Category: celebrity birth names
By Linda Rosenkrantz
In case you don’t think the middle name choice is an important one, just take a look at the startling number of celebrities who have opted for using theirs in lieu of the first name on their birth certificates! Some have dropped a ho-hum common in favor of a more dramatic middle, others, to avoid confusion, have shed a name shared with their parent.
To begin with, there have been five US Presidents who have made the first-middle name switch:
Hiram Ulysses S. Grant—At 17, when entering West Point, his name was mistakenly written as Ulysses S. Grant and he apparently was happy to lose the HUG initials. The S was for his mother’s maiden name, Simpson.
There was a time when it was de rigueur for performers to change their names—to anglicize those that they felt sounded too ‘foreign’ or to up the cuteness factor of their name (e.g. Alicia ? Jodie). This doesn’t happen so much anymore (hat tip to you, Renee Zellweger and Zach Galifianakis)), unless you’re talking about rock stars and rappers—we have to admit 50 Cent sounds more intriguing than Curtis, Ginuwine than Elgin, and Foxy Brown foxier than Inga.
But looking back at some of the switches made in the past, and in light of changing fashions and trends, a lot of the abandoned names now sound cooler –and often more sophisticated (Julia over Julie) –than their replacements. Here some celebrity names before and after: