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Do I Need A Stage Name?

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#1 Jonathan Parker

Jonathan Parker


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Posted 18 April 2008 - 09:37 AM

Did you know that Nicolas Cage's real name is Nicolas Coppola? That's right. He's the nephew of famous director Francis Ford Coppola, but he changed his name when he began seeking work in Hollywood to prove that he could make it based on his own talent, rather than the merits of his famous family name.

There are lots of other celebrities that modify their real names or use completely different ones. These names are referred to as stage names or professional names. For example, Natalie Portman's real name is actually Natalie Hershlag. Michael J. Fox's real middle initial is 'A'. Alicia Keys' real name is Alicia J. Augello-Cook. Anna Nicole Smith was born Vickie Lynn Marshall while Carmen Electra's real name is Tara Leigh Patrick.

There are lots of reasons that actors, singers, models and dancers adopt stage names however it is not a prerequisite to success. For most, opting to use a stage name is a personal choice. Under some circumstances an actor must change their name due to union rules. For example, the Screen Actors Guild stipulates that no two members may have identical working names. However, this doesn't mean that you necessarily have to change your name. If your name is Leslie Green and upon applying for your S.A.G. card you discover that there's another Leslie Green, you can opt to use your middle initial or middle name rather than changing your entire name (ex. Leslie M. Green or Leslie Marie Green). I have a friend who encountered this dilemma and chose to use her maiden name.

Popular reasons that entertainers choose a stage name or professional name:
  • Their name may be difficult to spell or pronounce
  • Their name may be considered ordinary, and thus not memorable
  • They want a name that promotes a certain image
  • Their name is the same as or similar to an established celebrity
  • They have an ethnic name and they fear they may face potential discrimination
If you're considering using a stage name, discuss it with your manager or agent first. If you don't have a manager or agent, feel free to discuss it with others in the industry.

Curious if there are any Star Search Casting members that use stage names or professional names? I can tell you that there are quite a few. Log on to and ask
http://www.StarSearchCasting.com experiences using stage names in our community forum.

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Posted 16 September 2010 - 10:31 PM


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