My name is Marian. What’s yours?
A familiar greeting . . .
Names have always fascinated me. I’ve even written about names and naming in previous posts: What’s in a Name? and The Name Game.
But what about name changing? Celebrities, like actors, musicians and other entertainers have changed their names as a way disguise their ancestry, make a statement or achieve a unique identity.
In mid-century, British-sounding names in the entertainment industry were thought to be more appealing to the public than Slavic, German or Jewish-sounding names. Thus . . .
Robert Allen Zimmerman → Bob Dylan
Issur Danielovtich Demsky → Kirk Douglas
Helen Lydia Mironoff → Helen Mirren
Entertainer Whoopi Goldberg apparently began life as Caryn Elaine Johnson.
Dancer Fred Astaire was once Frederick Austerlitz.
Actor Ben Kingsley’s birth certificate reads “Krishna Pandit Bhanji.”
Lady Gaga’s Italian heritage is revealed in her birth name, Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta and Jennifer Anniston’s Greek ancestry in Jennifer Anastassakis.
Vanilla Ice probably signed his grade school papers as Robert Van Winkle.
The suave designer Ralph Lauren was once Ralph Lifshitz!
My maiden name was Longenecker, which was changed to Beaman when I married. As a teacher, I would tell students how to spell my name using the 3-little-words approach: Be-a-man. Very rarely was my last name misspelled.
However, my first name (Marian) apparently is tricky to spell. It is often misspelled and in a number of puzzling variations. People with PhDs (not you of course!) and book authors (again, not you!) are the most frequent offenders. Yes, I’ve kept track of them – ha!
Marrian (on a name card at a dinner by a computer that stuttered)
No wonder John Wayne is no longer MariOn Morrison!
Can you add any other interesting name changes to the ones above? Maybe you have some examples of strange naming or spelling from your own family . . .
P.S. Even if you mangle the spelling of my name, we’ll still be friends. That’s a promise! 😉
Coming next: Purple Passages with the Bard of Avon