Pseudonyms and Pronunciation

Published in: News 05/12/2015

Woody Allen mug shot

Famous actors and singers, celebrated artists and writers, have often changed their original names in favour of more appealing and easier to remember pseudonyms.
Some of these celebrities just needed to simplify their family names which were too complicated to pronounce; others only wanted to forget an ugly given name or a too common last name.

Pseudonym replacing an unpronounceable real names 

Woody Allen, the most celebrated American film director, is the pseudonym of Allan Stewart Königsberg
Jennifer Aniston, the American actress of Greek descent, was born Jennifer Anastasakis
Charles Aznavour, the French singer of Arminian origins, is the stage name of Shahnourh Varinag Aznavourian
Freddie Mercury, the unforgettable frontman of British rock band The Queen, had Persian origins, was born in Zanzibar and his real name was Frederick Farookh Bulsara
Kirk Douglas, the actor of Russian descent, was born Issur Danilovitch Demsky
Vivien Leigh, the English actress born in India, is the pseudonym of Vivian Mary Hartley
George Michael, the English singer of Greek descent, was born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou
Stevie Wonder, the American singer, musician, and composer, was Steveland Hardaway Judkins

The most successful pseudonyms ever and their correct pronunciation

Marilyn Monroe, one of the most celebrated stars worldwide, was born Norma Jeane Mortenson
Brigitte Bardot, the beautiful French actress, was born Camille Javal
Bo Derek, the attractive American actress, in reality is Mary Cathleen Collins
Bob Dylan, the American legend, was born Robert Allen Zimmerman
Elton John, the British singer and musician, is the pseudonym of Reginald Kenneth Dwight
Yves Montand, the Italian-born French singer and actor, was the stage name of Ivo Livi
Demi Moore, the American actress, was born Demetria Guynes

Pseudonyms in literature

Agatha Christie, one of the most famous writers worldwide, was born Agatha Mary Clarissa Miller
George Orwell,  the author of 1984 and Animal Farm, was the pseudonym of Eric Arthur Blair
George Sand in reality was Amantine Aurore Lucile Dupin
Marguerite Yourcenar, the Belgian writer, was born Marguerite de Crayencour
Alberto Moravia, the Italian writer, was the pen name of Alberto Pincherle
Curzio Malaparte, Italian writer and journalist, was born Kurt Erich Suckert
Italo Svevo, the Italian author of Jewish descent, was born Aron Hector Schmitz

Pseudonyms: short is better

Stendhal, the French writer, the author of The Red and the Black, is the pen name of Henri Beyle
Hergé is the pseudonym of Belgian cartoonist Georges Remi
Moebius is the pen name of French cartoonist Jean Giraud
Sting, the most famous in the world pseudonym was adopted by British singer and musician Gordon Matthew Sumner
Skin, the English singer and judge of the Italian XFactor, was born Deborah Anne Dryer

More pseudonyms

Anne Bancroft, the American actress, the winner of an Oscar for Best Actress, was born Anna Maria Louise Italiano
Rita Hayworth, the unforgettable diva, was the pseudonym of Margarita Carmen Cansino
Vivien Leigh, the British star of Gone with the Wind, was born Vivian Mary Hartley
Dean Martin, charming singer and actor, was born Dino Paul Crocetti
Ashley Judd, the American actress, is the stage name of Ashley Tyler Ciminella
Elvis Costello, the British singer and composer, is the pseudonym of Declan Patrick MacManus

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