Buczyński, Chałupiec, Federkiewicz. To nie lista obecności uczniów na matematyce, ale galeria sław Hollywood, znanych bardziej jako: Charles Bronson, Pola Negrii, Stephanie Powers.

Just as a band needs a name that will be catchy and easy to remember by their fans, famous people must have easily recognisable names as well. A surname good enough for their father might not be appropriate for a rising star.

It could be because the name is too long. David Robert Hayward-Jones is a good enough name, but it takes up too much space when written on an album cover. That’s why it was changed to David Bowie. Archibald Alexander Leach did the same – Cary Grant looked better on the cinema screen. Sometimes an artist does not have to invent a new name – it is enough to drop several existing names or digits. That’s what Jack Uhler Lemmon III did to become plain, old Jack Lemmon , and Thomas Cruise Mapother IV – guess who he is.

As the film industry developed in America some names during certain times were not easy enough for American audiences to catch. Producers and agents needed names that were either English-sounding or at least a little exotic and mysterious. Rodolfo Pietro Filiberto Raffaello Guglielmi was a difficult name to remember. Whereas Rudolph Valentino sounded just fine. Ramon Estevez had some problems in the States because of his Mexican origins. So he was reborn Martin Sheen. His elder son Charlie adopted the same surname, though a younger son is known as Emilio Estevez. Frederick Austerlitz took the name Fred Astaire to hide his Germanic origins. The Battenberg family in England did the same. At the request of the King (during the First World War) they changed their names to the English equivalent: Mountbatten.

Names can be traced to a persons origins and religion. Converting to another religion is a good moment to change a family name. No trace of Cassius Marcellus Clay anymore. The famous boxer changed his name to Muhammad Ali after he converted to Islam. That was also the reason the basketball player Ferdinand Lewis Alcindor changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar. The British singer Cat Stevens also changed his name – to Yusuf Islam – after converting to Islam.

It may sound surprising but sometimes people want to hide their famous name. For Nicholas Coppola it was easier to be named ‚Cage’ than to have the same name as his famous uncle, Francis Ford. Michael Keaton – ‚Batman’ – cannot perform under his real name, Michael Douglas. One Michael Douglas is enough in Hollywood. Another American comedian – Albert Brooks – had no choice but to change his name. His real one – Albert Einstein – was too confusing for the great American public.

Perhaps the best kind of name is one which describes the person in some way. Nathaniel Cole became famous as Nat ‚King’ Cole when he ruled on stage. Stevland Judkins was such a good singer that he acquired an additional name ,’Wonder’, hence the name Stevie Wonder. The Afro-American film director Shelton Lee used his films to criticise racism in the USA and that earned him the nickname ‚Spike’. Riley King already had an good enough name when he started playing the blues before WWII. The letters B.B. were added later. They mean Blues Boy.

For celebrities a pseudonym is a form of cover. We know them by their stage or screen names. However, they want to have private lives just as much as we do. During concerts he may be Sting, but when he goes home and sits in his favourite chair he becomes Gordon Matthew Summer. Celebrities – no matter how much we love and admire them – are just ordinary people, like you and I.

Monika Sczepaniak


catchy chwytliwy
album cover okładka płyty
to drop opusczać, odrzucać
plain zwykły
traced powiązany
to convert zmieniać wyznanie
to perform występować
to rule rządzić
hence stąd, w związku z tym
to earn przynosić, zyskiwać
spike kolec
cover przykrywka
to admire uwielbiać