Although we might say ‘what’s in a name?’, but the fact is without names we don’t have an identity. A name is an essential part of our identity.
Many of our favourite stars have quite an intriguing backstory behind their names. It is a fact well known that many stars use their stage names instead of their real names and often there is a reason behind the name they adopt. Here is a list of some of the famous stars, who have hidden stories behind their names.
1. Leonardo Di Caprio
The famous actor is named after the famous painter Leonardo Da Vinci. When his mother was pregnant with Leo, she went to a gallery in Florence and when she was looking at a portrait of Leonardo Da Vinci, DiCaprio kicked for the first time. His family believed it was a sign and named him Leonardo.
2. Akshay Kumar
His first on-screen appearance was in a small role as a karate instructor. The main lead of the film was played by Kumar Gaurav and the name of the lead character was Akshay. It is said that the amalgamation of both these names led him to decide ‘Akshay Kumar’ as his screen name.
Needless to say, the name has been more than lucky for him.
3. A.R. Rahman
Believe it or not, our favourite Allah Rakha Rahman’s real name was Dilip Kumar. The famous composer has often admitted that somehow he was never fond of his name.
When Rahman was young, he met a Sufi saint who left a lasting impression on him. He also inspired Rahman to embrace Islam and thereby change his name.
He was born in a lower-middle-class Marathi family. He was named Shivaji after the great Maratha ruler Chhatrapati Shivaji. When Balachandran decided to introduce the actor, he suggested him a stage name that not only changed his life but also the history of Tamil cinema.
5. Jackie Chan
Before he became one of the greatest action heroes of all time, he used to work at a construction site in Australia. His co-workers couldn’t pronounce his name and they used to call him the “Little Jack”. Jack later became Jackie.
6. Miley Cyrus
Her father used to call her Smiley, because of her cheerful personality. Later, Smiley became shortened to Miley and the name stayed with her. She not only uses it as her stage name but she has also legally made it her official name.
7. Ben Kingsley
If you ever wondered how he portrayed Gandhi so well, then it was probably because his father was an Indian. His real name is Krishna Pandit Bhanji, but Kingsley feared that his name could become a barrier if he really wanted to be an actor. So, he adopted a name that would not betray his non-English background.
8. Oprah Winfrey
Not many are aware that Oprah’s real name is actually Orpah. It was one of her aunts who named her after a biblical figure. But most people found it difficult to spell her name and thus from Orpah she became Oprah.
9. Michael Caine
It was his agent who advised him to change his name. Caine’s favourite star was Bogart and he used to look up to him. Later, he renamed himself after Bogart’s character in the film “The Caine Mutiny”.
10. Vin Diesel
It is a story well known that before making it big in Hollywood, Diesel used to work as a bouncer. During his bouncer days, people used to call him Vin and Diesel was a name given to him by his friends because he had so much energy. His friends used to joke that he runs on diesel.
11. Bruno Mars
There are two reasons why Bruno Mars took this stage name. He wanted a name that would not sound typically Mexican. Bruno was the nickname that his father gave him as he reminded him of famous wrestler Bruno Sammartino.
The famous rapper’s original name is Marshall Bruce Mathers. So, initially, he used his initials M&M as his stage name. He later changed it from M&M to Eminem, as M&M was also the name of a very famous candy company.
One of the most popular rappers of recent times, Jay-Z was mentored by a rapper called Jay-O. Another reason why he chose this name was because he used to take the subway lines J and Z during his struggling time in Brooklyn.
14. Alice Cooper
His real name was Vincent Furnier. He has always been a very mysterious figure. He claimed that one day while he was playing with an Ouija board, some witch doctor named Alice Cooper contacted him and inspired him to change his name.
Well, it seems there is more to a name than what meets the eyes.