Friday, February 12, 2016

The real names of 30 television stars

1,  Alan Alda (M*A*S*H) was born Alphonso Joseph D'Abruzzo in New York City on January 28, 1936.  He is the son of stage and film actor Robert Alda (1914-1986).  Robert Alda was born Alphonso Giuseppe Giovanni Roberto D'Abruzzo.

2.  Tim Allen (Home Improvement) was born Timothy Allen Dick in Denver Colorado on June 13, 1953.

3.  Desi Arnaz (I Love Lucywas born Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y de Acha III was born in Santiago de Cuba, Cuba on March 2, 1917.  His father, Desiderio Alberto Arnaz y Alberni II (1894-1973), was the mayor of Santiago de Cuba (Cuba's second largest city after Havana) from 1923 to 1932.

4.  Jack Benny (The Jack Benny Program) was born Benjamin Kubelsky in Chicago, Illinois on February 14, 1894.  He died December 26, 1974.  Benny originally toured as a violinist in vaudeville under his real name. When another violinist, Jan KubelĂ­k (1880-1940), complained that their names were too similar, he called himself Ben Benny (or Ben K. Benny or Ben K. Bennie).  Later, under legal pressure from American jazz violinist Ben Bernie, he changed his name again, this time adopting the moniker "Jack."

There are apparently two stories about how Benny chose "Jack."  The first story holds that he named himself after Jack Osterman, a Vaudeville comedian whom he admired.  The second one holds that he took the name Jack because it is "the sailor's nickname."  During his time in the Navy in World War I, sailors called each other "Jack."

Jack Benny

5.  Perry Como (The Perry Como Show) was born Pierino Ronald Como in Canonsburg, Pennsylvania on May 18, 1912.  He died on May 12, 2001.

6.  Mike Connors (Mannix) was born  Kreker J. Ohanian in Fresno, California on August 15, 1925. In an interview in Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic  SF and Horror Filmmakers (2003), Connors stated that he was renamed by Hollywood talent agent Henry Wilson. Wilson thought that "Ohanian" was too close to the name of actor George O'Hanlon and came up with the name "Touch Connors."  Connors' nickname is "Touch."  It comes from his college days as an athlete at UCLA where he was teased by his teammates about having a soft touch.  The actor was billed as "Touch Connors" until 1957 whereupon he changed his professional name to Michael Connors.

7.  Tony Danza (Taxi, Who's the Boss?) was born Antonio Salvatore Iadanza in Brooklyn, New York on April 21, 1951.

8.  Doris Day (The Doris Day Show) was born Doris Mary Ann Kappelhoff in Cincinnati, Ohio on April 3, 1922 or April 3, 1924 (the year of her birth has been disputed).  Doris reportedly adopted the stage name "Doris Day" at the suggestion of orchestra leader Barney Rapp.  Rapp apparently felt that "Kappelhoff" was too long for a marquee and had high regard for the way Doris sang "Day After Day."

9.  Patty Duke (The Patty Duke Show) was born Anna Marie Duke was born on December 14, 1946 in Elmhurst, Queens, New York. When she was eight years old, her care was turned over to talent managers John and Ethel Ross.  Ethel Ross changed Anna's first name to "Patty," after child star Patty McCormack.

10.  Linda Evans (The Big ValleyDynasty) was born Linda Evenstad in Hartford, Connecticut on November 18, 1942.

Linda Evans

11.  Tina Fey (Saturday Night Live, 30 Rock) was born Elizabeth Stamatina Fey was born in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania (a suburb of Philadelphia) on May 18, 1970.

12.  John Forsythe (Bachelor Father, Dynasty) was born Jacob Lincoln Freund on January 29, 1918 in Penns Grove, New Jersey.  He died on April 1, 2010 at the age of 92.

John Forsythe in 1958

13.  Michael J. Fox (Family Tieswas born Michael Andrew Fox in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada on June 9, 1961.  When Fox made his U.S. television debut in the TV film Letters from Frank, he was credited under the name "Michael Fox."  He then registered with the Screen Actors Guild, only to learn that a veteran American character actor named Michael Fox (1921-1996) had already registered under the same name.  Thus, he had to come up with a new moniker.  He did not want to use his second name, "Andrew," nor did he wish to be called "Michael A. Fox."  Finally, he decided to use the middle initial "J" as a tribute to actor Michael J. Pollard.

14.  Redd Foxx (Sanford and Son) was born Jon Elroy Sanford in St. Louis, Missouri on December 9, 1922.  He died on October 11, 1991.  Foxx was nicknamed "Chicago Redd" due to his reddish hair and ruddy complexion.  His surname was taken baseball great Jimmie Foxx.  The character he played on Sanford and Son was Fred Sanford, his father's name.  He bad an older brother, Fred G. Sanford, Jr.

Redd Foxx

15.  Lorne Greene (Bonanza, Battlestar Galactica) was born Lyon Himan Greene in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada on February 12, 1915.  He died on September 11, 1987.  Greene's mother called him "Chaim" and his school report cards referred to him as "Hyman."  His daughter, Linda Greene Bennett, the author of My Father's Voice: The Biography of Lorne Greene (2004), stated in her book that it is unknown when he began using "Lorne" or when he added an "e" to Green.

16.  Whoopi Goldberg (The View) was born Caryn Elaine Johnson on November 13, 1955 in New York City.  Her stage name was taken from a "whoopi cushion" becauset "If you get a little gassy, you've got to let it go. So people used to say to me, 'You're like a whoopee cushion.'"  "Goldberg? is a last name she chose in order to be regarded more seriously.

17.  Lee Majors (The Big Valley, The Six Million Dollar Man, The Fall Guy) was born Harvey Lee Yeary was born in Wyandotte, Michigan (a suburb of Detroit), on April 23, 1939.  He chose the stage name "Majors" in honour of Johnny Majors, a football player and coach for the University of Tennessee.

Lee Majors

18.  Jerry Mathers (Leave it to Beaver) was born Gerald Patrick Mathers in Sioux City, Iowa on June 2, 1948.

19.  Bob Newhart (The Bob Newhart Show, Newhart) was born George Robert Newhart in Oak Park, Illinois on September 5, 1929.

20.  Tony Randall (The Odd Couple) was born Arthur Leonard Rosenberg in Tulsa, Oklahoma on February 26, 1920.  He died on May 17, 2004.

21.  Donna Reed (The Donna Reed Showwas born Donna Belle Mullenger on January 27, 1921 in Denison, Iowa.  She died on January 14, 1986.  In 1941, Donna signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.  She made her motion picture debut in The Get-Away billed as "Donna Adams,"  However, it wasn't long before MGM changed her name to "Donna Reed."

22.  Jerry Seinfeld (Seinfeld) was born Jerome Allen Seinfeld in Brooklyn, New York on April 29, 1954.

23.  Dinah Shore (The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, The Dinah Shore Show) was born Frances Rose Shore in Winchester, Tennessee on February 29, 1916.  She died on February 24, 1994.  At many of her auditions for orchestras and radio shows, Shore sang the song "Dinah."  A disc jockey named Martin Block could not recall her name and referred to her the "Dinah girl."  The name caught on and became her stage name.

Dianh Shore


24.  Will Smith (The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air) was born Willard Carroll Smith, Jr.on September 25, 1968 in West Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

25.  Jean Stapleton (All in the Family) was born Jeanne Murray in New York City on January 19, 1923.  She died on May 31, 2013.  Her father was Joseph E. Murray  Her mother was Marie A. Stapleton, an opera singer.  Jean took her mother's last name as her professional name.

26.  Jon Stewart (The Daily Show) was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz was born in New York City on November 28, 1962.

Jon Stewart

27.  Danny Thomas (Make Room for Daddy) was born Amos Muzyad Yakhoob Lebanese immigrants in Deerfield, Michigan on January 6, 1912.  He died on February 6, 1991. Thomas originally began performing under an Anglicized version of his birth name, Amos Jacobs Kairouz.  He later changed his name to "Danny Thomas," after two of his brothers.

28.  Marlo Thomas (That Girl) is the daughter of Danny Thomas and his wife, singer Rose Marie Mantell (born Rose Marie Cassaniti).  She was born Margaret Julia Thomas in Detroit Michigan on November 21, 1937.  She became known as "Marlo" due to her childhood mispronunciation of the name "Margaret."
Marlo Thomas

29.  Vivian Vance (I Love Lucy, The Lucy Show) was born Vivian Roberta Jones in Cherryvale, Kansas on July 26, 1909.  She passed away on August 17, 1979.  Vivian changed her surname to "Vance" after folklorist Vance Randolph, a drama teacher who helped her with her technique.

30.  Flip Wilson (The Flip Wilson Show) was born Clerow Wilson, Jr. in Jersey City, New Jersey on December 8, 1933.  He died on  November 28, 1998.  When he was in the Air Force, his fellow serviceman gave him the nickname "Flip," because he entertained them with :flipped out" stories, jokes ando colourful array of dialects.

- Joanne

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