For Kiya's Wodehouse challenge - oh the rage of changing names for show biz!
Charlie and Martin Sheen are winning with their names--maybe because they dropped the Latin sound for an American sounding name instead. Although, that's not as bad as people who change their names to something totally different for Hollywood. As seen in the table above, Whoopi Goldberg, Miley Cyrus, and Helen Mirren have changed their names totally. Why, though? Why should a performer change his or her name?
In the case of Whoopi Goldberg, she said she took her name from a whoopee cushion, a toy that is popular among children. She has stated that "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.' And that's where the name came from." Her mother thought a Jewish surname would get her further in Hollywood than her birth last name of "Johnson." For Miley Cyrus, her childhood nickname was "Smiley" and thought that 'Miley or "Miley" would get her further in her career than "Destiny." For Helen Mirren, her Russian name would be too much during the Cold War Era and parted ways with her very long name. That was probably another reason why she parted ways--her name is too long and too hard for Americans to read and speak!
Mila Kunis didn't fully change her name, but she made it sound easier to Western ears. Other performers haven't outright changed their names, but in the case of Michael Keaton--the other Michael Douglas already had that name and he needed something to stand out. Most performers do that; they find names that will make them lots of money and earn them notoriety. Like Vin Diesel; with Fast and Furious, "Vin Diesel" sounds more badass than "Mark Sinclair Vincent" and women find "Vin Diesel" sexier than his birth name.
Who would think a name would make a career. You would think it would be acting skills rather than a name and looks. I guess Shakespeare was right when he questioned with what's in a name. Apparently millions of dollars.