During Charlie Sheen’s recent radio meltdown, he made it a point to refer to the writer of “Two and a Half Men” - Chuck Lorre - by his real name, Chaim Levine. The irony is that Charlie Sheen is also a stage name; he was born Carlos Irwin Estivez. This reminded me of how frequently I look up celebrities on Wikipedia (after watching a movie in which they starred) and find that their stage name is different from their birth name. It’s not a new phenomenon; Norma Jean Mortenson did it some sixty years ago.
So what’s the deal? Does most folks in the US go through a name change (for reasons other than marriage)? Or is there something about being in the entertainment business that makes people want to abandon their roots?