12 Surprising Stories Behind Famous Stage Names

What's in a name? For an actor, actress, or pop star, that name is a brand, identity, and image - so, to answer the question, a lot. Perhaps that's why there are so many celebrities with stage names. And the surprising stage name stories behind those famed monikers can be fascinating. The stories behind famous stage names reveal personal details about difficult childhoods, or reflect the fear that a narrow-minded public would not accept an actor's ethnicity. Of course, there are funny stories, too, involving wordplay and comic book superheroes.

How do celebrities pick their names? In some cases, how stars got their stage names is the stuff of Hollywood lore. Plenty of fans know that Nicholas Cage was born a Coppola - but have you heard the wonderfully geeky inspiration for his professional moniker? And then there's Katy Perry; she shares her birth name with another notable celeb. The stories behind these famous stage names shed new light on some of your favorite stars, whether their new identities are more practical or downright silly.