25 celebrities whose real names will surprise you

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American actress Marilyn Monroe (1926 – 1962), circa 1950. (Photo by L. J. Willinger/Keystone Features/Hulton Archive/Getty Images)

Marilyn Monroe (Norma Jeane Mortensen)

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Probably the most famous name change in history, the legendary Hollywood star Marilyn Monroe was born Norma Jeane Mortenson. Not quite the name of a sexy big screen starlet, is it? (It is, however, a better name for lyrics, or at least Sir Elton John thought so.)

Marilyn had a whole bunch of names in her short life. Though she was born Norma Jean Mortensen, she was baptized Norma Jeane Baker. Following her first marriage in 1942, she was Norma Jeane Dougherty.

With a fresh new look complete with blonde hair, she started going professionally by Marilyn Monroe when her acting career took off around 1946. But she actually wasn’t legally Marilyn until 1956.

Before settling on Marilyn, the star reportedly worked as a model under names like Jean Norman and Mona Monroe. She also often checked into hotels as Zelda Zonk.