Monday, February 15, 2021

Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Norma Jean, Norma Jean

That title is wrong, of course. The 1976 play and 1982 film were Come Back to the 5 & Dime, Jimmy Dean, Jimmy Dean and the proper name referred to the actor James Dean, not the country-western singer and eventual seller of sausage Jimmy Dean. Any confusion all these years later is certainly understandable, except in people who actually saw the play or the film. They have no reason to be confused unless they are senile.

Because of the trivia factoid in the preceding post about American dancer Cyd Charisse's real name being Tula Finklea, I was reminded of Marilyn Monroe. Everybody knows, or should know by now, that Marilyn Monroe's real name was Norma Jean Baker. It follows as the night the day, therefore, or at least it does if you have a warped mind like mine, that as soon as you realize that the name Jimmy Dean rhymes with Norma Jean, you also realize that you have found the title for your next post, which is going to be about other people whose names were changed.

If it didn't follow as the night the day to you, your mind is obviously not as warped as mine.

Several years agi I created a similar post in which readers were invited to try to match the new names with the original names. I won't make you work so hard this time. I will simply (and very graciously, don't you think?) give you the information. It is entirely up to you, of course, what you do with it.

As I am getting on in years, younger readers may detect a certain generation gap.

Here goes:

Tony Bennett's real name? Anthony Dominick Benedetto.
Jack Benny's real name? Benny Lubelsky.
Tony Curtis's real name? Bernie Schwartz.
Tiny Tim's real name? Herbert Khaury.
Cary Grant's real name? Archibald Leach.
Michael Caine's real name? Maurice Micklewhite.
John Wayne's real name? Marion Morrison.
Engelbert Humperdinck's real name? Arnold George Dorsey.
Vanilla Ice's real name? Robert Matthew Van Winkle.
Roy Rogers's real name? Leonard Slye (and he may have been King of the Cowboys but he was from Ohio).
Marilyn Monroe's real name? (all together now, class) Norma Jean Baker.
Joan Crawford's real name? Lucille Fay LeSueur.
Vivian Leigh's real name? Vivian Mary Hartley.
Billie Holliday's real name? Eleanora Fagan.
Joan Rivers's real name? Joan Alexandra Molinsky. (Rivers was not her married name. Rosenberg was her married name.)
Barbara Stanwyck's real name? Ruby Katherine Stevens.
Gypsy Rose Lee's real name? Rose Louise Hovick.
Whoopi Goldberg's real name? Caryn Elaine Johnson.
Dinah Shore's real name? Frances Rose Shore.
Maya Angelou's real name? Marguerite Annie Johnson.
Dale Evans's (Queen of the Cowgirls, wife of Roy Rogers, and her horse's name was Buttermilk) real name? Frances Octavia Smith.
And last, but by no means least, Cyd Charisse's real name? (as we all should know by now) Tula Ellice Finklea.

As Abraham Lincoln said at Gettysburg in 1863, it is altogether fitting and proper that we should do this. A reader named Pat from Arkansas told us why in a comment on this blog back in 2008, and I quote:

"Trivia is good! It occupies the brain cells that otherwise would be taken up in contemplating current events!"

Given the state of current events nowadays, spending time with trivia is more important than ever. I'm just trying to do my part in achieving harmony in the world. Feel free to nominate me for the Nobel Peace Prize.


  1. I guess I've been hiding under a pumpkin as I only know 3 or 4 or these. I guess I'm not doing enough trivia.

    1. Red, I presume you mean 3 or 4 of the real names, not 3 or 4 of the show-biz names by which they are more familiarly known. If you mean the latter, I agree that you must have been hiding under a pumpkin. If you mean the former, there is no need to feel inadequate. You’re simply not a trivia nut like some of the rest of us, and there’s no harm in that.

  2. Do you have all those in your brain or did you google?

    1. kylie, I have most of them in my brain from reading over the years. A few, like the real names of Barbara Stanwyck, Billie Holliday, Vivian Leigh, and Maya Angelou, never seem to stick in my brain and I have to look them up. But I didn’t google anything for today’s post. I looked at my old post from 2008.

  3. There were a few name changed i didn't know. That was fun.

  4. Emma, fun is a good distraction during a pandemic.

  5. Interesting!
    I can see why some of them changed their names.

  6. Kathy, I know! Would John Wayne be John Wayne if we thought of him as Marion Morrison? I actually left a name out that I meant to include. I will put it in my next post.

  7. I knew a couple including John Wayne. That's not surprising because I know quite a few Marion Morrisons none of whom, so far as I know, is related. However his forebears on his mother's side did come from Ness on the Isle of Lewis.

    I'm not sure whether I dislike quiz's because I have very little trivia locked away in my brain (after all it always seemed so, well, trivial) or whether I dislike trivia because I'm bad at quiz's.

  8. Graham, You taught me something I didn’t know. Now I know two Americans whose forebears came from the Isle of Lewis — Donald Trump and John Wayne!

    1. Half of Canada came from Scotland. The smart ones moved south to more clement places.
      On a more serious note are Texas and Florida going to secede? I hope not as it would be very upsetting for all the folk in heaven who voted for Joe.

    2. Adrian, Texas and Florida are not going to secede because the American Civil War of 1861-1865.settled the question of secession forever. We are “one nation, indivisible” as our Pledge of Allegiance says. (I’m being optimistic.). We can be added to, as we may be soon with possible statehood for the District of Columbia (Washington, DC) and Puerto Rico, but we cannot be taken away from. An interesting side note: Texas can divide itself into as many as five states any time its people decide to. This was part of its annexation agreement with the U.S. when it entered the Union in 1845 from independent nation status. It was never a “U.S Territory” like other states. Another interesting side note: New states can be formed out of existing states. This happened, for example, with Tennessee (formerly part of North Carolina), Maine (Massachusetts), and West Virginia (Virginia). I think any talk going around lately about seceding is just that — talk. Ignorant and uninformed talk, maybe, but only talk.


<b> Long livers on my personal radar</b>

Although my mother died young at age 47 and my dad died at 60, Mrs. RWP and I have had some long livers in our family and among our friends....