an Oscar for his supporting role in Once upon a time in Hollywood.
He changed his name because it just sounds nice.
Real name: William Bradley Pitt
The name of his ex-wife also sounds good, while that actually includes a surname. Angelina Jolie is actually called Angelina Jolie Voight. Use it to your advantage…
This actor also needs no introduction. With his portrayal of the Joker, he has made an indelible impression on just about every moviegoer this year.
But when you see his real name, you immediately know why he wanted something different. He was probably tired of all the silly jokes.
Real name: Joaquin Rafael Bottom
This joker turns out to be quite difficult to work with in real life, but he did deliver some very nice films. The name with which he became known comes from a song: “The Ballad of Chevy Chase”.
Real name: Cornelius Crane Chase
4. Albert Brooks
This actor started his film career with a role in Taxi Driver, but we probably all know him as the voice of Marlin, Nemo’s father. Albert changed his name because someone with that name was already known.
Real name: Albert Einstein
5. Ben Kingsley
Ben once played Gandi and for good reason, because his mother is white and his father is from Kenya and is Muslim and of Indian blood. Just like Barack Obama, by the way.
Real name: Krishna Pandit Bhanji
Of course, we know Michael for his many supporting roles, including that of Batman’s butler. That Michael is a real British, is evident from his real name.
His stage name comes from a Humphrey Bogart movie: “The Caine Mutiny”.
Real name: Maurice Micklewhite
7. Whoopi Goldberg
Always wondered why this woman chose Whoopi as her stage name? Well, just watch the clip.
Real name: Caroline Johnson
One of the oldest actors in the world (he lived to be 103!) and probably also one of the toughest names in Hollywood. Try saying his name in quick succession.
Real name: Issur Danielovich Demsky
Yes, she is of Dutch descent. This world-famous actress was born in Belgium and was also an ambassador for UNICEF.
Real name: Edda Kathleen van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston
Dame Helen Mirren does have the perfect spy name in real life.
Real name: Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov
11. Marilyn Monroe
This goddess was really called an ugly duckling in school. So for anyone without self-confidence: anything is possible.
Real name: Norma-Jean Mortensen
Like Albert Brooks, Michael also had to change his name because otherwise he would probably be offered the wrong roles.
Real name: Michael Douglas
13. Olivia Wilde
Olivia thought in all her wisdom that her last name wouldn’t make it. So that’s why she came up with a new stage name. Ryan Reynolds probably had problems with her real last name in the clip above.
Real name: Olivia Jane Cockburn
Natalie took her surname from her grandmother.
Real name: Natalie Herschlag
15. Cary Grant
This world-famous actor wisely chose a tough stage name, because his real name is a lot less sexy.
Real name: Archibald Alexander Leach
Rock Hudson also quickly realized that his real name was not sexy enough, so he chose a name that perfectly suited his height (1.93) and image.
Real name: Leroy Harold Scherer, Jr.
Do you know any other names?
Quite a list and we have probably forgotten a few. There will undoubtedly also be actors in the Netherlands with a stage name.
We like to read them back in the comments.
Stay fresh and fruity… and follow us!
With whole have fun we prepare our refreshing, useful, entertaining and positive articles daily. It goes without saying that we really like it if you follow us! You can do so easily (and safely) via our fun weekly newsletter: