On Air Now
Smooth Breakfast with Gary King 6am - 10am
Ethel Gumm, Farrokh Bulsara and Barry Pincus. Would they have been as famous if they had kept their birth names? Maybe not... It turns out a lot of celebrities change their names. But how many of these did you know? We take a look at 22 stars who have changed their monikers for their careers.
He’s known for saying “My name is Michael Caine,” but really, it isn’t. Maurice Micklewhite took on the name ‘Michael Scott’ as his stage name before changing it again to Michael Caine.
This one’s a mystery; it is thought that Grace Jones may have been born under the name Grace Mendoza but it’s unknown why it was changed.
The girl with the ‘Voice of an Angel’ changed her surname when she was adopted by her mother’s second husband, James Church.
Frances Ethel Gumm was a member of singing act the ‘Gumm Sisters’ but she didn’t find fame until she became Judy Garland.
Ok, so this one was obvious; Pitt made his name simpler when he move to Los Angeles as a teenager
After being given the stage name of Patsy, in 1953 she married Gerald E. Cline and so became known as Patsy Cline.
In February 2013, Jermaine filed a request to change his surname to ‘Jacksun’. Apparently it was for ‘artistic reasons’.
Shania’s surname was legally changed to Twain when her mother re-married named Jerry Twain. In 1993, when she was signed by Mercury Nashville Records, she changed her name to Shania.
This one wasn’t a name change of vanity; David McDonald was forced to change to David Tennant after Equity forbade him from using his real name because it was already in use by a Scottish theatre actor. Apparently he chose Tennant because he was a fan of the Pet Shop Boys’ Neil Tennant.
This is a fussy one, isn’t it? Although born ‘John’, Jon dropped the ‘h’ during his teenage years. During a meeting about a band name, Bon Jovi was decided - and Jon swiftly changed his surname to match. Sneaky!
As a boy in India, Farrokh started calling himself ‘Freddie’ and much later came up with the surname ‘Mercury’ from a lyric in his Queen song My Fairy Queen.
Born Stevland Hardaway Judkins, Stevie Wonder’s mum changed changed surname to Morris as she didn’t want him to carry the name of his absent father. However, he got his much-loved name after being called “a little wonder” for his ability to play various instruments and still manage to sing at the same time.
Barry adopted his mother's maiden name - Manilow - at the time of his bar mitzvah.
In a 2004 interview, when asked why he changed his name, Dylan explained: "You're born, you know, the wrong names, wrong parents. I mean, that happens. You call yourself what you want to call yourself. This is the land of the free.” Makes sense to us.
After serving in World War II, Benedetto started singing under the name Joe Bari, after a city in Italy. Bob Hope told him it was a "phony name," Bennett said. “What did Hope think of his real name? "Well, that's a little long for the marquee. Let's economise it and call you Tony Bennett."
John Osbourne changed his name to the much more rock ‘n’ roll ‘Ozzy’ when he started his band Black Sabbath.
Cherilyn shortened her name when she became a star and eventually legally changed it to Cher, with no surname or middle name, in 1979. Surnames are overrated anyway.
Everybody knows this one, right? According to past interviews, Sir Elton thought ‘Reginald Dwight’ just wouldn’t cut it in the music world and chose his new, catchy moniker by combining the names of rhythm ‘n’ blues singer Long John Baldry and sax player Elton Dean. It’s also worth pointing out that when changing his name, he gave himself the middle name ‘Hercules’. Legend!
Concerned his birth name was too complicated, Georgios Panayiotou became George Michael when he started experiencing some success with Wham!
Jones became Bowie in 1966, apparently to avoid confusion with The Monkees singer Davy Jones.
What a life Helen Mirren’s had to date! This much-loved actress was named Ilynea Lydia Mironoff by her Russian father, but when the family were stranded in London during the Russian Revolution, he changed her name to avoid her being treated suspiciously during the Cold War. Dramatic!
‘Costello’ was his great-grandmother's name and after signing with Stiff Records, he changed the first name to Elvis. In an interview, Costello has said “I thought Elvis was a better name than Jesus, and almost as exclusive”.