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Guest nycdog

Original names of famous people

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Guest nycdog

Roberta Sue Ficker, became Suzanne Farrell. This must be the worst name ever a German friend of mine told me that ficker means exactly the same thing in German as in English if you have a u instead an i.

Glenn Gold, became Glenn Gould at age 9 because his father wanted to have a less Jewish sounding name in his business as a furrier. Might this have something to do with Gould's great interest in the Goldberg Variations? (This comes from Dr. Peter Ostwald's, Glenn Gould - The Ecstasy and Tragedy of Genius, Norton, 1997).

Edited by nycdog5734

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Let's consider Cyd Charisse, who was Tula Ellice Finklea.

Revolutionary General Henry Knox's wife was in a tough place. She was Lucy Flucker. Would you marry a guy named Knox to change that? If I were a woman, I'd consider even Mr. Lipschitz's suit as a step up!

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Lilian Alice Marks (Alicia Markova) and Peggy Hookam (Margot Fonteyn) spring into my mind immediately. My first ballet teacher, Merriem Lanova of the Ballet Russe, was Merriem Crow. It was popular during this era for dancers to change their names to something with a more theatrical flair, often "Russian". Anyone know of any others?...this is fun...

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Then there was my teacher, Ella Lauterber, who danced in The Seven Lively Arts under that name, then changed it to "Lee Vincent" to be a regular Broadway gypsy working under Agnes de Mille. Then she married an army man named Toon, and everybody assumed that she was Chinese!

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Jacques d'Amboise was Jacques Joseph Ahearn.

Merrill Ashley started out as Linda Merrill, but since there already was a dancer by that name in the company, she altered hers.

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And Tamara Geva was Tamara Gevergeyev, Vera Zorina - Birgitta Hartwig, and in case there's a single soul on these boards who doesn't know it, George Balanchine was born Georgi Melitonovich Balanchivadze, his last name reflecting the region of his birth, Tbilisi, Georgia.

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Oh yes, and Allegra Kent was born Iris Margo Cohen. That's why she is often seen with an iris -- it's her signature flower!

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Merrill Ashley started out as Linda Merrill, but since there already was a dancer by that name in the company, she altered hers.

And the Linda Merrill who was already in NYCB had changed her name too; she used to be Linda Rosenthal. :)

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Roberta Sue Ficker, became Suzanne Farrell. This must be the worst name ever

Close, but no cigar, nydog. I think the all time champ in this category is still the movie star Robert Taylor, whose original moniker of Spangler Arlington Brough became the stuff of legend.

Fred Astaire was Frederick Austerlitz, and Ginger Rogers was born Virginia Katherine McMath.

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My favorite is John Wayne, who was born Marion Michael Morrison, and a close runnerup would be Bob Hope, who was born Leslie Townes Hope.

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The cast of the 1974 disaster movie, Earthquake, includes an actor named Walter Matuschanskwyasky, who became better known as Walter Matthau.

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Violette Verdy was born as Nelly Guillerm, and remained so I think, until her starring role in the 1950 film Ballerina.

Sara Leland - b. Sally Harrington.

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Matthau was already a well-established star by the time of Earthquake. He did that little part (The Drunk) in the movie as a sort of lark, and a favor to Charlton Heston. The name on the birth registry actually appears as Walter Matthow. And Jack Palance has appeared in cameos listed under his real name, Vladimir Palahniuk.

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The POB dancer Emmanuel Thibault was born Emmanuel Conjat (he was listed with that name at the POB school).

Zizi Jeanmaire's real first name is "Renée" (actually I don't know why she changed her first name to "Zizi", as its meaning in child speak can be a bit, err, embarrassing).

Christiane Vlassi, Claude Bessy, Fanny Gaida and Carole Arbo (former POB principals) were born respectively Christiane Vlassi, Claude Durand, Caroline Arbonies and Stéphane-Laure Gaida (actually I found the last three ones in an administrative list of people who got the Ordre National du Mérite).

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