That’s really why Michael Keaton changed his name

Michael Keaton is widely known and loved as one of the most dominant actors in the American film industry. After getting his big break as Bill “Blaze” Blazejowski in Ron Howard’s 1982 comedy Night Shift, Keaton landed a string of notable career-changing roles, per IMDb.

This led to a long-lasting and successful partnership with acclaimed filmmaker Tim Burton beginning in the late ’80s, in which he starred in Beetlejuice, followed by Burton’s Batman series. He most recently received an enormous boost in popularity in 2014 for his critically acclaimed portrayal of the protagonist Riggan Thomson in Alejandro González Iñárritu’s “Birdman”. He received his first Oscar nomination for this role.

Despite Keaton’s widespread popularity and notoriety both in the United States and internationally, many fans may be shocked to know that Michael Keaton isn’t actually his real name. Like many other actors in Hollywood, Michael Keaton changed his name from a particularly recognizable one before making it big in Hollywood.

Michael Keaton’s real name was already taken

Unlike many actors who changed their names (especially in the early days of Hollywood) simply to attract attention or because their birth names sounded unattractive, actor Michael Keaton was initially opposed to changing his name but ended up doing so largely because of his birth name forced was already in the limelight.

Like singer Katy Perry, who adopted her stage name because her birth name Katheryn Hudson was apparently already taken by actress Katy Hudson, Keaton has a famous real-life nickname. The actor, born Michale John Douglas, had to change his name because there was already more than one “Michael Douglas” in the industry; one is the famous son of Kirk Douglas and the other is the eponymous host of the long-running syndicated daytime talk show The Mike Douglas Show. The Screen Actors Guild, then the largest union representing film and television actors in America, banned its members from sharing screen names, which has led to many adopting stage names.

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In a 2012 interview with Grantland, Keaton spoke about how the entertainment industry told him he needed to change his name after he got his first real gig. “I spoke to Michael Douglas about it [the name change],” he said. “At the time I didn’t think it would matter. I got the gig and they said, ‘You must have a different name.’ And I said, ‘No, I don’t.’ And they said, ‘Yes, you do. To join the union.'”

Michael Keaton found his stage name in the phone book

Though Michael Keaton is a “huge fan” of famous actors Buster Keaton and Diane Keaton, he said he didn’t change his last name to honor them. In a 2017 interview with Stephen Colbert, Keaton said he chose the name more or less at random. “I was in the Ks of the alphabet,” he said. “I thought, ‘It’s close enough.’ You know, ‘How about this?… Whew! One of those moments.” be.

“For a while I considered calling myself Michael Murtaugh because I admire him [baseball player] Danny Murtaugh so much,” Keaton told the outlet. “But I thought that sounded almost artificial. And then I thought of Keats, but that sounded presumptuous. I was in the K’s in the phone book when I thought of Keaton.”

But despite his fame as Michael Keaton, the “Dopesick” actor actually tries to use his birth name as often as possible. “I’m proud of my name,” he told Colbert in 2017. “I’m trying to kind of make it easier again.” Given the acclaim that both his stage name and birth name have around the world, it can be a difficult task. Still, Keaton changed his name once, so it stands to reason that he might be able to do it again.

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