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Tuesday, October 16, 2007

II, III or IV?

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The part Cherokee, part Irish and part German actor has a simple enough birth name -- John Christopher Depp II.

He performed a wee bit of surgery on his name when he reached Hollywood, slicing off those undesirable Roman numerals.

By the way he almost didn't reach movieland because of a childhood obsession with music. Right till his late teens Depp was in and out of garage rock bands where he played the guitar until he landed a role in a Fox TV production.

Photograph: Johnny Depp attends the Tim Burton Golden Lion For Lifetime Achievement Award ceremony in Venice at the 64th Venice Film Festival in Venice, Italy. Photograph: Pascal Le Segretain/Getty Images

A Wonderful name

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Stevland Hardaway Judkins (later Morris) aka singer Stevie Wonder (I just called to say I love you), who was born blind, was a child star.

He earned the moniker Little Stevie Wonder when he was signed on by Motown at the age of 12.

By 13 he was a star with a song called Fingertips and had dropped the 'lil' bit.
Photograph: Stevie Wonder performs at Century Park in Century City, California. Photograph: Michael Buckner/Getty Images

The power of a name

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Meet Demetria Gene Guynes...

Er, now known as Demi Moore. Actually, Demi Kutcher.

The Ghost actress's parents' names were ordinary enough -- Virginia and Charles. But her mom decided to name her after a beauty product she saw in a magazine, possibly the Demetria Clark herbal lotion line. And the name Guynes came from her stepfather whom her mom married after her birth.

When she married singer Freddy Moore, she became just plain Demi Moore.

By the way, in between she was nicknamed Gimme Moore because of the demands she made on producers while filming.

Photograph: Demi Moore poses for photographer after the screening of her film Flawless during the 55th San Sebastian International Film Festival. Photograph: Rafa Rivas/AFP/Getty Images

A town like Winona

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Actress Winona Ryder's birth name reflects a rather eccentric childhood.

Mom was a Buddhist and a writer (Mainline Lady: Women's Writings on the Drug Experience, Shaman Woman).

Dad Michael Horowitz sold valuable old books and was an author too.

She was named Winona after a town in Minnesota near where she was born. And Laura was her middle name in honour of English writer, and author of Brave New World, Aldous Huxley's wife with whom her mom was buddies. But Winona Laura Horowitz was considerably tamer than the names her siblings got stuck with: Yuri, Jubal, Sunyata.

And where did Ryder come from? Winona, who grew up on a television-less, electricity-less, remote Californian commune, happened to be listening to a record of music by Mitch Ryder when a director called up to ask her what she wanted her screen name to be.
Photograph: Winona Ryder arrives at the 35th AFI Life Achievement Award tribute to Al Pacino held at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, California. Photograph: Stephen Shugerman/Getty Images

When Mr Zeiger met Mr Dwight

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Sir Elton John was 20 when he legally changed his name.

Born Reginald Kenneth Dwight in Middlesex, southern England, the singer took on the name Elton because of his deep respect for saxophonist and jazz musician Elton Dean and John in deference to British blues singer Long John Baldry at the start of his musical career.

And can you spy Lawrence Harvey Zeiger in this pic? Yes, he's better known as the talk show host, Larry King.
Photograph: Sir Elton John (right) on the Larry King Show. Photograph: Rose M. Prouser/AFP/Getty Images

The name's Spidey

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Tobey Maguire spliced different parts of his original name -- Tobias Vincent Maguire -- to become a star.

Incidentally, Vincent Maguire was his dad's name. His parents divorced when he was very young and Maguire spent his childhood hopping between Oregon, Washington state and California.

He was all set to become a chef when his mom persuaded him to take drama classes.
Photograph: Toby Maguire poses for a photocall of Spider-Man 3 Photograph: Michael Kappeler/AFP/Getty Images

You know my name?

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The When Harry met Sally star was all set to become a journalist under the byline Margaret Mary Emily Hyra (her given name) but success in a few television commercials while in college, at New York University, led her to change careers and her name.

She appeared in Rich and Famous in 1981 as Meg Ryan and never looked back. For a time she was Mrs Dennis Quaid but she and the Traffic actor split up after 10 years of marriage in 2001. Her daughter's name is Daisy True; Daisy was adopted from China in 2006.
Photograph: Meg Ryan at the 2006 National Magazine Awards at Lincoln Center in New York City. Photograph: Evan Agostini/Getty Images

Unravelling Shakira's name

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Shakira Isabel Mebarak Ripoll is more commonly known as just Shakira, the hip-waggling Colombian singer.

Shall we unravel that name? Well Shakira is of Spanish-Italian-Lebanese extraction.

Take a load of this: her mom's name was Nidia del Carmen Ripoll Torrado and her dad's William Mebarak Chadid. Shakira (which means thankful in Arabic) got away lightly with four slightly more easy to handle names, no?
Photograph: Shakira performs during the Live Earth concert in Hamburg in July 2007. Photograph: Roland Magunia/AFP/Getty Images
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My name is fame
To make it big in Hollywood/Bollywood or showbiz, it does not help to have a clunky, double/triple-barrelled or boring name like -- yawn -- Rajeev Bhatia (Akshay Kumar) or Spangler Arlington Brugh (Robert Taylor).

In the early days of Hollywood, in the 1920s, actors invariably found themselves a sexy, captivating screen name hoping it would catapault them to fame.

So Rodolpho d'Antonguolla became Rudy Valentino and American moviedom's first sex symbol.

Hispanic actress Margarita Cansino Carmen could never have been Hollywood's love goddess. But as Rita Hayworth she was.

And who can remember Issur Danielovitch Demsky? But we all loved triple-Academy-Award-nominated Kirk Douglas (Michael Douglas ke papa) in It Runs In The Family..

Actors or singers these days don't find it that important to adopt screen names or funky titles. So we have folks like Cameron Diaz (yes, that's her real name) and Halle Berry making it big on their original names, even if they are mouthfuls or a bit strange sounding.

But there are a few, intriguing exceptions:

Ever heard of Thomas Cruise Mapother IV? Yup, Tom Cruise was born with that whopper of a name. Mapother has been handed down to him courtesy his Welsh ancestry. Incidentally from his mom's side, he is related to George III of England.

By contrast his wife Katie's screen name is not very different from what she was born with -- Katherine Noelle Holmes.

But hey. why did name their child Suri? We thinks that if she follows in her parents' footsteps, she is going to need a snappy screem name like her dad.
Photograph: Tom Cruise with wife Katie Holmes and daughter Suri on the sets of the film Rubicon in Berlin in which Cruise is starring as Count Claus Schenk von Stauffenberg, an aristocratic Nazi officer who mounted a failed plot to assassinate Adolf Hitler in 1944 as Germany was losing World War II. Photograph: Sebastian Willnow/AFP/Getty Images

I'm not stupid like Hilton and Lohan: Reid

Actress Tara Reid, infamous for her partying ways, compared herself to Paris Hilton and Lindsay Lohan and said she was not as stupid as them because she followed the rules.

"I think the reason I never ended up in as much trouble as Paris or Lindsay is that I'm not stupid, so I'd never do a lot of the things those girls do," quoted Reid as saying.

She added: "You'll never read a story about me going out and partying when I'm supposed to be working, showing up on a set drunk or missing a day, never.

But when I'm not working, why shouldn't I have fun? Am I supposed to stay at home and live in a cage? I was a party girl, but I played by the rules."

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I don't miss Twenty20 cricket: Sourav Ganguly

Mumbai, Oct 16 (IANS) Sourav Ganguly's explosive batting style - which he rediscovered in the Nagpur ODI against Australia - would have made him a successful batsman in Twenty20 cricket, but the former Indian captain says he doesn't miss the newest and fastest version of the game.

"I don't think I miss Twenty20 cricket. I don't know what it would have been if this kind of cricket was introduced during my younger days. But now I don't think I would have really missed it," Ganguly told IANS in an interview here.

Ganguly along with Sachin Tendulkar and Rahul Dravid - known as the 'Big 3' of Team India - made themselves unavailable for the Twenty20 World Cup. Their non-availability put wicketkeeper Mahendra Singh Dhoni on the hot seat of captaincy. Dhoni led a bunch of young players to victory at the inaugural world championship of the newest form of cricket in South Africa.

That win gave India some of its future stars, who rose to the occasion when it mattered the most. They beat Pakistan in a nerve biting finish at the final, and the squad is now tipped to be the future of Indian cricket.

"I think this team has all the ingredients to be the world champions. The new guys are really good and they all are talented and will do the country proud in the coming days," said Ganguly, who won the best captain in 75 years of Indian Test cricket award.

Ganguly beat some of the biggest names of Indian cricket like Mansur Ali Khan Pataudi, Sunil Gavsakar and the late C.K. Nayudu and late Vinoo Mankad for the prestigious award.

"It is a great honour to be adjudged as the best captain of 75 years of Indian Test cricket. My best success as a captain, I think, will always remain beating Pakistan in their home in 2004," said Ganguly.

India defeated Pakistan for the first time on their soil to win a Test series in March 2004. The series was also memorable because Virender Sehwag became the first Indian to score a triple century with a solid knock of 309.

Ganguly had words of praise for Dhoni and said the 26-year-old should be given more time to click.

"I am sure he will take India to new cricketing heights. The only thing he lacks is experience and he should be given more time to gain it," said Ganguly.

On his role in the Indian team as a senior player, Ganguly said: "The only thing I have to do is to keep on performing. I have to keep on scoring runs.

"Performance and not age should be the criteria for selection in the team," he said.