Home >Mint-lounge >Features >Ten celebrities who changed their names

Hollywood actor Michael Caine, well known for his role as Alfred Pennyworth in the Dark Knight trilogy, recently made his stage name official. Born Maurice Micklewhite, he changed his name to stop airport security from flagging him when the name he went by didn’t match the one on his passport. Like Caine, many celebrities have changed their names for various reasons—be it the fear that their birth name was unpronounceable or to simply sound unique. Here are some of them:

Woody Allen

The Annie Hall director was actually born Allan Stewart Konigsberg. However, he changed his name to Heywood Allen when he was 17 and then became known as ‘Woody’ Allen.

Bruno Mars

Born Peter Gene Hernandez, Bruno Mars changed his name to avoid being stereotyped as a Latino singer. ‘Bruno’ was a childhood nickname after a wrestler Bruno Sammartino and ‘Mars’ made him sound less Hispanic.


Indian actor Sridevi was actually given the name Shree Amma Yanger Ayyapan at birth, but changed it.

Katy Perry

Born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson, pop singer Katy Perry even recorded a Christian album with Red Hill records under her birth name. However, when she later gained fame, she changed her name to avoid being confused with Almost Famous actress Kate Hudson, instead adopting her mother’s maiden name as her new surname.

Sunny Leone

Bollywood film actor Sunny Leone was originally called Karenjit Kaur Vohra, a name she changed when she entered the adult film industry. She adopted the first name ‘Sunny’ as it was a nickname of her brother Sandeep.

Sir Elton John

The Your Song singer was originally named Reginald Kenneth Dwight, but changed it because ‘Reginald’ was a very common name.

Kishore Kumar

The iconic Bollywood singer was originally Abhas Kumar Ganguly, but changed his name to model it after his actor brother Ashok Kumar.

Ben Kingsley

Actor Ben Kingsley, who portrayed Mahatma Gandhi in the 1982 film Gandhi, is in fact of Indian origin and used to be known as Krishna Bhanji. He changed it fearing that his Indian name would hinder his career.

Judy Garland

The Wizard of Oz actress, originally known as Frances Ethel Gumm, changed her name as soon as she got signed on as an actress. ‘Judy’ was after a popular song of the time and ‘Garland’ was taken from the last name of film critic Robert Garland.

Katrina Kaif

Her English origin is evident in her real name—Katrina Turquotte, ‘Turquotte’ being her mother’s maiden name given to her after her parents’ divorce when she was young. Eventually, she did take her father’s last name, Kaif, partly because cricketer Mohammed Kaif was all the rage at the time she entered Bollywood and she thought that an Indian last name would be better suited for a career in the Indian film industry.

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