17 Celebrities Who Have Different Real Names (You Know Farrokh Bulsara Really Well)
Some actors and singers prefer using stage names or simply shortening their own names. In most cases, celebrities use their nicknames from their childhood, names of their role models, and sometimes it’s just a matter of chance.
Bright Side has collected famous people who use nicknames instead of their real names. We bet you didn’t know about some of them.
Stevie Wonder — Stevland Hardaway Morris
When 11-year-old Stevland Hardaway Morris was taken to an audition where CEO Berry Gordy worked. He really stood out, to the point that Gordy called him “a wonder.” After that it stuck and the name Gordy gave him turned him into Little Stevie Wonder.
Lana Del Rey — Elizabeth Woolridge Grant
Before she became Lana Del Rey, the singer used her shortened name Lizzy Grant and was known as Sparkle Jump Rope Queen. She came up with Lana Del Rey during one of her trips to Miami where she was inspired by speaking a lot of Spanish with her friends from Cuba.
Lady Gaga — Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta got her nickname at the beginning of her career after she started working with songwriter Rob Fusari in 2006. Once, she spoofed Freddie Mercury singing Radio Ga-Ga and Rob called her Lady Gaga.
Nicholas Cage — Nicholas Kim Coppola
Nicolas Cage decided to take a pseudonym so that people wouldn’t equate him to his uncle Francis Ford Coppola. The actor was inspired by Marvel’s Luke Cage.
Tom Cruise — Thomas Cruise Mapother IV
Thomas Cruise Mapother IV, known as Tom Cruise, was born to engineer Thomas Cruise Mapother III and actress Mary Lee Pfeiffer. He decided to shorten his name so that it didn’t sound awkward.
Jean-Claude Van Damme — Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg
It’s really difficult to say the Belgian actor’s name, that’s why Jean-Claude Camille François Van Varenberg took his deceased friend’s name as an honor to him.
Mickey Rourke — Philip Andre Rourke, Jr.
Mickey Rourke was born to a family with French and Irish roots. His father Philip Andre Rourke was a huge fan of baseball player Mickey Mantle. Sometimes he called his son Mickey. The actor got used to this nickname and decided to use it.
Freddie Mercury — Farrokh Bulsara
Farrokh means “happy” or “wonderful” and Bulsara is a small town near Mumbai. He used to call himself Freddie when he studied at school and in 1972, he came up with a new last name — Mercury — in honor of the planet.
Dita von Teese — Heather Renée Sweet
In 1991, Heather Renée Sweet took the name Dita in honor of popular German actress Dita Parlo. Her last name was created at the end of the 90s. Playboy requested her name and she picked the first surname that she flipped to in the phone book — von Treese. But Playboy made a mistake and published her as Dita von Teese.
Sophia Loren — Sofia Villani Scicolone
Originally, Italian actress Sophia took last name Lazzaro. At the beginning of the 50s, her husband Carlo Ponti persuaded her to change it to Lauren as it sounded like the name of a popular Swedish actress named Märta Torén.
Jean Reno — Juan Moreno y Herrera Jiménez
This French actor was born in Casablanca. In 1960, his family moved to France where Juan Moreno y Herrera Jiménez transformed into Jean Moreno. Later, Jean omitted the 2 first letters and became Jean Reno.
Winona Ryder — Winona Laura Horowitz
This American actress was born to Cynthia Palmer and Michael Horowitz. Her stage name derives from Mitch Ryder, a soul and rock singer of whom her father was a fan.
Hulk Hogan — Terry Gene Bollea
He became Hulk in 1978 after he appeared on a local talk show where he sat beside Lou Ferrigno, a star of the television series The Incredible Hulk, and looked way bigger. Last name Hogan was created by his promoter Vincent James McMahon.
Vin Diesel — Mark Sinclair
At the age of 17, Mark Sinclair was a rather big guy. He even used to work as a bouncer at a nightclub called The Tunnel. Around that time he took the name Vin Diesel and started to shave his head regularly.
Whoopi Goldberg — Caryn Elaine Johnson
Caryn got her nickname, Whoopi, when she was a child. Other children used to call her “whoopee cushion.” As for her last name, her mother recommended that she use Goldberg.
Ben Kingsley — Krishna Pandit Bhanji
The actor took this stage name in the late ’70s as he was afraid his normal name wouldn’t allow him to be successful. His father, Rahimtulla Harji Bhanji, had nicknames like Benji and King Gloves, so the actor “cut” them and got Ben Kingsley.
Miley Ray Cyrus — Destiny Hope Cyrus
Destiny Hope Cyrus has always been a really smiley girl so she was nicknamed Miley as a child. Her middle name Ray honors her grandfather, Democratic politician Ronald Ray Cyrus.
Whose real names impressed you the most? Did you already know any of these?