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For grandparents and celebrities, is a name change a game-changer?

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Does it really matter what your grandchildren call you? Grandma, Grammy, PouPou, Gramps? Will they love you any more or less? Is one name more suited to celebrity status than another? That depends.

Celebrities are notorious for changing their names before hitting it big time. In old time Hollywood days, it was especially common for celebrities to disengage from names that sounded ethnic or “too Jewish” so they could better “meld” into the Christian world.

Do you think it would have made a difference to their careers had these stars NOT changed their names?

  • Slan Kongisberg (Woody Allen)
  • Joan Perske (Lauren Bacall)
  • Benny Kubelsky (Jack Benny)
  • Milton Berlinger (Milton Berle)
  • Nathan Birnbaum (George Burns)
  • Melvin Kaminsky (Mel Brooks)
  • Bernie Schwartz (Tony Curtis) daughter is Jamie Lee Curtis
  • Isadore Demsky (Kirk Douglas) son is Michael Douglas
  • Frances Gumm (Judy Garland)
  • Chaim Leibowiz (Lorne Green)
  • Larry Zeiger (Larry King)
  • Joan Molinsky (Joan Rivers)

Oddly enough, there is one celebrity who changed her name from Caryn Johnson. That’s certainly a Christian-enough sounding name, but her mother suggested she NEEDED a Jewish name to be popular, and thus became Whoopie (from whoopee cushion origin) Goldberg!

Do these practices still exist? You betcha!

New faces with new names to match join the ranks of celebrity daily.

Often times celebrities simply drop, substitute or shorten one or more of their given names, for simplicity sake. Alphonso D’Abruzzo is a mouthful, but Alan Alda is easy to prounounce. Eric Banadinovi shortened his name to Eric Bana for the same reason. Lea Michele Sarfati dropped her surname and we know her simply as Lea Michele. William Bradley Pitt is Brad Pitt.

Other celebrity wanna-be’s opted for single, no surname monikers. It seems to work. Really, how many Elviras, Chers, Madonnas or Rihannas do you know? Men do it too, like rapper “Drake”, whose birth name is Aubrey Graham.

For still others, the name that accompanied them to celebrity status was a transformation, either to highlight or disguise their ethnicity or to make them stand out. Would you have as readily accepted Robert Zimmerman as Tamborine Man’s Bob Dylan? Marion Morrison as The Duke, John Wayne? Nicholas Cage, born Nicholas Kim Coppola wanted to make it in Hollywood on his own merits and not on the basis of his family name. Born Peter Hernandez, Bruno Mars selected a name indicative of his ‘star’ quality. Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta, known as Radio GaGa and now Lady Gaga is a one-of-a-kind, and so is her name.More celebrity name-changers:·Shawn Carter started in the business and his friends called him “Jazzy” and better known today as Jay-Z.·Destiny Hope Cyrus was called “Smiley” as a happy baby, and we now know her as Miley Cyrus.·Marco Antonio Muniz shortened his name to Marc Anthony.·Katherine Elizabeth Hudson, not wanting to be confused with Kate Hudson, changed her name to Katy Perry.·Stevland Hardaway Judkins took on the name Stevie Wonder, and it’s no wonder!·Born Carlos Irwin Estevez chose to change his name to Charlie Sheen, yet for Robert Rodriguez's Latino-centric action film "Machete Kills” he was billed as Carlos Estevez. His brother, Emilio Esteves has kept his birth name.·Mario Armado Lavandeira Jr. does very well as Perez Hilton.·Alecia Moore took the stage name Pink, said to be taken from her teen nickname because of her constant blushing. ·Eric Bishop’s stage name is Jamie Foxx. Would his birth name have made him more or less famous?

Overall, the message seems to be to take on an easily pronounceable, memorable name. When you’re choosing your grandparent name, do so with some forethought. Pick a name that distinguishes you from the other grandparents. And remember, no matter what you choose, your babies will somehow manage to change Grammy into Glammy or Gwammy. Just go with it.

No matter what grandparent name you choose, make it stand for unconditional love!

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