Stage Names - The rest of the story and video

Ozzy Osbourne, the legendary rock icon, acquired his stage name during his early years. Let’s delve into the fascinating origin of this iconic moniker:

  1. Teasing in Primary School: Ozzy’s real name is John Michael Osbourne. However, during his time in primary school, his fellow students playfully teased him by calling him “Ozzy.” Rather than letting it bother him, Ozzy embraced the nickname. It stuck with him throughout his life, becoming the name everyone knows him by12.
  2. Tattooed Across His Knuckles: Ozzy’s commitment to the name is evident—since the age of 16, he has sported the tattoo “Ozzy” across his knuckles1.
  3. The name “Ozzy” has become synonymous with his legendary status in the music world (How Ozzy Osbourne Got His Stage Name)1.

So, from childhood teasing to rock stardom, “Ozzy” remains an enduring part of John Michael Osbourne’s identity.

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Mike Ditka, the legendary football player, coach, and television commentator, acquired his nickname “Iron Mike.” The origin of this moniker lies in his upbringing in a steel town in Pennsylvania1.

  • As a modern-day hobo, Nichols embraced a nomadic lifestyle, hopping freight trains across the United States. Hobos are known for their resourcefulness, resilience, and ability to survive with minimal resources.
  • The term “hobo” itself has an interesting history. It emerged in American English around 1890, but its precise origin remains uncertain. Some theories suggest it may have derived from “hoe-boy,” referring to young men who traveled as farm laborers and carried a hoe as a symbol of their occupation .
    Mark Nichols passed away after going missing on March 27, 2024, in Johnson City, Tennessee, at the age of 53. His legacy lives on through his videos and the impact he had on the rail-riding community and beyond1

(Mark Nichols heard a Mel McDaniel’s song about a hobo named Shoestring back in 1989.)

Hobo Shoestring R.I.P. - Final Video

The story behind how Marilyn Monroe chose her name is fascinating and involves a collaborative effort. Let’s dive into the details:

  1. Norma Jeane Mortenson: Marilyn Monroe was born as Norma Jeane Mortenson. She later adopted the name Norma Jeane Baker after being baptized.
  2. Ben Lyon’s Suggestion: Ben Lyon, a studio executive, played a crucial role in renaming her. Lyon believed that the surname “Dougherty” (from her soon-to-be ex-husband) had too many possible pronunciations. He suggested a change.
  3. Monroe and Marilyn: Norma Jeane suggested the surname Monroe, which was on her mother’s side of the family. Meanwhile, Lyon came up with the first name Marilyn. He thought she resembled Marilyn Miller, a Broadway musical star from the Ziegfeld Follies. Marilyn Miller had also led a complicated life, similar to Monroe’s own experiences.
  4. Shared Name and Fate: It’s interesting that both performers shared the same name, not only in appearance but also in their complex personal lives. Marilyn Miller died at 37, while Marilyn Monroe tragically passed away at 36.

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Marilyn Miller

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John Wayne, born Marion Robert Morrison on May 26, 1907, in Winterset, Iowa, became a legendary American actor known for his iconic roles in Western and war movies during Hollywood’s Golden Age1. But how did he transition from Marion Morrison to the famous moniker “John Wayne”?

Here’s the tale: When Wayne was starting his acting career, he initially used his birth name, Marion Morrison. However, according to some biographers, executives at Fox Film Corporation found his name inappropriate for a leading man in Hollywood. They believed it lacked the rugged, cowboy appeal that was popular at the time. So, they decided to change it.

The last name “Wayne” was taken from the American Revolutionary general “Mad Anthony” Wayne. It was a fitting choice, as it exuded a sense of ruggedness and masculinity, aligning perfectly with the Western roles Wayne would later become famous for2. And thus, Marion Morrison became John Wayne, forever etching his name into cinematic history.

Interestingly, the name “Wayne” itself has an English origin, meaning “maker of wagons.” When John Wayne adopted it, it took on an air of cowboy cool that lasted for several decades, making it synonymous with the iconic actor3

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Mad Anthony Wayne


Judy Garland, the iconic Hollywood actress, was not born with that name. Before her influential and enduring music and film career, she was known as Frances Ethel Gumm, named after her parents Frank and Ethel Gumm.

  1. Last Name Change:
  1. First Name Change:

In her later years, Judy Garland reflected on the difference between her birth name, Frances Ethel Gumm, and her stage persona, Judy Garland. She stated, “I, Judy Garland, was born when I was twelve years old.”

Hoagy Carmichael - Judy

Jack Benny, born Benjamin Kubelsky, adopted his famous stage name due to legal pressure. Initially, he changed his name to “Ben K. Benny,” but it was too similar to another violin-playing actor. So, he chose the name “Jack Benny” instead12. His comedic timing and ability to cause laughter with a pause or expression made him a legendary entertainer in U.S. radio and television for over 30 years3.

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Buster Keaton 1902

The origin of Buster Keaton’s nickname is quite interesting! It seems that when he was a child, he accidentally fell down a flight of stairs. Harry Houdini, the famous magician, witnessed this incident and exclaimed, “That was a real buster!” The term “buster” was slang for a fall or a spill. And so, young Joseph Frank Keaton became forever known as Buster Keaton!


Harry Houdini

Willie Mays earned the iconic nickname “Say Hey Kid” during his rookie season with the New York Giants in 1951. The moniker was coined by Barney Kremenko, a New York Journal-American sportswriter. Mays would often say phrases like “say who,” “say what,” “say where,” and “say hey.” Kremenko picked up on this and referred to the young player as the “Say Hey Kid,” a name that has endured over seven decades1. It’s fascinating how a simple greeting turned into one of the most well-known sports nicknames in history!