What’s in a Name?

26 July 2018
Real names, middle names, stage names. We look at them all.

We might get Marky Mark to plant a tree,” said Paul Rudd’s Josh in the ‘90s teen classic, Clueless, when Mark Wahlberg was still known as Marky Mark. Whatever you choose to call him, he’s still the star of your Sunday night movie this weekend on M-Net.

Returning to the role of dad along with funnyman Will Ferrell, for Daddy’s Home 2, their headbutting characters are joined by their own dads, played by Mel Gibson and film and TV's most buttoned-up dad, John Lithgow.

Before we head home to meet the dads, let’s take a look at who else in Hollywood goes by another name.

  1. Jamie Foxx

The Oscar-winning actor was born Eric Marlon Bishop. He changed his name in the ‘80s when he was getting into comedy. At stand-up gigs women were usually allowed to go on stage first, so he picked the gender-neutral name Jamie in order to get an earlier go in front of the mic. His last name, Foxx, is a tribute to one of his favourite comedians.

  1. Julianne Moore

Born Julie Ann Smith, Moore changed her name for the same reason many Hollywood actors have: when she tried to join SAG she was told to choose a new moniker because they already had actors with similar, or the same, names on the guild.

  1. Katy Perry

When we ask whether you watched Katheryn Hudson’s performance in South Africa last week, we’re really asking you whether you watched Katy Perry’s performance in South Africa last week. The songstress changed her name in order to avoid being confused with actress Kate Hudson.

  1. Lady Gaga

Another famous songstress who changed her name, is Lady Gaga. Our guess would have been that she changed her name because her real one is quite a mouthful, but no one really knows the true story behind the name. Allegedly her music producer Rob Fusari gave her the Gaga because her style brought to mind Queen’s Radio Gaga. The Lady was added by Gaga herself. Still other reports, however, stay it was all an exec decision. Whatever the true tale, it rolls off the tongue a lot easier than her real name: Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta.

  1. Lorde

This singer’s birth name is just as much of a mouthful: Ella Marija Lani Yelich-O'Connor. Her decision to change it was pretty spontaneous and spoke to her “nobility, aristocracy obsession”: hence the title, Lord. She added an ‘e” to make it more feminine.

  1. Marky Mark

Marky Mark was a Calvin Klein model and the frontman of hip-hop group Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch. Born Mark Wahlberg, he dropped his stage name in favour of his real name when he started pursuing acting. With a stellar career in film behind him, he’s never looked back.

  1. Miley Cyrus

This is probably the cutest story of the lot. The Hannah Montana star turned real-life pop sensation was born Destiny Hope Cyrus. Nicknamed “Smiley” as a child, she officially changed her name to Miley in tribute, and added the Ray in honour of her father Billy Ray Cyrus.

  1. Mindy Kaling

Vera Mindy Chokalingam changed her to name to the more American sounding Mindy Kaling when she started out as an actress and writer. Mindy is a tribute to the TV show Mork & Mindy, which her mother watched when she was pregnant with Vera. Kaling is a shortening of her last name.

  1. Natalie Portman

Neta-Lee Hershlag changed her name to Natalie Portman when she became an actress in order to protect her family in case her performance in her first movie, The Professional, was a failure. She needn’t have bothered. Her performance in her debut was exceptional and the actress has gone from strength to strength since.

  1. Rihanna

We’ve got quite a few singers on this list, and here’s another. To be fair, Rihanna has started venturing into acting, and Lady Gaga was an actress before she became a singer. Rihanna is actually Rihanna’s name, but it’s her middle name. Her full name is Robyn Rihanna Fenty. She’s not the only person in Hollywood who uses her middle name. Brad Pitt and Meghan Markle also use their middle names (although Markle is now known as Meghan, Duchess of Sussex). Reese is Reese Witherspoon’s third name, and Angelina Jolie uses her middle name, Jolie, as her last name.

What’s in a name? Quite a lot it would seem.

Watch the man formerly known as Marky Mark join comedic forces with John William Ferrell (more commonly known as Will Ferrell) in your #SundayNightMovie Daddy’s Home 2 on Sunday 29 July at 20:05 on M-Net.