17 Celebs You Probably Didn't Realize Were Using Stage Names

Some celebrity stage names are obvious, like Lady Gaga, and some celebs' names sound like stage names but are actually real, like Paul Hollywood. However, some celeb stage names are genuinely surprising.

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Here are 17 celebs I genuinely didn't realize were using stage names:

1.Graham Norton's real name is Graham Walker.

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He chose a stage name because there was already a performer registered under the name Graham Walker in Equity, the UK actors' union.

2.Keke Palmer's real name is Lauren Palmer.

closeup of her in a sparkly dress for an event
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She told Wired, "I lot of people think, you know, 'cuz my full name is Lauren Keyana Palmer, and they're, 'Oh, that's where [Keke comes] from.' Wrong. I actually hate when people credit Keyana for Keke because, actually, Keke should be credited for Keyana. My sister had an imaginary friend named Keke, and that's how I got the nickname, and that's what informed my full name."

She also told Glamour, "The only people that called me Keke were people in my family. Then one day, my manager at that time heard my mom call me Keke because I wasn't listening. He said, 'That should be your stage name.' So [Keke] went from being just something that my family called me, to being something that the whole world called me. And more than anything, I would love to go back to Lauren."

3.Winnie Harlow is actually Chantelle Brown-Young.

closeup of her in an elegant down for an event
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She told the Daily Front Row, "It's literally just from Winnie the Pooh! I was a big fan growing up, and it was actually from a joke with some friends. We were on the phone with some boys. I grabbed the phone from one of my girls, and was like, 'Don't give my friends attitude!' And the boys asked, 'Who is this?' I looked over, my friend was wearing a Winnie the Pooh T-shirt, so I said my name was Winnie. When I started working, it felt kind of natural to just continue with it. Harlow comes from Jean Harlow; I'm a really big Marilyn Monroe fan, but I didn't want to use Monroe, because that felt cheesy. But Jean Harlow was one of Marilyn's really big career inspirations, so I took the name Harlow. I do love my actual name a lot. At the beginning, I tried to go by Chantelle Winnie, but then decided to keep Winnie Harlow and Chantelle separate. My family calls me Chantelle."

4.Nathan Lane's real name is Joseph Lane.

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He told Playbill, "When I joined Actors Equity, I became Nathan Lane, in honor of Nathan Detroit."

5.Jon Stewart was born Jonathan Leibowitz.

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When he started doing stand-up comedy in the '80s, he performed under a different spelling of his middle name, Stuart. Reportedly, he may have decided to drop his last name because his father left the family when he was nine.

In 1994, he jokingly told the Record, "To borrow a line from Lenny Bruce, I just thought Leibowitz was too Hollywood."

6.Lily James's real name is Lily Thomson.

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James is her dad's first name. When he died in 2008, she decided to adopt his name as her stage name to honor him.

7.Judy Greer is actually Judith Evans.

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She reportedly opted to use her mom's maiden name professionally.

8.Michael Caine was born Maurice Micklewhite.

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When he made his professional theatrical debut in 1953, he initially chose the stage name Michael Scott. A few years later, however, he signed with a new agent, who told him that there was already another Michael Scott working as an actor in London. Inspiration for his new stage name struck when he was making a call from a phone box. He looked around Leicester Square and noticed The Caine Mutiny was playing at a nearby movie theater.

9.Fall Out Boy's Patrick Stump's real name is Patrick Stumph.

closeup of him playing guitar on stage
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He reportedly changed the spelling of his last name so that people wouldn't mispronounce it.

Though he doesn't generally go by his full name, he chose a different middle name as part of his stage name. In 2013, he tweeted, "I like to use 'Vaughn' professionally to honor my mom's family, whom I love dearly."

10.Jake T. Austin's real name is Jake Szymanski.

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His full name is Jake Toranzo Austin Szymanski. Toranzo is his mom's last name.

11.Issa Rae is actually Jo-Issa Diop.

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She uses her middle name, Rae professionally. Her parents gave it to her in honor of her late aunt.

12.Kat Dennings's real name is Katherine Litwack.

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She told Philadelphia Magazine, "I didn't want to use my family name because I thought, A, it was a little hideous, and B, I wanted to know when someone really knew me or they didn't. I was a precocious youngster."

13.The Cheetah Girls actor Sabrina Bryan's real name is Reba Hinojosa.

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Sabrina is her middle name, and Bryan is the name of her younger brother, who died as an infant.

She told People En Español, "I thought using his name was a way that his life could still go on as I prospered as an actress."

14."Riptide" singer Vance Joy is actually James Keogh.

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In 2012, he wanted to create a new identity for his music, so he chose the name of a minor character from Bliss by Peter Carey.

15.Jane Seymour was born Joyce Frankenberg.

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She reportedly decided to use the name of King Henry VIII's third wife as her stage name because it seemed more marketable.

16.Joan Rivers was born Joan Molinsky.

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She told the Baltimore Sun, "In the late '50s, when pretty was in, I had an agent named Tony Rivers, who told me that he couldn't send me out to casting agents without a pretty name. No one would see a Joan Molinsky, so I said I'll go as Joan Rivers, and it stuck."

17.And finally, Joan's daughter, Melissa Rivers, was born Melissa Rosenberg.

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She decided to adopt her mother's stage name out of respect for her.

On Geraldo, she said, "Everyone knows my last name is Rosenberg, and I think it's time my mom has gotten a lot of credit for what she has done."