When I was a kid I always wanted to be a cowboy even before we had a television. Radio was king on Saturday morning cowboy shows. Naturally, I was known as Billy the Kid. I hated being called Billy. I preferred Rex, Rowdy or even Cisco but my real favorite hero was Leonard Slye. Leonard was better known as Roy Rogers! Roy was born in the western part of Cincinnati qualifying as a westerner. His wife, Dale Evans, was actually Lucille Wood Smith.
Names are fun. Many people have changed their moniker for professional reasons and others for convenience or from embarrassment. Many actors and musicians have changed their names because they are easier to pronounce or so people will remember them. Here are some real doozies.
One on my favorite TV shows features Alan Alda ‘Hawkeye’ the military surgeon in MASH. His real name is Alphonso D ’Abruzzo. Harvey Lee YearyII (Lee Majors) was the Six Million Dollar Man. It was also rumored Carlos Ray was going to buy a house in Johnson City (Chuck Norris) at one time.
Do you remember John Charles Carter parting the waters in ‘The Ten Commandments’ (Charlton Heston) or Archibald Leach wooing women on screen (Cary Grant)? The hotdog jet pilot in Top Gun was Thomas Mapother IV (Tom Cruise).
The beautiful Demetria Gene Guynes co-starred in Ghost (Demi Moore). Jennifer Anastassakis starred in Friends and now does makeup commercials (Jennifer Anniston).
Mom and dad watched the Benjamin Kubelsky Show (Jack Benny) and loved Nathan Birnbaum (George Burns), close but no cigar. Dad liked to watch Bonanza co-starring the late Eugene Orowitz (Michael Landon).
Krishna Banji played the lead in Gandhi (Ben Kingsley) and Billy Pratt was great as Frankenstein (Boris Karloff).
One of my favorite actors was Billy Beedle (William Holden). Another classic and historic movie star, Michael Shalhoub (Omar Sharif) in Dr. Shivago. Kirk Douglas who starred as Spartacus was born Issur Danielovitch Demsky.
Die Hard was a great adventure flick starring Walter Willison (Bruce Willis) and I’ve always enjoyed Maurice Micklewhite’s movies (Michael Cane). Dirty Harry really is Dirty Harry starring Clint Eastwood, his real name!
Next time you are in the grocery store ask a clerk where the Seth Ward Sausage is located. Wait a minute that should be Jimmy Dean Sausage. Everyone knows that!
The song, Uptown Funk, is sung by Bruno Mars whose real name is Peter Gene Hernandez. The multi-talented Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is really Lady Gaga. John Legend’s real name is John Roger Stephens. Alicia Keys’ real name is Alicia Augello Cook.
Snoop Dogg – born Calvin Cordozar Broadus, Jr. Gene Simmons – born Chaim Witz. Muddy Waters – born McKinley Morganfield. Cher – born Cherily Sarkisian and Elvis Costello was born Declan Patrick McManus.
Tina Turner, a great singer, was born Annie Mae Bullock. Elton John was born with three first names, Reginald Kenneth Dwight.
Politicians have been known to change their names but from adoption and include two presidents. Bill Clinton was born William Jefferson Blythe III and Gerald Ford’s birth name was Leslie Lynch King, Jr. Prince Harry who was recently married has four first names, Henry Charles Albert David. Where’s the Harry?
And probably the winner for changing his last name is Ralph Lauren noted for his clothing line, ‘Polo’. Mr. Lauren was born Ralph Lifshitz.