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Quiz about Why Did These Celebrities Change Their Birth Name
Quiz about Why Did These Celebrities Change Their Birth Name

Why Did These Celebrities Change Their Birth Name? Quiz


The names we know celebrities by are often not their real or birth names. Here are ten such celebrities and the reason their names were changed.
This is a renovated/adopted version of an old quiz by author chaoscat

A multiple-choice quiz by 1nn1. Estimated time: 4 mins.
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Author
1nn1
Time
4 mins
Type
Multiple Choice
Quiz #
2,484
Updated
Apr 16 23
# Qns
10
Difficulty
Average
Avg Score
6 / 10
Plays
419
Last 3 plays: Guest 136 (3/10), PurpleComet (7/10), Guest 99 (6/10).
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Question 1 of 10
1. This British knight, known for his many roles such as Alfie and Alfred, has NEVER been known by which of the following names? Hint


Question 2 of 10
2. Lana Del Rey who hit the big time with her smash hit "Video Games", was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. Why did she change her name?


Question 3 of 10
3. Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag in 1981, yet has worked under her stage name since she commenced acting. Why did she take her grandmother's maiden name as her stage name?


Question 4 of 10
4. Aaron Paul's breakout role was as Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad". He adopted "Paul" as his stage surname as believed his surname was unpronounceable do he dropped it. Although he did not have to think much, what 'inspired' him to use "Paul"? Hint


Question 5 of 10
5. Portia de Rossi changed her name to ensure people recognised her Italian heritage. True or False?


Question 6 of 10
6. Is it a royal thing not to use your first name? Which Academy Award winning actress uses Olivia but it is not her real first name? Hint


Question 7 of 10
7. Helen Mirren was born in London in 1945. Her Russian born father anglicised the family name in 1951. What was Helen Mirren's original surname? Hint


Question 8 of 10
8. Which enduring performer and film producer changed their name to "simplify pronunciation, to enhance euphony [and] disarm bigotry"? Hint


Question 9 of 10
9. "30 Rock" was the vehicle that propelled Tina Fey to stardom. Besides Tracy Morgan who plays Tracy Jordan, which other main actor from "30 Rock" has the same real first name as the character on the show? Hint


Question 10 of 10
10. Sometimes the first answer you rule out is actually correct. Which one of the following actors did *NOT* have the first name of William? Hint



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May 10 2024 : Guest 136: 3/10
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Quiz Answer Key and Fun Facts
1. This British knight, known for his many roles such as Alfie and Alfred, has NEVER been known by which of the following names?

Answer: Michael Mutiny

Michael Caine was born Maurice Joseph Micklewhite Jr. on 14 March 1933. He grew up in war-torn London after being evacuated for two years 1940-41. At school he discovered a talent for acting and found a job as clerk in a film production after he left school. He was called up for National Service between 1952-54. After he returned to England, he applied for a stage manager position in which he was required to also perform walk-on roles for the Westminster Repertory Company.

He adopted the stage name Michael White but as his star began to rise his agent told him the name was already taken. This 1954 discussion took place in a telephone booth in Leicester Square, London. He saw that "The Caine Mutiny" was being shown in the adjacent Odeon Cinema so he decided to change his name to "Michael Caine". In a 1987 interview he said that "had a tree partly been blocking his view a few feet to the left", he might have been called "Michael Mutiny".

In July 2016, he changed his name by deed poll to his stage name just to simplify security procedures at airports. In a 2016 interview with "Time" he said " [An official] would say, 'Hi Michael Caine,' and suddenly I'd be giving him a passport with a different name on it. I could stand there for an hour. So I changed my name." However, when he was knighted in 2000 he was knighted as Sir Maurice Micklewhite.
2. Lana Del Rey who hit the big time with her smash hit "Video Games", was born Elizabeth Woolridge Grant. Why did she change her name?

Answer: She wanted a name she could 'shape her music towards'.

Lana Del Rey hit the big time with her 2011 smash hit "Video Games". With the commensurate film clip, the viewer got this aural picture of a retro 50's style of nostalgia song replete with swirling 50's sundresses and accessories that reflected the era. The name Lana Del Ray seemed to fit perfectly with the image created. This is exactly what Elizabeth Woolridge Grant, born 1985 in New York City had in mind (Her first album was released under the name of Lizzy Grant).

More than a one-hit wonder she released eight consecutive top ten albums (US Top 200 Albums Chart) between 2011 and 2021 and according to Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA). Ms. Del Rey sold 32 million singles and 5.5 million albums in the United States alone in that period.
3. Natalie Portman was born Natalie Hershlag in 1981, yet has worked under her stage name since she commenced acting. Why did she take her grandmother's maiden name as her stage name?

Answer: Separate her personal and private life

Natalie Portman always seems a bit shy. She was born Natalie Hershlag on June 9, 1981, in Jerusalem, Israel. Her parents are Avner Hershlag, a Israeli doctor, and Shelley Stevens, an American from Cincinnati who, later, also acted as Natalie's agent. The family moved Washington, D.C. when she was three and later in New York City.

She was discovered by a modelling agent in a pizza parlor at the age of 11. but decided to follow acting over modelling. She was cast as Mathilda in "Leon: The Professional" (1994) (aka "Leon") before she turned 12. Her mother became her agent and used Natalie's maternal grandmother's maiden name (i.e. her own mother's name) to separate her public and private life. She won critical acclaim for this role, one of many acting achievements culminating when she was the first actor born in the 80s to win a (Best Actor or) Best Actress Academy Award which she won in 2011 for her role in "Black Swan".
4. Aaron Paul's breakout role was as Jesse Pinkman in "Breaking Bad". He adopted "Paul" as his stage surname as believed his surname was unpronounceable do he dropped it. Although he did not have to think much, what 'inspired' him to use "Paul"?

Answer: It was his middle name.

Aaron Paul Sturtevant was born near Boise Idaho in 1979. In 1997 after he graduated from high school, he drove to Los Angeles in his 15 year old Corolla with $6,000 in savings where, for eight years he managed to pick up bit parts and TV ads. He also worked as a movie theater usher at Universal Studios in Hollywood to supplement his meagre show business earnings. Sometime in this period he adopted his middle name as surname as casting directors couldn't pronounce his last name.

"Breaking Bad" opened many doors for Mr Paul (he was supposed to be killed off in the first season but he was such a hit he was retained for the whole series.) and he has gone on to have a fine resume in both TV and movies.
5. Portia de Rossi changed her name to ensure people recognised her Italian heritage. True or False?

Answer: False

Portia de Rossi was best known for starring in "Ally McBeal" (1998-2002), "Arrested Development" (2003-2006, 2013, 2018-2019, and in "Scandal" (2014-2017). She was born Amanda Lee Rogers in a small town in Victoria, Australia in 1973.

In 1988 she changed her name legally to Portia de Rossi. She liked the Portia character from "Merchant of Venice" and she chose an Italian surname as it made her sound "exotic". In a 2007 interview she said about her name change: "I think it was largely due to my struggle about being gay. Everything just didn't fit, and I was trying to find things I could identify myself with, and it started with my name."

In 2008, Ellen DeGeneres proposed and Ms De Rossi accepted. In 2010 filed an application to legally change her name to to Portia Lee James DeGeneres. The petition was granted..
6. Is it a royal thing not to use your first name? Which Academy Award winning actress uses Olivia but it is not her real first name?

Answer: Olivia Colman

Sarah Caroline Sinclair born 1974, is known professionally as Olivia Colman and is an English actress. Known all her life by her nickname, Colly, she never used her first name, Sarah, until she started to act. However, Equity (the UK actors' union) advised they already had a Sarah Colman so she chose Olivia Colman as her stage name. She chose Olivia after her best friend from University because she really liked the name.

Ms Colman made her name in the UK TV series "Broadchurch" starring with David Tennant, which screened in 2014. She won a British Television Academy award for her performance. This caused a flood of offers. In 2019-20, she played Queen Elizabeth II in the TV drama series "The Crown". This earned her a Golden Globe Award and Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She played another royal in Queen Anne in 2018's "The Favourite" which won her the Academy Award for Best Actress.
7. Helen Mirren was born in London in 1945. Her Russian born father anglicised the family name in 1951. What was Helen Mirren's original surname?

Answer: Mironoff

Helen Mirren's father Vasily Mironoff (1913-1980), was taken to London by his own father when he was two years old as they were members of a Russian nobility family in exile. Her father grew up in London, became a London cabbie and played viola with the London Philharmonic Orchestra before WWII. He married Kitty Rogers, an English woman in 1938 and had two girls and a boys, Helen being the second born and second daughter. Helen was five when her surname was changed.

The young Helen started acting in primary school when she earned the starring role in "Hansel and Gretel". She continued to act in high school and afterwards studied at the New College of Speech and Drama in London. She auditioned for the National Youth Theatre when she was 18 and was and was accepted. Two years later she played Cleopatra in the same theatre's Old Vic production of "Antony and Cleopatra". This, she said, launched her career which was very successful. It has included an Academy Award and a British Academy Film Award for her role of Queen Elizabeth II in "The Queen" (2006). (She also portrayed Queen Elizabeth, in a TV mini-series); Tony, Emmy and three British Academy Television Awards. She was appointed a Dame (DBE) in the 2003 Queen's Birthday Honours.
8. Which enduring performer and film producer changed their name to "simplify pronunciation, to enhance euphony [and] disarm bigotry"?

Answer: Woody Allen

Historically, Jews in Hollywood who worked in Entertainment were encouraged to anglicise their names to avoid discrimination. Danny Kaye and Mel Brooks, were both born with the surname Kaminsky. Ramón Estévez changed his name to Martin Sheen to improve his job prospects, although he has retained his birth name for legal documents. His sons made different choices: Carlos Irwin Estévez became Charlie Sheen. Emilio Estevez's name is unchanged. Charles Bronson (born Charles Dennis Buchinsky), and Rita Hayworth (born Margarita Carmen Cansino), Anthony Quinn born Antonio Rodolfo Quinn Oaxaca, and Anne Bancroft born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano were all advised to anglicize their names.

Woody Allen changed his name by deed poll when he was 17. Born Allan Stewart Konigsberg, he became Heywood Allen. The nickname Woody, according to his biographer, David Evanier, comes from his childhood in Brooklyn. He had a crush on a neighborhood girl called Nancy Kreisman. He never approached her but he adopted her dog's name of Woody as his own

All the other performers listed as answer options are known by their real names.
9. "30 Rock" was the vehicle that propelled Tina Fey to stardom. Besides Tracy Morgan who plays Tracy Jordan, which other main actor from "30 Rock" has the same real first name as the character on the show?

Answer: Tina Fey

"30 Rock" was an American sitcom series created by Tina Fey that ran from 2006, to 2013. The show was based on Ms Fey's time as the head writer for "Saturday Night Live", and is set behind the scenes in a fictional live sketch comedy show. Ms Fey plays the role of Liz Lemon, Alec Baldwin - Jack Donaghy, Jane Krakowski - Jenna Maroney and Judah Friedlander -Frank Rossitano.

Ms Fey's real name is Elizabeth Stamatina "Tina" Fey. She was born in 1970 in a small town near Philadelphia and has been known as "Tina" since childhood. She was taken to many comedy shows by her parents. She knew by high school, she wanted to work in comedy and won a prestigious comedy prize studying drama at the University of Virginia. After graduation, she worked as a receptionist during the day in Chicago and worked in improvisational comedy at night. She submitted scripts to "Saturday Night Live" until they hired her as a writer. She made head writer and "30 Rock" in some ways is a case or "art resembling life".
10. Sometimes the first answer you rule out is actually correct. Which one of the following actors did *NOT* have the first name of William?

Answer: Will Ferrell

John William Ferrell was born on July 16, 1967, in Irvine, California. His mother was a teacher and his father, Roy Lee Ferrell Jr. (born 1941), played saxophone and keyboards for the Righteous Brothers. Wil Ferrell is a comedian, actor and producer. He received an Emmy for his writing on "Saturday Night Live" He earned a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2015.

William Bradley Pitt (born December 18, 1963) is known professionally as Brad Pitt and is a particularly well-known actor and producer.

Adam West (1928-2017) is a professional name for William West Anderson. He was best known (some would say type-cast) as Batman in the ABC 60's show of the same name.

William John Neeson was born in 1952 in Ballymena, Northern Island. He was named "Liam" after the local priest. Mr Neeson, is a well known actor particular in the action movie genre.
Source: Author 1nn1

This quiz was reviewed by FunTrivia editor skunkee before going online.
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