Kirk Douglas was born Issur Danielovich and also used the name Izzy Demsky growing up and changed his name to Kirk Douglas while doing summer stock theater.
Doris Day was born Doris Mary Ann Kapplehoff 86 years ago and the late Danny Thomas pictured with her was born Amos Alphonsus Muzyad Yakhoob on January 6, 1912 and was also known as Amos Jacobs before changing his name to Danny Thomas. He and his wife are buried on the grounds of St. Jude's Hospital which he supported many years.
The late Jack Benny was born Benjamin Kubelsky on February 14, 1894 in Chicago, Illinois. He changed his name to Ben Benny when a violinist named Jan Kubelik whose last name was similar to Kubelsky and he thought Benny's comedy act would damage his reputation. He had to change his name again when comedian Ben Bernie threatened to sue him because of his name being so similar so he changed his name to Jack Benny.
Chubby Checker was born Ernest Evans on October 3, 1941 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. He was given the nickname Chubby by his boss at the Produce Market where he worked and would later have Checker added to his name by the wife of Dick Clark and he has recorded mostly dance songs during his entire career including The Twist which was named the No.1 chart hit by Billboard Magazine among all songs recorded between 1958 and 2008.
In the coming months and years there will be more posts about the real names of celebrities. This comprehensive list of celebrities who changed their names for different reasons.
Some of the facts learned while looking at the list are that the late Tammy Wynette’s real name was Wynette Pugh and used her real first name for her last name and that Harry Morgan of Dragnet and MASH fame was born Harry Bratsburg and the late Dean Martin was born Dino Crocetti.