The most notable names in entertainment may or may not be names that are actually made up. Many celebrities are known for the names they go by, but did you know that surprisingly, several well-known stars have actually changed their names? Some have shortened their names, and some have totally changed their names. Some have even adopted some of their childhood nicknames. Before they got really big and made names for themselves in Hollywood, these celebs decided on names that they felt were more recognizable and catchy than the names they were given at birth. To learn the real names of some of the most popular celebs in Hollywood, check out these 7 super stars who changed their names.
The late Kirk Douglas is an actor who changed his name to accommodate his dreams. He was born to Russian immigrants Herschel and Bryna, who changed their names to Harry and Bertha. Kirk was born Issur Danielovitch. He felt his name was too Jewish sounding for Hollywood during his era, he told People in 2015.
John Legend is another actor who changed his name, this time based on a childhood nickname. “John Legend is a nickname that some friends started calling me, and it kind of grew into my stage name. It grew to the point where more people in my circle would know me by that name than by my real name,” he told MTV. John Legend was born John Roger Stephens. John Legend does have a nice ring to it.
When she joined the Screen Actors Guild, Meg started using her grandmother’s maiden name Ryan. Before changing her name, she had a pretty big mouthful of name, that would’ve been pretty hard to announce at awards shows. Meg Ryan was born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra, which is quite a name.
This iconic actress may be one star who has the most secrecy surrounding her birth name. Some sources say that the star was born Edda van Heemstra Hepburn-Ruston. But other sources disagree as to her exact birth name. Audrey is actually the English form of the Duch version of the name Edda. Most sources do agree on the origin surnames of her mother Ella and her British father, who believed he was a descendant of Mary, Queen of Scotts, according to Britannica. Audrey Hepburn is now one of the most recognizable names in Hollywood history.
The Trinadadian rapper Nicki Minaj figured out a creative way to shorten her birth name. She was born Onika Tanya Maraj, which she used to create her now iconic and well-known moniker Nicki Minaj.
Vin Diesel was born Mark Sinclair. He could’ve changed his name while working the club scene as a bouncer in New York City, according to People. His mother’s maiden name is Vincent, which we shortened to Vin. He got the name Diesel from a childhood nickname that his friends gave him because he was so energetic, according to his interview with Late Night with Conan O’Brien.
Diane Keaton’s real name is Diane Hall. She played the role of Annie Hall in Woodey Allen’s film by the same name. Woody Allen created the role for her and used her surname and her nickname Annie. Keaton did so well in the film that it earned her an Oscar. According to Vogue, she took the surname Keaton, which was her mother’s maiden name. She did this because there was already another Diane Hall who was an actress in the Actors’ Equity Association, according to Vogue.