Stage Name

Actors’ unions, for example Actors’ Equity (both the UK and US unions) or the Screen Actors’ Guild/American Federation of Television and Radio Artists (SAG-AFTRA), administer a system whereby a person joining the union must identify a stage name, which they will use professionally. The union will, if there is a risk of confusion with another actor, typically require the actor to select a name different from their actual name. In addition, where an actor (or his/her agent) believes that their name is unprepossessing, they may chose a more macho or sexy name, e.g., Norma-Jean Baker (a.k.a. Marilyn Monroe) or Marion Michael Morrison (a.k.a. John Wayne.) Separately, an actor may be able to assert claims based on trademark, passing-off and/or right-of-publicity for misuse of their stage name.

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