For a variety of reasons, many celebrities have chosen to waltz through their careers with a different name than the one on their birth certificate. Some celebrities were born with multi-syllabic masterpieces, like Ilyena Lydia Vasilievna Mironov, who simplified her name to Helen Mirren. Joaquin Phoenix, on the other hand, upgraded from the surname "Bottom." Singers, especially, need a name that fits their persona. That's how Stefani Germanotta turned into Lady Gaga.
There's a certain appeal in the chance to radically reinvent yourself. For years, I dreamt of being called "Isabella." Alas, since I haven't become famous yet, I also haven't gotten a chance to walk around the world with a different name, like Jamie Foxx.
Here's a treasure trove of surprising celebrity stage names, and the logic behind some of their new monikers.
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