Author, Lecturer, Ethicist

What's In a Name?

Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke

Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke

In the heyday of the Hollywood studio system (c. 1915-1957), each studio was a self-contained universe. Within its walls one could find carpentry shops and costumers; hairdressers, wigmakers and dance studios, commissaries, set building shops, sound stages and recording facilities, furniture and antique warehouses, writers, producers and directors wings One could build - and then tear down - complete mock-ups of Manhattan and London, Paris and a North African Casbah, Kansas, Casablanca and Constantinople. Most studios owned their own ranches out in the San Fernando Valley where Westerns and wars, rural dramas and jungle pictures could be shot. For actors under contract, the studio was a stern family at which you would be taught how to dress, ride a horse, sing, dance, and speak with a French, British or Mexican accent. The studio would also teach you the rudiments of fencing, create your (mostly false) biography, and keep you out of trouble. Each studio had its own police department that - along with your personal press agent - would work with the municipal cops and local papers to keep your name off the front page if you got into trouble.

The studios even renamed you if the name you were born with were either too ethnic or too long to fit on a marquee. I have written elsewhere about my family getting “legally Stoned” back when Erica and I were 7 or 8.

For those of us who grew up in that world, we were well aware of what people’s real names were. We also knew many of them without their wigs and toupees, false teeth makeup . . . just plain people who happened to photograph well.

Let’s see how many you can figure out. First, a list of real names; then a second list of their Hollywood names. Have a blast! (BTW: this list is by no means exhaustive, so don’t write in and ask “Why didn’t you include . . .?)

First, some actors:

  1. Lucile Vasconcellos Langhanke

  2. Bernice Frankel

  3. Naftaly Birnbaum

  4. Spangler Arlington Brugh

  5. Bernard Zanville

  6. Lucille Fay Lesueur

  7. Leo Jacob

  8. Howard Silverblatt

  9. Leonard Franklin Slye & Frances Octavia Smith

  10. Douglas Elton Thomas Ullman

  11. Jacob Lincoln Freund

  12. Jacob Julius Garfinkle

  13. Lyova Haskell Rosenthal

  14. Frederic Austerlitz Jr. & Virginia Katherine McMath

  15. Zvi Mosheh Skikne

  16. Hedwig Eva Maria Kiesler

  17. Jerome Lester Horwitz

  18. Samuel Horwitz

  19. Madeline Gail Wolfson

  20. David Daniel Kaminksy

  21. László Lowenstein

  22. Natalie Hershslag

  23. Paul Sternberg

  24. Arthur Leonard Rosenberg

  25. Winona Laura Horowitz

  26. Emanuel Goldenberg

  27. Sophia Kosow

  28. Simone Henriette Charlotte Kaminker

  29. Jill Arlyn Oppenheim

  30. Gerschon Lichtenstein

  31. Harold Hochstein

  32. Shirley Schrift

  33. Isaiah Edwin Leopold

  34. Dino Crocetti & Joseph Levitch

  35. Ruby Stevens

  36. Liliy Chauchoin

  37. Harlean Carpantier

    Next, some directors:

  38. Reuben Sax

  39. Leib Milstein

  40. Michael Igor Peschkowsky

  41. Jerome Wilson Rabinowitz

  42. Wilhelm Weiller

  43. Allen Konigsberg

    Lastly, some producers and screenwriters:

  44. Abraham Goodman

  45. Clifford Gorodetsky

  46. Dorothy Rothschild

  47. Alissa Zinovievna Rosenbaum

  48. Irwin Gilbert Shamforoff

  49. Salomea Steuermann

  50. Nathan Weinstein

  51. Robert Shapera

  52. Eliezer “Laiser” Zeleznik

  53. Avrom Hirsch Goldbogen

  54. Harold Brent Walinsky

  55. Walter Feuchtwanger

  56. Shmuel Gelbfisch

    OK: Let’s see how you did . .

    1. Mary Astor

    2. Bea Arthur

    3. George Burns

    4. Robert Taylor

    5. Dane Clark

    6. Joan Crawford

    7. Lee J. Cobb

    8. Howard Da Silva

    9. Roy Rogers & Dale Evans

    10. Douglas Fairbanks

    11. John Forsythe

    12. John Garfield

    13. Lee Grant

    14. Fred Astaire & Ginger Rogers

    15. Laurence Harvey

    16. Hedy Lamarr

    17. “Curly Joe”Howard

    18. Shemp Howard

    19. Madeline Kahn

    20. Danny Kaye

    21. Peter Lorre

    22. Natalie Portman

    23. Paul Stewart

    24. Tony Randall

    25. Winona Rider

    26. Edward G. Robinson

    27. Sylvia Sidney

    28. Simone Signoret

    29. Jill St. John

    30. George E. Stone

    31. Harold Stone

    32. Shelly Winters

    33. Ed Wynn

    34. Dean Martin & Jerry Lewis

    35. Barbara Stanwyck

    36. Claudette Colbert

    37. Jean Harlow

    38. Richard Brooks

    39. Lewis Milestone

    40. Mike Nichols

    41. Jerome Robbins

    42. William Wyler

    43. Woody Allen

    44. Abby Mann

    45. Clifford Odets

    46. Dorothy Parker

    47. Ayn Rand

    48. Irwin Shaw

    49. Salka Viertel

    50. Nathaniel West

    51. Robert Evans

    52. Lewis Selznick

    53. Michael Todd

    54. Hal Wallace

    55. Walter Wanger

    56. Samuel Goldwyn

One of these days, we’ll produce another list. Until then, meet you on the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Do be sure to stop in at Musso & Frank Grill (now celebrating its 100th birthday) for lunch. Yum . . .

Copyright©2019 K.F. Stone (née Kurt Franklin Schimberg)