Stage name

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A stage name, also called a showbiz name or screen name, is a pseudonym used by performers and entertainers such as actors, wrestlers, comedians, and musicians.

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Motivation to use a stage name

A performer will often take a stage name because his/her real name is considered unattractive, dull, unintentionally amusing or difficult to pronounce or spell, or because it has been used by another notable individual or because it projects an undesired image. Sometimes a performer adopts a name that is unusual or outlandish to attract attention. Other performers use a stage name in order to retain anonymity. The equivalent concept among writers is called a nom de plume or pen name, while the term ring name is used in professional wrestling. In radio, the term "radio name" or "air name" is used. (e.g. well-known talk radio host Rush Limbaugh, who now uses his real name, was known under the radio name Jeff Christie in his days as a top-40 disk jockey.)

Family connection

Some individuals who are related to a celebrity take a different last name so that they are not perceived to have received undue advantage from their family connection. Examples of these include Luka Bloom (real name Kevin Barry Moore), brother of Christy Moore; and Mike McGear (brother of Paul McCartney). Conversely, individuals who wish to receive benefit from their family connections may take that person's first or last name. For example, Lon Chaney Sr.’s son Creighton spent a number of years appearing in minor roles before renaming himself Lon Chaney Jr. Actress Rebecca Isabelle Laemmle rechristened herself Carla Laemmle in reference to her uncle, Universal Studios head Carl Laemmle. Emilio Estévez and his sister Renee chose not to take their father Martin Sheen’s professional name and use their birth names; however, their brother Carlos chose to use their father's professional name, and took the name Charlie Sheen. Actor David Jason, born David John White, chose the name 'David Jason' after he found out that his twin brother Jason died at birth.

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