Actors aren’t always who they say they are — at least when it comes to their names. That’s because celebrities change their real names all the time, and more often than not, it’s because their nicknames don’t have much memory or get them gigs and roles.
For example, the late Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovitch. The ‘Paths of Glory’ actor said he had no choice but to change the name because his birth name sounded too Jewish for Hollywood when he was just starting out. “I wish I’d kept him,” he told People in 2015. “It’s more interesting to keep its original name. But can you imagine that name on a marquee?” Meanwhile, John Legend was born John Roger Stephens. The “All of Me” singer only changed his name because “John Legend” was a childhood nickname that he couldn’t imagine parting with. “John Legend is a nickname that some friends gave me, and it kind of became my stage name,” he told MTV in 2008, using my real name.
But there are also unique cases like Meg Ryan, who had to choose a different name for her stage name because her birth name seemed just too long.
Meg Ryan’s birth name is too long for Hollywood
Meg Ryan has arguably one of the most recognizable stage names in the industry. But you might be surprised to learn that her real name is different. Per People, her real name is actually a lot longer: Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra. Which is both a mouthful and not exactly easy to remember.
When she was new to show business, Ryan decided to keep it short and sweet, using her nickname Meg as her stage name. Entertainment Weekly also noted that “Ryan” came from her maternal grandmother’s maiden name. She made the change before joining the Screen Actors Guild (SAG), a union that doesn’t allow two members to have identical work names. It’s unlikely Ryan will have a naming twin given her unusually long birth name. But “Meg Ryan” does the trick for easy recall.
Meg Ryan has a habit of changing names
Meg Ryan seems to have taken a habit of changing names. When Ryan adopted a baby girl in 2005, she changed her name to a different one as the actor felt the name assigned did not suit the child.
In an appearance on Oprah, Ryan explained her reasoning and what name she chose instead. “I’ve already had to change her name because she’s just a year old and I thought she was Charlotte, and she just isn’t — she’s a Daisy,” she said (via Contact Music). “She has the most open, beautiful and honest face you will ever see. I just feel really happy again. She’s just this bundle of happiness and love just bouncing around my house.”
It seems Katy Perry was also inspired by Ryan. That’s because the “Firework” singer also named her daughter Daisy, not because of Ryan’s daughter, but because of one of the actor’s lines in the iconic film You’ve Got Mail. Speaking to People, Perry said, “In it she says, ‘Daisies are the friendliest flowers,’ and it’s so true — a daisy could grow anywhere, and it’s just so pure and sweet … it’s spot on,” she shared as she described her baby as “very cute”.