Monday, December 03, 2007

Name That Name

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.

Simply Reds

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.


Bob Parachute said...

There are also two 3-name Philip actors. There is the Philip Seymour Hoffman, and also Philip Baker Hall. One is fat, and one is dead.

jon said...

Dear bob parachute,

Thanks for your comment! And don't forget about John Philip Sousa, who is also tragically dead. Thanks again for your comment!

Alice said...

Thanks so much for clearing up my first-grade bus stop argument over Sheila and Sheena. I knew all along they were different people.

Today, by the way, when I was photocopying "Notes of a Native Son" for my students' coursepack next semester, I accidentally told someone I was xeroxing a Richard Baldwin essay.

Silly me. Of course, I meant *Billy* Baldwin.

Jon Black and Britt Bergman said...

Dear Alice,

Thanks for your comment! Of course, the infamous essayist and writer of essays Richard Baldwin actually invented the Baldwin piano, and his subsequent fortune enabled his offspring to pursue their goal of becoming an infamous family of Hollywood actors. Thanks again for your comment!

walrus1960 said...

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.

Emillio Estevez is son of Martin Sheen, and brother of Charlie Sheen, not Alex Baldwins brother.
I will be a thorn in this sites side as long as they claim they are a legit resource tool.This is a diservice to people wanting the correct information and not a load of complete unsubstantiated crap.
Until I See a DISCLAIMER on this BS I will continue to reveal this site for what it is and is not.
My god there is a comment from a teacher who was using this site as a legit resource.

walrus1960 said...

Red Skeletons body was never exhumed to prove he did or did not die from having a "red skeleton"?
Why would anyone consent to such a stupid exhumation for such a rediculous reason,even the Los Angeles County Coroner. How is dying from natural causes a tragedy as you state on your bogus site?

Anonymous said...

William Baldwin is Billy Baldwin, they're the same person, and Emilio Estevez is Charlie Sheen's brother.

Anonymous said...

Adam Baldwin is NOT a Baldwin Brother.

Anonymous said...

They have got the info on the baldwin bros wrong. There are four bros - alec, stephen, william and daniel. Adam isnt related. And William never changed his name to emilo estevez - this is the brother of Charlie Sheen who decided to take his mother's maiden name rather than his father surname.

markei said...

Come on guys! Martin Sheen is the stage name of Ramon Antonio Gerard Estevez, who changed it overcome racial prejudice in Hollywood as an up and coming actor. Charlie Sheen(Carlos Irwin Estevez) took his dad's stage name to show he was his son, and Emilio Estevez kept his name to prove he could be successful without riding their coat-tails. If you're going to correct someone, get it right!

C said...


Anonymous said...

Adaam Baldwin is not one of the Balwin Bros...He doesn't even look like them!

Alex said...

I agree with markei. Go onto and get this shit right. Emilio Estevez kept his dad's real ethnic name and is not a Baldwin.

In addition, how could he be a brother of Alec and not the other three.

Anonymous said...

Billy and William are the same person, pics in differents years. Bad site. :(

Anonymous said...

Only four Baldwin Brothers... and you say you try so hard to verify your facts - but I just found that on Wikipedia, where it clearly tells you that Adam is not a Baldwin Brother of this family. Try harder... And William Baldwin is really Emilio Estevez?!?? Please.

Silvia said...

Estevez is a Sheen, not a Baldwin.

Anonymous said...

You got it wrong... think you mean this:

Mnemonic devices can help with remembering peoples' names and faces

pneumatic device (instrument), any of various tools and instruments that generate and utilize compressed air

Nick C said...

you should call your site very little known bullshit. I know you can say whatever you want because its a "free country", but doesn't it get embarrassing to be called out all the time. maybe if you did some research you might not seem like such a turd. consider this constructive criticism, i could have been brutally honest.

P.S. I cant believe you didn't know that William and Billy are the same name. what are you like 7

Agustin said...

Sheena Easton, Sheila E and Apollonia are three different women. Wikipedia can clear this up for you.