This morning we received the Royal announcement, the name of the new Prince, Louis Arthur Charles. And that got us thinking…
Celebrities, perhaps uninspired by their given names, adopted new ones along the road to stardom I’m thinking of Reginald Kenneth Dwight (Elton John), Norma Jean Kelly (Marilyn Monroe), Thomas Mapother IV (Tom Cruise) and Carlos Irwin Estevez (Charlie Sheen) – to name but a few. And then George Eliot using male penname to escape a stereotype of the time.
Samuel Mark Longhorne – Mark Twain (1835-1910)
Among his novels are The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. Although writing under several pen names such as ‘Josh’ and ‘Thomas Jefferson Snodgrass’ in his early satirical writing career and finally settling on Mark Twain.
Frances Ethel Gumm – Judy Garland (1922–1969)
Best remembered for her iconic role as Dorothy in the Wizard of Oz, Garland’s career spanned 45 of her 47 years – on stage! According to theatre legend Garland was advised to change her name whilst touring with her sisters ‘The Gumm Sisters’, when their act was incorrectly billed as the ‘Glumm’ sisters which clearly would not draw audiences – and thus was born the ‘Garland Sisters’.
Stevland Hardaway Judkins – Stevie Wonder (born 1950)
Considered a child prodigy he is recognised by many as the most commercially successful musical performer of the late 20th century. Before signing at the age of 11, it is understood that Motown renamed the singer ‘Little Stevie Wonder’ – later ditching the “Little” as he grew.
Maurice Joseph Micklewhite – Sir Michael Caine (born 1933)
Our National treasure has featured in over 115 films! Caine first adopted the stage name ‘Michael White’ in his early career before realising it was already in use. Under pressure to decide upon a new stage name it is said that he was inspired after seeing the billboard for the The Caine Mutiny.
There is little doubt that Prince Louis of the House of Windsor, named after his Grandfather’s Great Uncle Louis Mountbatten is unlikely to want to change his name. It suits him so well.