As counter-intuitive as it sounds, the life of a celebrity can be fairly constrictive. They might have a personal fortune that rivals a small nation’s GDP, but it doesn’t do them much good if they can’t sneeze without it making tabloid headlines. Which is why so many of them opt for aliases as a way to restore some of that freedom. Here are five odd aliases celebrities have used in the past.
Stephen King as Richard Bachman
Some famous authors will use pen names so they can write books that don’t fall into their usual genre. Stephen King didn’t want to do that. He wanted to see if his horror writing could have just as much success with a different name attached to it. In this case, the name was Richard Bachman. Bachman’s books weren’t as overtly a part of the horror genre as King’s books, opting instead for more realistic, though still suspenseful, scenarios. They were to receive next to no publicity and were left to their own merits. They did reasonably well, a testament to King’s talent, but none of them hit it big the way King’s early books did, a testament to King’s lucky industry timing.
Angelina Jolie as Miss Lollipop
Plenty of celebrities check into hotels under an alias. It’s a perfectly natural way to keep the tabloids in the dark as to where they’re sleeping. But most of those celebrities use some kind of normal name or something that’s clearly fake, but amusing. Matt Damon goes as John President, Bob Dylan was Justin Case, and Elton John goes as Sir Humphrey Handbag. Angelina Jolie, on the other hand, checks in as Miss Lollipop, a pseudonym that’s as unsettling as it is straight up confusing. At least there’s the benefit of the doubt for the other names.
Benjamin Franklin as Silence Dogood
Most of you know the name Silence Dogood thanks to National Treasure and Nicolas Cage’s relentless quest to teach Americans about their early history. Of course, there are the select few of you who learned about Silence the normal way, through a well-rounded middle or high school curriculum. Either way, we’re happy to know Benjamin Franklin, one of the most influential of our Founding Fathers, wrote using the personality of a middle-aged minister’s widow. It shows us that you can establish the most powerful republic the world’s ever known and still troll your local newspaper.
J.K. Rowling as Robert Galbraith
The rest of J.K. Rowling’s career is going to be colored by Harry Potter. That’s what happens when you write the most successful children’s fantasy series to ever grace bookshelves. The only possible way Rowling’s going to be able to write anything that isn’t compared or related to Harry Potter is if she uses a pen name, which is exactly what she set out to do with the Robert Galbraith novels. She went about it in a bit of a weird way though, when she decided to make it sound like she was personal friends with Robert Galbraith. It makes a few of the interviews “he” did read a little stranger.
Pablo Diego José Francisco de Paula Juan Nepomuceno Crispín Crispiniano María Remedios de la Santísima Trinidad Ruiz Picasso as Pablo Picasso
It might be more accurate to say that the odd thing about Pablo Picasso’s alias is that “Pablo Picasso” is his alias. The other odd thing about his alias is just how much of his real name he had to take out to make it. His given name reads something closer to where Daenerys Targaryen’s full title is heading on Game of Thrones, and he didn’t even have to lead a slave revolt or birth any dragons to get it. Apparently names like this are part of the larger Andalusian tradition Picasso was descended from, which makes us wonder what his career would have looked like if he’d stuck with that tradition.