Everything You Need to Know About Hollywood's Most Famous Stage Names
Have you heard of Oscar-winning actress Brianne Desaulniers or Golden Globe winner Julie Smith? Likely not, but we’ll bet you’re pretty familiar with their much more commonly known Hollywood stage names. Ready for your mind to be blown? Here’s the scoop on 11 major A-listers who were born with completely different names.
Real Name: Michael Douglas
During his 2015 Golden Globes acceptance speech for Best Actor in a Motion Picture, Keaton revealed that he has a lot more in common with fellow actor Michael Douglas than we originally thought. As it turns out, the Birdman star was born with the same name but decided to adopt the stage name Keaton when he entered the entertainment industry.
Real Name: Olivia Cockburn
In high school, the House actress played Gwendolen in Oscar Wilde’s The Importance of Being Earnest, which prompted her to change her last name from Cockburn to Wilde in honor of her family’s love of journalism.
Real Name: John Roger Stephens
Even in his early days, listeners raved about his “legendary” voice. The “All of Me” singer eventually adopted his newly found nickname, and the rest is history.
Real Name: Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers
The Room actress was tired of people mispronouncing her birth name, so she adopted the last name of her—ready for it—favorite American Girl Doll, Kirsten Larson. We’ve always loved Bri but this gem of a factoid makes us girl crush on her even harder.
Real Name: Caryn Elaine Johnson
The View co-host/panel moderator has said her first (stage) name, “Whoopi,” is actually a childhood nickname derived from her body’s penchant for flatulence à la a whoopee cushion. Goldberg, on the other hand, was a suggestion from her mother and her belief that a Jewish last name would come in handy in Hollywood.
Michael J. Fox
Real Name: Michael Andrew Fox
His role as Marty McFly in the Back to the Future franchise is truly iconic, but the middle initial almost always used in his name is slightly less meaningful. The Screen Actors Guild (SAG) doesn’t allow duplicate names, so the actor chose an alternate stage initial when he realized both Michael Fox and Michael A. Fox were already taken.
Real Name: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta
The artist changed her name because, well, she simply wasn’t a fan of her given one.
Real Name: Aubrey Drake Graham
Before he was a suave rap mogul, the Canadian native starred as the wheelchair-bound Jimmy Brooks on Degrassi and went by his given name, Aubrey Graham. The “One Dance” singer eventually dropped his first and last name and decided to go by his middle name, Drake.
Real Name: Kathryn Hudson
Perry first stepped onto the music scene in 2001 when she launched her namesake gospel album, Katy Hudson. The “Roar” singer later adopted her mother’s maiden name, Perry, to set herself apart from the one and only Kate Hudson.
Real Name: Julie Smith
Unfortunately the actress’s birth name was too ordinary to stand out in Hollywood, so she got creative and merged her mom’s name, Anne, with her dad’s middle name, Moore, to create her well-known stage name.
Real Name: Destiny Hope Cyrus
Cyrus’s childhood nickname, “Smiley Miley,” was so fitting that she legally changed her name to Hannah Montana Miley Ray Cyrus when she was 15 years old and hasn’t looked back since.