Friday, August 31, 2012

25 Classic Movie Stars Who Changed Their Names

Marion Morrison became John Wayne.

 During the studio system era, film actors and actresses changed their names for a variety of reasons. Sometimes they chose new names for themselves, but often names were selected for them by studio executives and directors. The studios exerted at least partial control over every aspect of their stars' lives; they changed names, dyed hair, arranged romances, and created the perfect imaginary people of the public's dreams. Sometimes British or American actors with very ordinary names were given exotic ones to make them seem more glamorous. Foreign performers, on the other hand, might be assigned new names that erased any hint of national or ethnic difference. Today, some movie stars still change their names, but studios no longer command them to do so; modern actors can choose for themselves and create their own identities as performers.

Here are the original and the better known names of twenty-five classic movie stars:

1. Margarita Carmen Cansino = Rita Hayworth        
2. Ruby Katherine Stevens = Barbara Stanwyck      
3. Marion Morrison = John Wayne
4. Frances Ethel Gumm = Judy Garland
5. Archibald Leach = Cary Grant
6. Betty Joan Perske = Lauren Bacall
7. William Henry Pratt = Boris Karloff
8. Issur Danielovitch = Kirk Douglas
9. Norma Jean (Mortenson) Baker = Marilyn Monroe
10. Constance Frances Marie Ockelman = Veronica Lake
11. Lucille Fay LeSueur = Joan Crawford

Would Ethel Gumm have been as famous as Judy Garland?
12. John Charles Carter = Charlton Heston
13. Jane Alice Peters = Carole Lombard
14. Laszlo Lowenstein = Peter Lorre
15. Eleanor Geisman = June Allyson
16. Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler = Hedy Lamarr
17. David Daniel Kaminsky = Danny Kaye

18. Gladys Louise Smith = Mary Pickford
19. Emilie Claudette Chauchoin = Claudette Colbert
20. Jacob Julius Garfinkle = John Garfield
21. Greta Lovisa Gustafsson = Greta Garbo
22. Joseph Yule, Jr. = Mickey Rooney
23. Judith Tuvim = Judy Holliday
24. Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland = Joan Fontaine
25. Bernard Schwartz = Tony Curtis


  1. This is so cool! I think the most interesting ones are the one who chose to change their very ethnic-sounding names to more American ones. This post was a really cool idea.