List of people who adopted matronymic surnames

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This is a list of notable people who have changed, adopted or adjusted their surnames based on a mother's or grandmother's maiden name. Included are people who changed their legal names and people who created personal or professional pseudonyms. Under longstanding Western custom and law, children are customarily given the father's surname, except for children born outside marriage, who often carry their mother's family names.[1] However, in the 1970s, some women began to adopt their mother's maiden name as their legal surnames.[2] People in Sweden have recently begun adopting maternal line surnames in an effort to broaden the number of last names in the country.[3]


Stage names[edit]

Many actors and other entertainers elect to add or include their mothers' maiden names in their adopted stage names. The book How to be a Working Actor: The Insider's Guide to Finding Jobs in Theater, Film, and Television advises aspiring performers to consider changing their names, noting that "if [your birth name] is difficult to spell, pronounce, or remember, it may not be the name you want for your professional career." It goes on to suggest: "If you want to retain a connection to your family, try using your mother's maiden name or the name of a revered relative."[4]

A person's mother's maiden name is used by many financial institutions as a key piece of information to validate a customer's identity.[5] In 2005, researchers showed that the common practice of using a mother's maiden name as the basis for a stage name could be exploited to entice people to reveal that name and other details that could allow fraudsters to steal their identities. Researchers asked a random sample of people on London streets a series of questions, beginning with "What is your name?" They then engaged in conversation about theatre, asked people if they knew how actors choose their stage names, then told them that stage names were typically a combination of the name of a pet and the mother's maiden name. Next the participants were asked what their stage names would be; 94% responded by revealing both their mother's maiden name and a pet's name.[5]

List[edit]

A[edit]

  • Janet Achurch, British actress, was born Janet Sharp; her mother died during childbirth and she was reared by her father William Prior Sharp, an insurance agent. She later adopted her maternal grandparents' surname (Achurch) as her professional name.[6]
  • Edie Adams, American actress, chanteuse and singer, was born Edith Elizabeth Enke to Sheldon Alonzo Enke and his wife, Ada Dorothy (née Adams), later adopting her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[7]
  • Maude Adams, American actress, was born Maude Ewing Kiskadden and adopted her mother's maiden name of Adams as her stage name.[8]
  • Theodor Adorno, German sociologist, philosopher and musicologist known for his critical theory of society, was born Theodor Ludwig Wiesengrund to Oscar Alexander Wellington (1870–1946) and Maria Calvelli-Adorno della Piana (1865–1952). His mother wanted her son's paternal surname to be supplemented by the addition of her own surname/maiden name, Adorno. His earliest publications carried the name Theodor Wiesengrund-Adorno. Upon his application for United States citizenship, his name was modified to Theodor W. Adorno. He was also sometimes known by such aliases as Theodor Ludwig Adorno-Wellington and Theodor Ludwig Adorno-Wiesengrund before becoming a U.S. citizen.[9]
  • Priscilla Ahn, American singer-songwriter, was born Priscilla Natalie Hartranft. For her career, Ahn adopted her Korean mother's maiden name.[10]
  • Clay Aiken, American singer-songwriter, was born Clayton Holmes Grissom. Estranged from his birth father, Vernon Grissom, and with the permission of his mother (Faye Aiken Grissom) and his maternal grandfather (Alvis Aiken), Clay legally changed his surname from Grissom to Aiken at the age of 19.[11]
  • Anna Akhmatova, Russian poet, born Anna Andreyevna Gorenko, adopted her great-grandmother's maiden name after her father objected to her vocation and called her writings "decadent" and did not want to see any verses printed under his "respectable" name.[12]
  • Svetlana Alliluyeva, daughter of Joseph Stalin, began using her mother's surname after her father's death in 1953.[13]
  • Clarence Ashley, American singer and musician, also known as Tom Ashley and Thomas Ashley, was born Clarence Earl McCurry, but adopted his mother's maiden name after his parents separated.[14]
  • Susan Ashton, American contemporary Christian musician, was born Susan Rae Hill, but elected to use her mother's maiden name as her professional surname to distinguish herself from another contemporary Christian singer, Kim Hill.[15]
  • Michael Ayrton, English artist and writer, was born Michael Gould. For professional purposes, he adopted his mother (Barbara Ayrton-Gould)'s maiden name.[16]

B[edit]

  • Jean Babilée, French ballet dancer and choreographer, was originally named Jean Gutmann but adopted his mother's maiden name for professional use.[17]
  • Lauren Bacall, American actress, was born Betty Joan Perske. After her parents divorced when she was a young child, she assumed her maternal grandmother's surname (also her mother's maiden name) of Bacal. She later added a second "l" to make the pronunciation clearer.[18]
  • Antonio Banderas, Spanish actor, was born José Antonio Domínguez Banderas. He dropped his first (paternal) surname (Domínguez), electing to use his second surname (his mother's maiden name, Banderas) as his acting name.[19]
  • Edith Barrett, American actress, born Edith Williams, adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name. She was the granddaughter of Lawrence Barrett.[20]
  • Sir Brian Batsford, British painter, designer, publisher and Conservative Party politician, was originally named Brian Cook and used that name for his early artwork and in his first electoral candidacy. In June 1946, when he was 35 years old, he adopted his mother's maiden name of Batsford for business reasons at the request of an uncle. He sometimes joked that "Brian Cook ceased to exist" after World War II.[21]
  • Richard Bebb, English actor, born Richard Bebb Williams, "...[h]e changed to his mother's surname (Bebb) to avoid confusion with another player."[22]
  • Beck, born Bek David Campbell; now known as Beck Hansen. Adopted his mother's maiden name (Hansen) after his father was estranged from the family.[23]
  • Peter Benenson, English activist, was born in London as Peter James Henry Solomon to a Jewish family, the only son of Harold Solomon and Flora Benenson, Peter Benenson adopted his mother's maiden name later in life, reportedly in tribute to his maternal grandfather, the Russian gold tycoon Grigori Benenson, following the latter's death.[24]
  • David Benioff, American writer, was born David Friedman in New York City; he changed his surname to Benioff, his mother's maiden name.[25]
  • Jeannie Berlin, American actress, born Jeannie Brette May, to Marvin and Elaine (née Berlin) May.
  • Wolfgang Bernhard, German businessman. Born Wolfgang Ayerle, he later took his mother's maiden name as his professional name.[26][27]
  • Neil and Peter Billingsley, American actors, directors, and producers, born to Alwin Michaelsen, a financial consultant[28][29] and Gail Billingsley, a niece of Stork Club owner Sherman Billingsley;[30][31] the brothers have been known, alternatively, as Neil Billingsley-Michaelsen and Peter Billingsley-Michaelsen.[32][33]
  • Yelena Bonner, Soviet dissident and human rights activist, was born Lusik Georgievna Alikhanova[34] to Georgy Alikhanov (né Gevork Alikhanyan) and Ruf Bonner, but changed her first name and chose to keep her mother's maiden name as her own surname through two marriages and until her death.[35]
  • Patricia Bosworth, American journalist, biographer and former actress and model, was born Patricia Crum in Oakland, California, the daughter of writer Anna Gertrude Bosworth and attorney Bartley Crum.[36][37]
  • Margaret Bourke-White, American photographer who was born Margaret White. In 1927, following a brief, failed marriage, she adopted her mother's maiden name ("Bourke") as part of her new hyphenated name, Bourke-White.[38]
  • Stephen Boyd, Northern Irish actor; born William Millar, he adopted his mother's maiden name as his professional surname.[39]
  • Jacqueline Boyer, French singer and actress, was born Jacqueline Ducos, the daughter of performers Jacques Pills (né René Jacques Ducos) and Lucienne Boyer, and adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[citation needed]
  • René Boylesve, French author whose birth name was René Marie Auguste Tardiveau, used his mother's maiden name in his pen name.[40]
  • Hercules Brabazon Brabazon, English artist, was born Hercules Brabazon Sharpe and adopted his mother's maiden name as his surname to inherit a family estate.[40]
  • Klaus Maria Brandauer was born Klaus Georg Steng (or Stenj), the son of Maria Brandauer and Georg Steng (or Georg Stenj). He subsequently adapted his mother's maiden name as his professional name.[41][42][43]
  • Sir Francis Buller-Yarde-Buller, 2nd Bt. of Churston Court, British aristocrat, born to Sir Francis Buller and his wife, Susanna (née Yarde), he incorporated his mother's maiden name into his own. His own son and heir, John, changed the surname to Yarde-Buller, dropping the first "Buller", and the name has remained in this form ever since.
  • Anthony Burgess, English writer, teacher and composer, born John Anthony Burgess Wilson to Joseph and Elizabeth (née Burgess) Wilson; he adopted his mother's maiden name as his professional name when he became a published author.[44][45][46]

C[edit]

  • Christian Camargo, U.S. actor and director, was born Christian Minnick in New York City, the son of actress Victoria Wyndham and grandson of actor Ralph Camargo. He adopted his mother's maiden name professionally.[47]
  • Helen Stuart Campbell, American social reformer and pioneer in the field of home economics, was born Helen Stuart, but made "Stuart" her middle name, adopting her mother's maiden name (Campbell) as her surname, for reasons which are unclear.[48][49]
  • Denis Cannan, British dramatist, playwright and script writer, was born Harold Denis Pullein-Thompson, the son of Captain Harold J. Pullein-Thompson and novelist Joanna Cannan, he later adopted his mother's maiden name as his own.[50]
  • Diana Canova, American actress, was born Diane Canova Rivero, the daughter of actress Judy Canova (née Juliette Canova) and musician Filberto Rivero. She adopted her mother's surname as her professional name.[51]
  • Bobby Capó, Puerto Rican-American singer-songwriter musician, born Félix Manuel Rodríguez. Born in Coamo, Puerto Rico, he adopted his stage name (Rodríguez is a common Hispanic surname, so he reportedly opted to use his mother's less common one, Capó, instead), and migrated to New York City early in the 1940s.[52]
  • Barbara Carrera, Nicaraguan-American model and socialite, was born Barbara Kingsbury in 1945 in San Carlos, Nicaragua. Her mother, Doña Florencia Carrera, was a native Nicaraguan, and her father, Louis Kingsbury, was an American employee of the United States embassy in Nicaragua. She changed her last name to her mother's surname after beginning her career as a model with the Eileen Ford agency.[53]
  • Igor and Oleg Cassini, born Igor Cassini Loiewski and Oleg Cassini Loiewski, respectively. Igor, the younger brother (1915–2002) was an American syndicated gossip columnist for the Hearst newspaper chain. Oleg, the elder brother (1913–2006), was a well-known American fashion designer. Both brothers adopted the maiden name of their mother, Countess Marguerite Cassini, an aristocrat of Russian and Italian descent.
  • Leo Castelli, American art dealer, acquired his mother's maiden name of "Castelli", in place of his birth name of "Krausz" or "Krauss", as a child, when his birth city of Trieste was transferred from Austrian to Italian control.[54]
  • Alexander "Sandy" Chaplin, American actor, was born Alexander Gaberman. He and his wife Daisy (Harold Prince's daughter) changed their surnames to Daisy's mother (Judith Chaplin)'s name.[55]
  • Francis Charteris, 7th Earl of Wemyss, a Scottish peer, was the second son of James Wemyss, 5th Earl of Wemyss and his wife Janet, the daughter of Colonel Francis Charteris, whose surname Francis Wemyss adopted on 24 February 1732, legally changing his name to Francis Wemyss Charteris, upon inheriting the estates of his maternal grandfather.[citation needed]
  • Eric Clapton, British musician and singer, was born in Ripley, Surrey, England, the son of 16-year-old Patricia Molly Clapton (b. 7 January 1929) and Edward Walter Fryer (21 March 1920 – 15 May 1985), a 24-year-old soldier from Montreal, Quebec.[56][57][58]
  • Chris Cornell, American rock musician and singer (Soundgarden, Audioslave) was born Christopher John Boyle. Following their parents' divorce, he and his siblings changed their surnames from Boyle to their mother's maiden name (Cornell).[59]
  • Constance Cummings, American-born British actress, was born Constance Halverstadt, the daughter of Dallas Vernon Halverstadt, a lawyer, and his wife, Kate Logan Cummings, a concert soprano.[60]
  • Peggy Cummins, Irish actress, born Augusta Margaret Diane Fuller in Prestatyn, Denbighshire, Wales, where she was born because her Irish parents happened to be there and a storm kept them from returning to their home in Dublin for her birth. Her mother was an actress in her own right, Margaret Cummins (1889–1973), whose name Peggy adopted as her own professionally.[61]
  • Louise Currie, American actress, was born in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, the daughter of Charles W. Gunter, a banker, and his wife, Louise (née Currie),[62] whose maiden name she would take for her professional acting surname.
  • Peter Theo Curtis, American journalist and released hostage, was born Peter Theophilus Eaton Padnos in Atlanta, Georgia to Michael Padnos and Nancy Curtis;[63] he adopted his mother's surname after his parents separated.

D[edit]

  • Jeremy Davies, American actor, born Jeremy Boring. He adopted his mother's maiden name as his professional name when he began acting.[64]
  • Patti Davis, American actress and daughter of President Ronald Reagan, born Patricia Ann Reagan, began using her mother's maiden name of "Davis" while she was a university student.[65] In 2009, she told interviewer Tavis Smiley that she "had that famous kid thing of I just want my own identity" and that she chose her mother's maiden name for her new name "because I really didn't want to anger my parents."[66]
  • Bill de Blasio, born Warren Wilhelm, Jr., is an American activist and politician. He was sworn in as the 109th Mayor of New York City on 1 January 2014. He was born to Warren and Maria (née de Blasio) Wilhelm in 1961 in Manhattan.[67] His father was of German descent, and his maternal grandparents, Giovanni and Anna, were Italian immigrants.[68][69] His family always called him "Bill" and he legally changed his name in 2001 to Bill de Blasio.
  • Chris de Burgh, British/Irish singer-songwriter, born Christopher John Davison in Venado Tuerto, Argentina, to Colonel Charles Davison, a British diplomat, and Maeve Emily de Burgh, a native of Ireland; he later adopted his mother's maiden name as his professional surname.[70]
  • Yvonne De Carlo, Canadian-American actress, was born Margaret Yvonne Middleton. She was not yet three years old when her father abandoned the family. Left on her own, her mother returned to using her maiden name, Marie De Carlo, and the actress later took "De Carlo" for her own career.[71]
  • Albert Dekker, American actor, was born Albert Van Ecke in Brooklyn, New York; he adopted his mother's maiden name of Dekker as his stage name.[72]
  • Paco de Lucía, Spanish guitar player, was born Francisco Gustavo Sánchez Gomes. "In the documentary Paco de Lucía - Light and Shade: A Portrait, he tells how, when he was playing in the streets as a young boy, there were many Pacos and Pablos in Andalusia taking this into consideration and ... [he] ... wanted to honor [his] Portuguese mother Lucia [Lúcia] Gomes, Paco took his stage name Paco de Lucía".[73]
  • Pepe de Lucía, born José Sánchez Gomes, Spanish flamenco singer and songwriter. One of the five children born to flamenco guitarist Antonio Sánchez Pecino and his Portuguese wife, Lúcia Gomes, Pepe, like his brother, Paco, adopted his professional name to honor their mother.[74]
  • Catherine Deneuve, French actress, was born Catherine Fabienne Dorléac. When she was to appear in a movie with her elder sister, Françoise Dorléac, she adopted the surname of her mother, actress Renée Deneuve, to distinguish herself from her sister.[75]
  • Patrick Dewaere, born either Patrick Jean Marie Henri Bourdeaux or Jean-Marie Patrick Bourdeau, and known professionally as Patrick Maurin, he finally opted for the stage surname Dewaere, which was his grandmother's maiden name.[citation needed]
  • Susan Dey, American actress, was born Susan Hallock Smith, the daughter of Gail (née Dey), a nurse who died of pneumonia when Dey was eight years old, and Robert Smith, a newspaper editor. She adopted her late mother's maiden name as her professional name.[76][77]
  • Xavier Dolan, Canadian actor, director and screenwriter; the son of Quebec actor Manuel Tadros and Geneviève Dolan, a teacher; he adopted his mother's maiden name as his professional name.[78]
  • Arielle Dombasle, American actress; born Arielle Laure Maxime Sonnery de Fromental, to Jean-Louis Melchior Sonnery de Fromental, a silk manufacturer, and his wife, Francion Garreau-Dombasle. The Dombasle surname came into existence in 1912, when Arielle's grandfather René Sonnery (1887–1925), an industrialist from Lyon, married Anne-Marie Berthon du Fromental. In memory of her mother who died at the age of 36, Arielle took the pseudonym Arielle Dombasle.[79]
  • Melvyn Douglas, American actor; born Melvyn Edouard Hesselberg to Lena Priscilla (née Shackelford) and Edouard Gregory Hesselberg, he adopted his maternal grandmother's maiden name (Douglas) as his professional and legal name.[80]
  • Eddie Dowling, American actor and producer, was born Joseph N. Goucher; he adopted the maiden name of his mother (Bridget Mary Dowling) as his stage surname.[81]
  • Zélia Duncan, born Zélia Cristina Gonçalves Moreira, is a Brazilian singer and composer. She adopted the surname "Duncan" (her mother's maiden name) professionally.[82]
  • Michael Dunn, born Gary Neil Miller, he changed his surname to Dunn (his maternal grandmother's maiden name) as there was already one performer in the actor's union with the name Gary Miller; it is unknown why he changed his first name to Michael.[83]
  • Shaila Dúrcal, born Shaila de los Ángeles Morales de las Heras, the daughter of Spanish singer Rocío Dúrcal and Filipino singer, Antonio Morales, known professionally as Junior Morales. Shaila adopted her mother's professional surname (Dúrcal) as her own, professionally if not legally.[84]

E[edit]

  • Biddy Early, Irish herbalist, accused by some of being a witch, was born in County Clare and baptised Bridget Ellen Connors. Her parents were John Thomas Connors, a poor farmer, and his wife Ellen (née Early). She later adopted her mother's maiden name and was known as Biddy (a nickname for Bridget) Early for most of her life.[85]
  • John Elwes, English politician (birth name "Meggot") was born on 7 April 1714 into a respectable English family. His father, Robert Meggot, was a respected Southwark brewer and his grandfather was Sir George Meggot, MP for that same borough.[86] His mother, Amy (née Elwes), was the granddaughter of Sir Gervase Elwes, 1st Baronet and MP for Suffolk (see Elwes baronets).[87][88]
  • Aaron and Ethan Embry, American songwriter/record producer and actor brothers — born Ethan Philan Randall and Aaron Randall, respectively, they adopted the surname of their mother, Karen Embry, a screenwriter and talent manager.[89]

F[edit]

  • Maude Fealy (1883–1971), actress, was born as Maude Mary Hawk in Memphis, Tennessee;[90] her mother was actress/acting coach Margaret Fealy.[citation needed]
  • Felix Fibich, Polish-born American actor, dancer, choreographer and teacher, born Fajwel Goldblatin in 1917 in Warsaw, Poland (then part of Imperial Russia). He adopted Fibich, his maternal grandmother's surname, as his professional name.[91]
  • Ruth Fischer (1895–1961), co-founder of the Austrian Communist Party in 1918, was born Elfriede Eisler in Leipzig, the daughter of Rudolf Eisler, a professor of philosophy, and his wife, Marie (née Fischer). According to secret information declassified in 2010, she was a key agent of the American intelligence service known as "The Pond".[92][93][94]
  • Tara Fitzgerald, British actress, born Anne Tara Callaby[95] in Cuckfield, Sussex to Irish portrait photographer Sarah Geraldine Fitzgerald and English artist Michael Callaby. When she was still a child her family moved to Freeport, Bahamas, where her maternal grandfather, David Fitzgerald, practised law. Her parents divorced after returning to England when Tara was three years old; she uses her mother's surname.
  • Margot Fonteyn, British ballerina, was born Margaret Hookham. Her stage name, which she first used when she made her professional debut at the age of 15, was adapted from her first name and her mother's maiden name.[96]
  • Brenda and Ralph Forbes, British-born American stage and film actors (siblings) were born to E. J. Taylor and actress Mary Forbes; they adopted their mother's maiden name professionally.[citation needed]
  • J.D. Fortune (aka Jason Dean Fortune), Canadian rock singer and songwriter; born Jason Dean Benninson, he adopted his mother's maiden name as his own surname.[97]
  • Anthony Franciosa, American actor, was born Anthony George Papaleo to Italian-American parents; raised by his mother and aunt, he adopted his mother's maiden name (Franciosa) as his professional name.[98]

G[edit]

  • Troy Garity, American actor and social activist, born Troy O'Donovan Hayden, is the son of Jane Fonda and Tom Hayden. His professional surname, Garity, is the maiden name of his paternal grandmother.[99]
  • Elizabeth Garner, Scottish-Dominican writer, socialite and politician, was born Elma Gordon-Cumming, the eldest of five siblings born to Sir William Gordon-Cumming and his wife, Florence Josephine (née Garner; 1870–1922). She adopted her mother's maiden name (Garner) as a pen name.[100]
  • David Garrett, German classical violinist, was born David Bongartz, the son of a German jurist and an American prima ballerina; he later adopted his mother's maiden name as his own.[101]
  • Theodor Geisel, American writer, based his pen name of Dr. Seuss on his middle name, which was his mother's maiden name (Henrietta Seuss).[102]
  • Troy Gentile, American actor (The Goldbergs), born Troy Francis Farshi,[103] adopted his mother (Debbie Gentile)'s maiden surname.
  • Ryan Giggs, Welsh footballer, was born Ryan Joseph Wilson, but at age 16 legally adopted his mother's maiden name as his professional surname.[104]
  • Cherie and Mark Gil, Filipino acting siblings, born Evangeline Rose Gil Eigenmann and Raphael Joseph De Mesa Eigenmann, respectively. The children of actors Eddie Mesa and Rosemarie Gil, Cherie and Mark adopted their mother's maiden name professionally.[105]
  • John Gilroy, for whom the town of Gilroy, California is named, was born John Cameron. After deserting from his ship, the Isaac Todd, in Monterey, California, in 1814,[why?] he adopted his mother's maiden name as his own in an ultimately successful ruse to avoid being retaken. When he later was received into the Roman Catholic faith, he was baptized as Juan Bautista María Gilroy.[106]
  • Paulette Goddard, American film actress, born with the surname Levy, she adopted her mother (Alta Goddard)'s maiden name professionally.[107]
  • Gale Gordon, American actor, was born Charles Thomas Aldrich, Jr., in New York City to American vaudevillian Charles Thomas Aldrich and his wife, English actress Gloria Gordon; he adopted his mother's surname "Gordon" (her professional name), when he became an actor himself.[108]

H[edit]

  • Cosmo Hamilton, English playwright and novelist, was the pen name of Henry Charles Hamilton Gibbs, aka Cosmo Gibbs, an English playwright and novelist whose mother's maiden name was Hamilton.[109]
  • David Hamilton, British radio and TV presenter, was born David Pilditch, but took up his mother's maiden name as his surname after he was advised that his real name would be difficult for audiences to remember.[109]
  • Jean Harlow, American actress, was born Harlean Harlow Carpenter; Jean Harlow had been her mother's maiden name.[110]
  • Samantha Harris, American model, and television presenter/personality. Born Samanthan Harris Shapiro; she adopted her mother's maiden name (Harris) as her professional name.[111][112]
  • Lilian Harvey, English-born actress and singer, who spent many years in Germany, was born Helene Lilian Muriel Pape. Her mother was English and her father was a German businessman. She began her career by attending the dance and voice school of the Berlin State Opera, later adopting her maternal grandmother's maiden name (Harvey) as her professional name.[113][114]
  • Rita Hayworth, American actress and dancer, was born Margarita Carmen Cansino and appeared in her first 10 movies under the name Rita Cansino. Subsequently, under the tutelage of her first husband and manager, she altered her physical appearance and adopted the maiden name of her mother (Volga Hayworth) so as to no longer be perceived solely as an exotic or ethnic Latina.[115]
  • Mlle Hervez, French actress; born Geneviève Béjart, she later adopted a variation of her mother's maiden name (Hervé) as her stage name.[116]
  • Dana Hill, American film, television and voice actress; born Dana Lynne Goetz, she adopted her mother's maiden name (Hill) as her professional acting name in the 1970s to avoid the appearance of nepotism as her father worked in the entertainment industry.[117]
  • Sir Bernard Hogan-Howe, QPM, Commissioner of Police of the Metropolis (of London; as of 2012); former Chief Constable of the Merseyside Police, former Assistant Commissioner of the Metropolitan Police, and one of Her Majesty's Inspectors of Constabulary. Hogan-Howe was born in Sheffield in 1957, the son of Bernard Howe. He was brought up by his mother, whose maiden name (Hogan) he later added by Deed poll.[118]
  • Lyndsie Holland, English actress and singer, born Margaret Foster. She took her stage name from her two maternal grandmothers.[119][120]
  • Olivia Hussey, British actress, was born Olivia Osuna in Buenos Aires, Argentina to Joy Alma (née Hussey), a British legal secretary, and Andrés Osuna (aka Osvaldo Ribó), an Argentine musician,[121] who divorced when Olivia was two years old.

I[edit]

  • Peter Igelhoff, Austrian pianist, light music and film composer/arranger, and entertainer, was born Rudolf August Ordnung on 22 July 1904 in Vienna. He changed his forename and took his mother's maiden name as his surname after he resolved on a career in music. He died on 8 April 1978, aged 73, in Bad Reichenhall.[122]
  • Frieda Inescort (born Frieda Wrightman), Scottish film and stage actress, who adopted her mother (actress Elaine Inescort)'s surname as her own professional name.[123]

J[edit]

  • Ernst Jansen Steur (born Ernst Nicolaas Herman Jansen; 24 October 1945), is a Dutch former neurologist, who garnered notoriety for misconduct and lost his license to practice medicine.[124][125]
  • Norah Jones, American singer-songwriter, was born Geethali Norah Jones Shankar to Indian sitar player Ravi Shankar and concert producer Sue Jones; she changed her name at the age of 16.[126]
  • Penny Jordan, née Penelope Jones, aka Annie Groves, was a best-selling and prolific English writer of over 200 romance novels. She started writing regency romances as Caroline Courtney, and wrote contemporary romances as Penny Jordan and historical romances as Annie Groves (her mother's maiden name).[127]
  • Louis Jourdan, French actor, was born as Louis Robert Gendre in Marseille, the son of Yvonne (née Jourdan) and Henry Gendre.[128]
  • Ashley Judd, American actress and political activist, was born Ashley Tyler Ciminella, the daughter of Naomi Judd, a country music singer and motivational speaker, and Michael Charles Ciminella, a marketing analyst for the horseracing industry.[129][130]

K[edit]

  • Madeline Kahn, American actress and singer; originally named Madeline Gail Wolfson.[131] Kahn was her mother's maiden name.[132]
  • Maria Karnilova, American musical theatre actress, was born Maria Dovgolenko in Hartford, Connecticut to Russian parents, Filipp (later Phillip) and Stephanida (née Karnilovich) Dovgolenko; the family later moved to Brooklyn, New York. She adopted a variation of her mother's maiden name as her professional name; she was also known professionally as Maria Karniloff for a brief period.[133]
  • Garry Kasparov, Russian chess champion, was born Garry Kimovich Weinstein[134] in the former Azerbaijan SSR to an Armenian mother and a Jewish father.[135] When Garry was seven years old, his father died of leukemia[136] and five years later he adopted his Armenian mother's maiden name, Gasparyan, which he modified to the more Russian-sounding "Kasparov".[137]
  • Diane Keaton, American actress, was originally named Diane Hall, but could not use that name professionally as it belonged to another actress, so she selected her own mother's maiden name as her professional surname.[138]
  • Barbara Kent, Canadian-American film actress, was born Barbara Cloutman in Gadsby, Alberta to Jullion Curtis and Lily Louise (née Kent) Cloutman. She later adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[139]
  • Olga Kern, Russian classical pianist whose original surname was Pushechnikova.[140]
  • Imran Khan (Indian-American actor) was born Imran Pal. After his father (Anil Pal) and mother (Nuzhat Khan) divorced he took his mother's maiden name as his legal name.[141][142]
  • Freddie King, American blues musician, adopted the surname "King", which was his mother's maiden name.[143][144]

L[edit]

  • Dorothea Lange, American photographer, was born Dorothea Margaretta Nutzhorn, but after her father abandoned her mother, she stopped using both her middle name and her father's surname, adopting her mother's maiden name in their place.[145]
  • Brie Larson, American actress, born Brianne Sidonie Desaulniers, took the surname of one of her great-grandmothers, "Larson".[146]
  • Jody Lawrance, American actress (1930–1986), born Nona Josephine Goddard in Fort Worth, Texas; in 1949 she adopted the screen name of Jody (short for Josephine) Lawrance (her maternal grandmother's maiden name) for her first television role.[147]
  • Florence Lawrence, Canadian actress (1886–1938), was born Florence Annie Bridgwood in Hamilton, Ontario to George and Charlotte A. Bridgwood. Her mother, a vaudeville actress, and leading lady and director of the Lawrence Dramatic Company, was known professionally as Lotta Lawrence. Florence's surname was changed at age four to her mother's stage name.[citation needed]
  • John Le Mesurier, British actor (1912–1983), was born John Elton Le Mesurier de Somerys Halliley to Charles Elton Halliley, a solicitor, and Amy Michelle (née Le Mesurier), and adopted his mother's maiden name as his acting name.[148][149]
  • Alexander Lernet-Holenia was an Austrian poet and novelist, born Alexander Marie Norbert Lernet to Alexander Lernet (an ocean liner officer) and Sidonie (née Holenia), who attached his mother's maiden name to his family name after he was formally adopted by Carinthian relatives of his mother (whose aristocratic family had lost most of its wealth after the war) in 1920.[citation needed]
  • C. S. Lewis published the poem "Dymer" under the name "Clive Hamilton"; Hamilton was his mother's maiden name.[109]
  • Hamish Linklater was born to Scottish-born Kristin Linklater, Professor of Theatre and Chair of the Acting Division at Columbia University and a renowned teacher of vocal technique, and Jim Cormeny; he is known by Linklater, his mother's maiden name.
  • Anne Lockhart, American actress, was born Anne Kathleen Maloney in New York City, the daughter of actress June Lockhart and Dr. John F. Maloney. Professionally, she used her mother's maiden name through her whole career.[150]
  • Julia Lockwood, British actress, born Margaret Julia Leon, daughter of actress Margaret Lockwood; Julia adopted her mother's professional surname.
  • Cissie Loftus, Scottish variety hall performer, was born Marie Cecilia Loftus Brown in Glasgow, Scotland to Ben Brown and Marie Loftus (also a variety hall performer). Cissie adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[151]
  • Norman Lumsden, English actor, was born Norman Thompson. He made his first radio broadcast for the BBC in the 1930s, singing Negro spirituals and Czech songs by Dvořák. At this time he changed his surname to Lumsden (his mother's maiden name).[152]
  • Dame Beatrix Lyall, née Rostron, and her husband George Lyall, B.A., Conservative Party politician and social activist, and her husband (né George Henry Hudson Pile), a solicitor; he changed his surname by deed poll in 1914 to "Lyall", his mother's maiden name, and his wife followed suit.[153][154]

M[edit]

  • Shirley MacLaine, American actress, was born Shirley MacLean Beaty; she adopted a variation of her mother (Kathlyn Corinne MacLean)'s maiden name as her professional name.
  • Benji and Joel Madden, identical twin members of pop punk band Good Charlotte, changed their surname from Combs to their maternal surname, Madden, after their father, Roger Combs,[155] walked out on the family.[156]
  • Ramona Mallory, American actress, is the daughter of actors/singers Mark Lambert and Victoria Mallory. She was born Ramona Mallory Lambert, but is known professionally as Ramona Mallory.
  • Barry Manilow, American musician, was born Barry Alan Pincus to Harold Pincus and Edna (née Manilow).[157] His mother's family was Jewish, while his father, who was often known by the surname Keliher,[why?] was born to a Jewish father and Irish American mother. Barry adopted his mother's maiden name – Manilow – at the time of his bar mitzvah.[158]
  • David Manners, Canadian-American actor; born Rauff de Ryther Daun Acklom, he changed his name legally to David Joseph Manners in 1940 (Manners was his mother's maiden name).[159]
  • Edgar Lee Masters, American writer, first published his early poems and essays under the pseudonym Dexter Wallace, derived from his mother's maiden name and his father's middle name.[160]
  • Patty McCormack, American actress, was born Patricia Ellen Russo in Brooklyn, New York to Elizabeth (née McCormack), a professional roller skater, and Frank Russo, a fireman. She adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[161]
  • Jack McCullough, American convicted murderer and former Washington State policeman, who was convicted in September 2012 of the kidnapping and murder of a young girl (Maria Ridulph) from Sycamore, Illinois in December 1957 (55 years earlier) and sentenced in December 2012 to life imprisonment at age 73, was born John Samuel Tessier and adopted his mother's maiden name as his surname after relocating to Washington.[162]
  • Rita McKenzie, New Zealand artist and painter, formerly known as Rita Angus, was born Henrietta Catherine Angus. She married Alfred Cook, another artist, on 13 June 1930. In 1934 they separated due to incompatibility,[163] and divorced in 1939. Angus had signed many of her paintings as Rita Cook between 1930 and 1946, but after she discovered in 1941 that her ex-husband had remarried she changed her surname by deed poll to McKenzie, her paternal grandmother's name. As a result, some of her paintings are signed R. Mackenzie or R. McKenzie.[164]
  • Juliano Mer-Khamis, Israeli-Palestinian actor and director. Added his mother's maiden name ("Mer") to his surname later in life.[165][166][167]
  • Christina Milian, American singer was born Christine Marié Flores to Cuban parents, Don and Carmen (née Milian) Flores. She reportedly adopted her mother's maiden name in the hopes of landing a wider range of acting roles[168]
  • Crispian Mills, British musician (Kula Shaker), son of Roy Boulting and actress Hayley Mills; born Crispian John David Boulting, he adopted his mother's surname professionally.[citation needed]
  • Yvonne Mitchell, English stage, television and film actor, was born Yvonne Frances Joseph. In 1946 she changed her name by deed poll to Yvonne Mitchell (without the Frances).[169] Her mother's maiden name was Mitchell.[170]
  • Melissa Molinaro, Canadian-born actress and singer, born Melissa Ann Smith; she adopted her mother's maiden name (Molinaro) as her professional surname.[171]
  • Marilyn Monroe, American actress who was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson and later known as Norma Jeane Baker, she decided to use her own mother's maiden name (Monroe) as her professional surname. She had initially selected the name "Jeane Monroe", but eventually settled on Marilyn Monroe as per advice from a movie studio executive.[172][173]
  • Poppy Montgomery, Australian-American actress, born Poppy Petal Emma Elizabeth Deveraux Donahue to Nicola (née Montgomery) and Philip Donahue; she adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[174][175]
  • John Morghen, Italian actor, born Giovanni Lombardo Radice; he later Anglicised his forename (from "Giovanni" to "John"), and adopted his maternal grandmother's surname (Morghen), as his professional name.[176]
  • Brittany Murphy, actress, born Brittany Anne Bertolotti[177] to Sharon Kathleen Murphy and Angelo Joseph Bertolotti[178] who divorced when she was two years old. Murphy was raised by her mother and adopted her mother's maiden name as her own.

N[edit]

  • Geoffrey de Neville (or Geoffrey de Neville), born Geoffrey FitzMaldred to Robert FitzMaldred and Isabel of Neville (also known as Isabel de Neville, a Norman heiress), who eventually inherited the Manors of Sheriff Hutton near York and Brancepeth, together with lesser lands and manors. Geoffrey, Lord of Raby Castle, near Staindrop, County Durham; Sheriff of Northumberland and Justice of the King's Forests, adopted his mother's maiden name (de Neville), as did his brothers, William, Lord of Carleton, and Sir John, Knight.[179]
  • Ivor Novello, Welsh musician, composer and actor, born David Ivor Davies, adopted part of his mother (Clara Novello Davies)'s maiden name, "Novello", as his professional surname, although he did not change his name legally [by deed poll] until 1927.[180]
  • Marie Novello, Welsh pianist, born Marie Williams in Maesteg, Glamorgan, to William Thomas Williams and Anne Bedlington Kirkhouse. Marie took the surname "Novello" after being adopted by her piano teacher, Clara Novello Davies, mother of Ivor Novello. Critically acclaimed, Marie Novello died at age 30 from esophageal cancer.[181]

O[edit]

  • Richard O'Brien, British actor (Rocky Horror Picture Show), born Richard Timothy Smith. Upon launching his acting career he changed his name to O'Brien, his maternal grandmother's name,[182] as there was already an actor named Richard Smith.
  • Frank O'Connor, Irish writer, born Michael Francis O'Donovan, adopted his mother (Minnie O'Connor)'s surname/maiden name as his pen name.[183][184]
  • Bulle and Pascale Ogier, French actresses, mother and daughter, respectively. Bulle, born Marie-France Thielland, adopted her mother's maiden name (Ogier) as her professional surname, and Pascale, born Pascale Schroeder (19581984), who predeceased her parents, adopted, in turn her own mother's professional surname, i.e. her maternal grandmother's maiden name.[185]

P[edit]

  • Chris Paciello, American mobster and nightclub owner, was originally named Christian Ludwigsen, but started calling himself Chris Paciello at age 19. He reportedly told friends he decided to use his mother's maiden name of Paciello as a rejection of his father, as well as a claim on the Italian side of his family background.[186]
  • Angelica Page, American actress; the daughter of actors Rip Torn and Geraldine Page, she was born Angelica Torn, but legally changed her name in 2011.[187]
  • Philippe Panneton, Canadian diplomat, writer, academic and physician, used the pen name "Ringuet", which had been his mother's maiden name.[188][189]
  • Quanah Parker (died 23 February 1911) was a Comanche chief, a leader in the Native American Church, and the last leader of the powerful Quahadi band before they surrendered their battle of the Great Plains and went to a reservation in Indian Territory. He was the son of Comanche chief Peta Nocona and Cynthia Ann Parker, a European American, who had been kidnapped at age nine and assimilated into the tribe. He led his people on the reservation, where he became a wealthy rancher and influential in Comanche and European American society. He adopted his mother's surname as his people did not then use surnames.[190]
  • Katy Perry was born Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson and released her self-titled debut album, Katy Hudson, under her real surname. She adopted her mother's surname as a stage name for her next album, One of the Boys.[191]
  • Prince Philip, Duke of Edinburgh, adopted his mother's name of Mountbatten in 1947, along with a new nationality and religious affiliation, before his marriage to Elizabeth II.[192]
  • Marguerite Piazza, American operatic soprano and philanthropist; born as Marguerite Claire Luft, she adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[193]
  • Pablo Picasso, Spanish painter; born Pablo Ruiz y Picasso, he began using his mother's last name exclusively because it was more distinctive than his father's much more common name, and he liked the combination of "ss" in the name.
  • Piero Piccioni, Italian lawyer, film score composer, pianist, organist, conductor, and author; his mother's maiden name was Marengo, hence his pseudonym Piero Morgan, which he adopted until 1957.[194][195]
  • Aida Pierce, Mexican actress and comedienne, born Aida María Zerecero Pierce to José Luis Zerecero and Aida Pierce. She adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[196]
  • Martha Plimpton, American actress, is the daughter of actors Keith Carradine and Shelley Plimpton. Her parents never married and she was raised by her mother. Some sources indicate she was born Martha Campbell Carradine, others cite Martha Campbell Plimpton.[citation needed]
  • Georg Joachim de Porris, later known as Rheticus, was a mathematician, cartographer, navigational-instrument maker, medical practitioner, and teacher, born at Feldkirch to Georg and Thomasina (née de Porris) Iserin. His parents were wealthy as his father was the town physician. However, Georg Iserin abused the trust of many of his patients, stealing belongings and money, and, in 1528 was convicted and executed. The family was stripped of their surname and adopted de Porris, Rheticus' mother's maiden name. Later as a student in Wittenberg, Georg de Porris adopted the toponym Rheticus, a form of the Latin name for his home region, Rhaetia. In the matriculation list for the University of Leipzig his family name, "de Porris", is translated into German as "von Lauchen".[197][198]
  • Natalie Portman, Oscar-winning American actress; born Natalie Hershlag, she took her grandmother's maiden name, "Portman", as her stage name.[199]

Q[edit]

  • Thomas Quick (born Sture Ragnar Bergwall, a name he has since readopted, after using his mother's maiden name "Quick" for many years) – convicted Swedish criminal, previously believed to be a serial killer, having confessed to more than 30 murders. He was convicted of eight of these murders, but all of the convictions have been overturned.[200][201] The credibility of Quick's confessions have been widely debated in the Swedish media. Critics of these confessions, and the trials, claim that Quick never murdered anyone, and that he is a compulsive liar. In December 2008, Quick recanted his confessions, and denied taking part in any of the murders for which he was convicted, or any of the other murders he has confessed to. Subsequently some of murder convictions were revoked and finally in July 2013 he was cleared of any remaining murder charges by the Swedish authorities.

R[edit]

  • Noomi Rapace (née Norén), Swedish actress, was born in Hudiksvall, Sweden. Her mother, Nina Norén (born Kristina Norén; 1954) is a Swedish actress, and her father, Rogelio Durán (1953–2006), was a Spanish Flamenco singer from Badajoz.[202]
  • Sally Jessy Raphael, American talk show host and television personality, was born in 1935 in Easton, Pennsylvania to Jesse Lowenthal, a businessman, and his wife, Dede Lowry (née Raphael), an artist.[203]
  • Ravachol, French anarchist; born François Claudius Koenigstein, the son of a Dutch father (Jean Adam Koenigstein) and a French mother (Marie Ravachol); he adopted his mother's maiden name after his father abandoned the family.[204]
  • Jonathan Rhys Meyers, Irish actor, born Jonathan Michael Francis O'Keeffe to musician John O'Keeffe and his wife, Mary Geraldine (née Meyers). Rhys Meyers' stage name is partially derived from his mother's maiden name.[205]
  • Talulah Riley, British actress, born Talulah Jane Riley-Milburn[206] to Una Riley, founder of a security systems company and a PR company,[207] and Doug Milburn, formerly head of the National Crime Squad, who now works as a screen writer (Silent Witness, Prime Suspect and The Bill); known professionally and socially as Talulah Riley.
  • Melissa Rivers, American television personality, born Melissa Warburg Rosenberg, adopted the professional surname used by her own mother (Joan Rivers).[208]
  • Christy Carlson Romano, American actress and singer, born Christy Michelle Romano, adopted her mother Sharon's maiden name (Carlson) as part of her professional name.[209]
  • Meg Ryan, American actress, born Margaret Mary Emily Anne Hyra, changed her surname when she registered with Screen Actors Guild, adopting "Ryan", her grandmother's maiden name.[210]

S[edit]

  • Isla St Clair, a Scottish singer, actress and former game show co-host, born Isabella Margaret Dyce, adopted a variation of her mother's maiden name, Sinclair, after her parents' divorce.[citation needed]
  • Dmitry Salita, Ukraine-born American boxer, born Dmitry Aleksandrovich Lekhtman, adopted his late mother's maiden name as his professional name.[211][212][213]
  • Henri Sauguet, French composer, born Henri Pierre Poupard. He first used his mother's maiden name when he began performing as a musician in deference to his father, a businessman, who did not want his family name associated with a profession he deemed to be "undignified".[214]
  • Prunella Scales, English actress, was born Prunella Margaret Rumney Illingworth. Her mother was actress Catherine Scales.[215]
  • Maria Schneider, French actress, was born Marie Christine Gélin to Daniel Gélin, a French actor, and his wife, Marie-Christine Schneider.[216] She was raised by her mother and took her mother's maiden name as her own professional name.[217]
  • Lev and Sergei Sedov were the sons of the Russian Communist leader Leon Trotsky and his second wife Natalia Sedova; they took their mother's (maiden) name for political reasons.[218]
  • Ayrton Senna, Brazilian racecar driver, was born Ayrton Senna da Silva, but as "Silva" is a very common Brazilian name, he adopted his mother's maiden name ("Senna").[219]
  • Mallika Sherawat, Bollywood actress, was born Reema Lamba.[220][221][222] "Sherawat" is her mother's maiden name.[223] She has stated that she uses her mother's maiden name because of the support she received from her mother.[222]
  • Simone Signoret, French actress, was born Simone Henriette Charlotte Kaminker. Her family name was a Jewish name. In order to get acting work in Nazi-occupied France in the early 1940s, she adopted her Catholic mother's maiden name of "Signoret" as her professional name.[224][225]
  • Stevan Sinđelić (1771–1809), Serbian revolutionary leader, was born Stevan Rakić. His father, a craftsman named Radovan Rakić, died at a young age. His mother, Sinđelija, remarried, and her son later adopted the surname from his mother's matronymic ("Sinđelija").[226]
  • John Standing, British actor, born John Ronald Leon, the son of Kay Hammond (née Dorothy Katherine Standing), an actress, and Sir Ronald George Leon, a stockbroker. From a well-known acting family on his mother's side, including his great-grandfather Herbert Standing (1846–1923) and his grandfather, Sir Guy Standing (1873–1937), he adopted his mother's maiden name as his acting name. He is officially titled as Sir John Ronald Leon Standing, 4th Baronet.[227]
  • Jean Stapleton, American actress, born Jeanne Murray, the daughter of Joseph E. and Marie (née Stapleton) Murray, she adopted her mother's maiden name as her professional name.[228]
  • Mary Stuart, American actress and singer-songwriter, was born Mary Stuart Houchins. She used her middle name of Stuart, which was her mother's maiden name, as her professional name.[229]

T[edit]

  • David Thewlis, British actor, was born David Wheeler in Blackpool, Lancashire, to Maureen (née Thewlis) and Alec Raymond Wheeler; when he registered with the actors' union, he intended to use Wheeler as his stage name, but a "David Wheeler" already existed. His mother's maiden name was the first that came to mind.[230]
  • Jennifer and Meg Tilly, American-Canadian actresses, born Jennifer Chan and Margaret Chan, respectively, adopted their mother Patricia (née Tilly)'s maiden name.[231]
  • Allen Toussaint, American musician, used the pseudonym Naomi Neville for some of his work; Naomi Neville was his mother's maiden name.[232]
  • Henrietta Treffz, born Henrietta Chalupetzky (1 July 1818 – 8 April 1878), "was best known as the first wife of Johann Strauss II and a well-known mezzo-soprano... the only child of a Viennese goldsmith and studied music in Vienna, adopting her mother's maiden name, Treffz, for professional purposes."[who said this?][233][234]

V[edit]

  • Martin van Maële, French illustrator, born Maurice François Alfred Martin, combined his original surname and his mother's maiden name to create the pseudonym under which he published erotic artwork.[235]
  • Eddie Vedder, American musician, was born Edward Louis Severson III. His parents divorced when he was one year old, and Vedder was adopted by his mother (Karen Lee Vedder)'s new husband (Peter Mueller) soon after, becoming Edward Mueller. He grew up believing Mueller was his biological father and stayed with him after his stepfather and mother divorced. After learning the truth, and as his biological father was deceased, he rejoined the rest of his family and adopted his mother's maiden name.[236]
  • Bobby Vernon, American actor and filmwriter. The son of actors Harry Burns and Dorothy Vernon, he first appeared onstage at the age of nine.[237]

W[edit]

  • Theodore Watts-Dunton (1832–1914) was an English critic, poet and lawyer, born Walter Theodore Watts. In 1897, he chose to add his mother's maiden name (Dunton) to his surname. Abandoning natural history for the law, he qualified as a solicitor and went to London, where he practised for some years, giving his spare time to his chosen pursuit of literature.[238]
  • Michael Weston, American actor, born Michael Rubinstein in New York City, the son of actors Judi West and John Rubinstein, he had to change his surname professionally as there was already an actor with the same name. He adopted a variation ("Weston") of his mother's surname ("West").[239]
  • Antonia White, British writer, originally named Eirene Adeline Botting. She adopted her mother's maiden name as her pen name, feeling her original name was not "sufficiently imposing" for her personality.[240]
  • Shelley Winters, American actress, was originally named Shirley Schrift. Her stage name ("Winters") was based on her mother's maiden name ("Winter").[241]
  • John Wojtowicz, the American bank robber whose story was the basis for the movie Dog Day Afternoon, used the alias Littlejohn Basso in gay bars. His adopted name was based on a combination of a nickname and his mother's maiden name.[242]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

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