We know them as Sting, Bono and Freddie Mercury. But what did their parents call them? Apparently, a catchy name is crucial to stardom - at least it helped these five stars.
After a checkered career, the Neapolitan landed in film. But he didn't want to use the name that he was already known for as a swimmer, so he decided to assume a pseudonym: As Bud Spencer, the actor made his career as a punchy heavy weight. Now 86, Bud Spencer was born as Carlo Pedersoli.
She was Italy's number one sex symbol - a seductive diva with a tiny waiste. She came to the film industry through modeling, then under her birth name Sofia Villani Scicolone. At the Miss Rome pageant in 1950, she scored second place and met Italian producer Carlo Ponti. Not only did she marry him, he also gave her a new name, though not his own: Sophia Loren.
The Irishman was already quite musical during his youth. His school friends give him the nickname "Bono Vox," which was the name of a hearing aid store in downtown Dublin. The term is Latin for "good voice," and he demonstrated his good voice during his career with the legendary rock band U2. Bono's real name is Paul David Hewson.
It was a yellow-black striped sweater that gave Sting his nickname. The Briton wore it as he jumped from pub to pub in Newcastle in order to advance his career as a jazz musician. He resembled a wasp, according to his former band mates. Legend has it that from that point on he was called Sting. His real name doesn't have quite the same buzz: Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner.
The Queen singer was born in 1946 on the African island Sansibar and given the name Farrokh Bulsara. He was the son of Indian-born Parsis. His nickname, Freddie, was given to him in his childhood. His last name, however, is derived from a Queen song from 1970: "Mother Mercury, look what they've done to me" sings Mercury in "My Fairy King."
Are you familiar with Sofia Villani Scicolone or Paul David Hewson? Gordon Matthew Thomas Sumner or Farrokh Bulsara? Probably not. But you'd recognize their faces right away.
Carlo Pedersoli is familiar to most as a flatfoot, Banana Joe, one half of "Trinity Is Still My Name" or simply: Bud Spencer. Under this name, he lambasted the bad guys together with Terence Hill. But he came into the world on October 31, 1929 as Carlo Pedersoli.
A man of many talents
The Italian from Naples has a wide variety of talents and didn't start acting until later in life. Initially, Pedersoli rose to fame as a swimmer. He won the national championship seven years in a row and was the first Italian to swim the 100-meter freestyle in under one minute.
In 1952 and 1956, he participated in the Olympics as a swimmer and water polo player. He lived in South America for a few years and worked on an assembly line, as a secretary and as a librarian before getting a degree in law. Then he composed songs for Italian singers - all before he made his first film.
International instead of Italian
His first film role came about in 1967. Pedersoli was already 38 years old at the time. Together with fellow Italian Mario Girotti, Pedersoli starred in "God Forgives… I Don't!" The producers found their Italian names too provincial; something a bit more international was needed. So, the actors agreed on screen names. Mario Girotti became Terence Hill and Carlo Perdesoli was named Bud Spencer.
An homage to beer and Spencer Tracy
The new name wasn't pure chance. Carlo Pedersoli's new first name was derived from his favorite brand of beer: Budweiser. His last name is a tribute to the American actor Spencer Tracy. He was Pedersoli's role model, even though he never actually wanted to become an actor.
Rumor has it that Pedersoli wasn't very enthusiastic about his first role in a movie. But still, the movie made the duo world famous and Bud Spencer became a star.
Author: Antje Binder / skihttp://dw.com/p/1IAQz