a quick survey, I found that 80 percent of people are dissatisfied with either
their given name, their surname - or both. Jews, fortunately or
unfortunately are guided by our Yiddish traditions. We
are expected to pass on the name of a dead grandparent to our offspring. To keep
alive the memory of that deceased person for another generation.
fine and dandy, when Biblical names, such as, Aaron, Daniel, Miriam and Sarah
are commonly used by both Christians and Jews alike.
But, when you are stuck with a name like, Chaim, Moshe or Bashevis you're
in big trouble with both pronunciation and spelling among the Goyim even before
we enter into the issue of surnames.
the greatest name changing has to be among the Jews in Hollywood. How dramatic
would the wit of a redheaded, bespectacled Woody Allen have remained with
audiences if written by an actor called Allen Konigsberg? Or how macho would've
the screen, sword-n-sandal characters of Spartacus and
Demetrius (the gladiator) have been if accredited to actors called, Issur
Danielovitch and Wladek Mankowicz?
Up until the 1960's,
in its infinite wisdom,
sought to find a hidden association between a name and a particular screen image
they wanted to create. In the case of Issur Danielovitch the transition to Kirk
Douglas and thes coded message becomes
clear. Firstly the given name Kirk
meaning church in Scottish and immediately the Yiddish inference disappears. And
put Kirk against the family clan-ish surname of and the analogy bring forth
a strong message of power and stability. Thus we have a Spartacus! And,
would handsome Tony Curtis fare as a lady-killer had he
kept his original name, Bernie Schwarz? And could Cary Grant still have been as
debonair if he’d remained Archibald Leach? Not to mention, the totally zany
Marx Brothers: Groucho, Harpo, Chico and Zeppo. Could audiences
have accepted their lethal wisecracks and verbal repartee coming from the mouths
of Julius, not Adolph, but Leonard and Herbert Marx, respectively?
yesteryear, some Hollywood stars both behind and in front of the camera, such
as, Steven Spielberg, Barbra Streisand and Dustin Hoffman decided not to bob
their names or noses to spite their race. But, even Bette Milder admitted that
her mother named her Bette (after Bette Davis) on second thought realising that
Betty Milder would be too Jewish a name.
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in singer, Englebert Humperdinck's case, the reverse made a greater impact on
his career. He decided that being allotted the simple name, Gerry Dorsey was a
plight too common to bare.
common as the practice was among the glitterati to change their names to fit the
image, so it was true for many Hollywood moguls.
Famous Jewish Actors