Isn’t it inconvenient when famous people have similar names? I mean, how are you supposed to keep up with your favorite celebrities when you can’t remember the difference between Bruce Jenner and Bruce Jennings, Rod Serling and Rod Steiger, or Liv Tyler and Lili Taylor and Liz Taylor?
Well, we here at Very Little Known Facts have come up with some handy pneumatic devices to jog your memory about who’s who,what’s what, and which one is which!
Sheena Is a Punk Rocker…Or Was it Sheila?
Even the most rabid Prince fans have trouble distinguishing between Sheila E. and Sheena Easton. Here’s an easy way to keep them straight:
- Sheena E. actually had the last name Estefan—which meant she was the sister of Miami Vice Sound Machine singer Gloria Estefan.
- Sheila Easton also went by the name Apollonia.
Obama, Osama, Let’s Call the Whole Thing Off
Much has been made of the fact that the Senator from Illinois and official candidate for President of the United States is named Barack Hussein Obama. Any relation to Osama Bin Laden or Saddam Hussein? Not that we know of—but then again, you never can tell.
Mary Carey, Quite Contrary
Although their names sound similar, there really is no confusing the porn star Mary Carey who ran for governor of California and the singer Mariah Carey. But that didn’t stop Mariah from suing Mary, who was forced to change her name to Brittany Speares.
Many people get Red Skelton, Red Buttons, and Red Foxx mixed up. How can you keep track of these three redheads? Try this method:
- There was a widespread rumor that actor Red Skelton was so named because he had a red skeleton due to a rare condition. To quell these rumors, in 1996 a Los Angeles Superior Court judge ordered his corpse exhumed, and a post-mortem autopsy revealed that he died tragically of natural causes.
- Red Buttons was actually just a stage name. He died in 2003 and had no confirmed autopsy.
- Red Foxx played the role of Sanford and Son on the TV show with the same name. His real name was Red Fox, and foxes have red fur. Ironically, Red Foxx died of a heart attack, just like his TV character. He will be missed by some.
Who Gives a Rip?
Could anyone really confuse the wacky antics of confetti-tossing Rip Taylor with the gravitas of actor Rip Torn? Perhaps. But one way to keep them “straight” is to think of R.I.P. which stands for Rest In Paradise, a homonym often seen on gravestones. You can apply this memory device to whichever one of the two Rips dies first. To make it more fun, perhaps you can start an office betting pool!
That’s a Fact, Jacks
Many people get the popular actor Jack Nicholson and the popular golfer Jack Nicklaus confused because they have similar names. A good way to remember the difference is that Jack Nicholson is the son of Jack Nicklaus.
They Call Me Mr. P.
Actor Sydney Poitier and director Sidney Pollack have both had distinguished careers in Hollywood, but sometimes it's hard to know which one is which. Sidney Poitier is the black one.
He Coulda Been Somebody
Oftentimes moviegoers are often perplexed by the fit, attractive actor named Marlon Brando who starred in On the Waterfront and A Streetcar Named Desire and the bald, overweight ham named Marlon Brando who starred in Superman 2 and The Island of Dr. Moreau. Bizarrely, these are the same person!
The Fabulous Baldwin Brothers Boys
How many Baldwin brothers are there? Surprisingly, the answer is several. Here’s how you can keep them straight:
- Alec Baldwin is an Oscar- and Emmy-nominated actor of screen and stage who was named by People magazine as one of the 50 most beautiful people in the world. His film credits include Beetlejuice, The Hunt for Red October, Glengarry Glen Ross, and Pearl Harbor. Alec currently plays the boss in the hit NBC sitcom 30 Rock.
- Daniel Baldwin played a vampire in the movie Vampires. He also played a homicide detective in the TV show Homicide.
- William Baldwin is Alec’s brother. He changed his stage name to Emilio Estevez to make it on his own outside his big brother's shadow.
- Adam Baldwin got his big break in Stanley Kubrick’s Full Metal Jacket and now stars in the TV show Chuck.
- Stephen Baldwin followed up his role in The Usual Suspects by co-starring with Pauly Shore in Bio-Dome. Recently he was in that one episode of The Sopranos.
- Billy Baldwin was in that movie about firemen.