15 Latino Stars Who Changed Their Name for Hollywood

Last week, singer Bruno Mars explained why he changed his name from Peter Gene Hernandez to Bruno Mars in an effort to avoid being stereotyped by the music business. 

 “[Their response would be:] Your last name's Hernandez, maybe you should do the Latin music, this Spanish music... Enrique [Iglesias] is so hot right now,” Mars explained in a cover story interview with GQ Mag, adding that he adopted his childhood nickname "Bruno" to "avoid being stereotyped."

Of course, this isn't the first time a Latino celeb has changed his/her name for Hollywood. Several of our celebs have changed their name either because they opted to go with a stage name, or because they felt changing their name would help them get more opportunities in Hollywood. Whatever the reason, here are 15 celebs who have changed their name for Hollywood. 

1. 15 Mas: Christian Camargo

Christian Camargo/Christian Minnick, 39

When Christian Camargo — best known for his role as Brian Moser (“The Ice Truck Killer”) on Showtime's Dexter — was born, his grandfather, Mexican-American actor, Ralph Camargo convinced Christian’s mother to change her name to something Anglicized, because he felt like he had lost opportunities in acting due to his Latino background. Christian’s mother obliged and changed her name to Minnick — which was Christian’s last name for some time. But the proud Mexican-American didn't keep the name for long. He changed his name back to Camargo. 



2. 15 More: Oscar Isaac

Oscar Issac, 31

He may have changed his common Hispanic last name (“Hernandez”) to avoid being typecast in Latino roles, but Oscar Issac—who has starred in movies like The Nativity Story (2006) and Robin Hood (2009)—was born in Guatemala to a Cuban father named Oscar G. Hernandez and a Guatemalan mother named Maria.

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3. Even More Stars: James Roday

James Roday, 34

In an exclusive interview with Latina.com, Psych star James Roday (born James David Rodriguez), explained why he changed his name for Hollywood. "Well, it was two-fold," said the Mexican-American actor, who plays fake psychic Shawn Spencer on the hit USA Network series. "There was a James Rodriguez in SAG—I believe he was a dancer. So I would've had to throw in a middle initial or something—which I didn't think was awesome. And then what really took it home was that the first job I got—which was a sitcom pilot for ABC—one of the execs strongly suggested to me that I consider changing my name, because it was the late 90s and the NAACP was really cracking down on the networks for lack of diversity. They had it in their heads that they were going to catch all kinds of fire for casting a white guy with a Latino name and trying to say, 'look at us, we're being diverse.' This is actually something that they were concerned about," he added. 

4. 15 Mas: Ted Williams

Ted Williams, (1918-2002)

It is widely known that baseball Hall of Famer, Ted Williams (Boston Red Sox) has Welsh and Irish roots, but his Mexican roots (his mother was Mexican), are not as well documented because Williams purposely hid them from the world. “If I had my mother’s name, there is no doubt I would have run into problems in those days, {considering} the prejudices people had in Southern Calfornia,” Williams said in his 1969 autobiography, “My Turn At Bat.” Williams' dilemma isn't something that athletes today have to go through. No one cares that athletes like Oscar De La Hoya, Eduardo Najera and Mark Sanchez are Mexican — they only care that they're great at what they do. That's how it should be!


5. Name Change: Rita Hayworth

Rita Hayworth (1918-1987)

The "Gilda" star appeared first as Rita Cansino, but agreed to change her name to Rita Hayworth. She also changed her natural dark brown hair to dark red to land a broader range of roles. 

6. Name Change: Charlie Sheen

Charlie Sheen, 47

During his days at Santa Monica High School, Charlie Sheen made amateur films with his older brother Emilio and school friends (including Rob Lowe and Sean Penn), and used his birth name (Carlos Irwin Estevez). But ever since his first role at age nine in his father’s 1974 film The Execution of Private Slovik, Sheen has gone by his stage name. "He was always Charlie, he was never Carlos," Sheen's brother Emilio Estevez told us in an interview for Latina.com.

Now, for the sake of his role in the Latino-centric Machete Kills film by Mexican American director Robert Rodriguez, Sheen is back to being Carlos.

7. Another 15: Vanna White

Vanna White, 54

You know her as the legendary hostess of Wheel of Fortune, but White – whose very last name hints that she’s Caucasian— is actually part-Latina! You see, “White” is not Vanna’s real apellido—it’s the name she took from her stepfather Herbert Stackley White Jr., a former real estate agent in North Myrtle Beach.  Not much is known about Vanna’s real father whose name is Miguel Angel Rosich, except that he was born in Ponce, Puerto Rico and abandoned the family when she was a child. Fun fact: Rumor has it that one of White's ancestors, whose last name was Barnes, was one of the first mayors of the city of Ponce, Puerto Rico.

8. Name Change: Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars, 27

In a recent issue of GQ Magazine, Bruno Mars (AKA Peter Gene Hernandez) explained why he changed his name for Hollywood. “[Their response would be:] Your last name's Hernandez, maybe you should do the Latin music, this Spanish music... Enrique [Iglesias] is so hot right now,” said Mars. He ended up adopting his childhood nickname Bruno and changed his last name to Mars to “avoid being stereotyped.”

9. Even More Stars: Raquel Welch

Raquel Welch, 70

International sex symbol and golden globe winning actress, Raquel Welch was born Jo Raquel Tejada. While her mother Josephine Sarah came from English ancestry, her father Armando Carlos Tejada Urquizo is of Bolivian and Spanish descent.

10. 15 More: Anita Page

Anita Page (1910-2008)

Anita Page (AKA Anita Evelyn Pomares) was an immensely popular actress of the silent film era, who reportedly received more fan mail than anyone else on the MGM lot (save of course for Gretta Garbo). Anita was of Spanish ancestry and her grandfather was a consul from El Salvador. During the 1920s, she was often referred to as “a blond, blue-eyed Latin.”

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11. Another 15: Andrew Keegan

Andrew Keegan, 32

Andrew Keegan has made a career out of playing all-American pretty boys in films like Camp Nowhere (1994), 10 Things I Hate About You (1999), O (2001), and the TV shows 7th Heaven and Party of Five. But who would’ve guessed that Keegan—born Andrew Keegan Ocampo— is the son of a Colombian hairdresser named Lana? Even though he’s never played a Latino, rumor has it Andrew speaks fluent español.

12. 15 Musicians: Taboo

Taboo, 35:
Taboo, of the Black Eyed Peas, has been known to yell “Viva Mexico!” during performances as a nod to his Mexican heritage. His dad is from Morelia and his mom is of Shoshone Indian descent. The rapper, whose real name is Jaime Luis Gómez, even taught himself Spanish. “My parents never spoke to me in Spanish but I love to practice,” he once said in an interview. “I learned watching [Mexican] movies with Capulina, Tin Tan, Resortes, El Chavo del Ocho. Sometimes I choke up but it’s great to know [the language].”

13. 15 Musicians: Cassie

Cassie, 22:
R&B singer Cassie (aka Cassandra Ventura), who gave us the hit song “Me & U” back in 2006 and is currently working on her new album, draws inspiration from artists like Jennifer Lopez and La Lupe. She can definitely relate to these Latinas, at least in part: Her mom is half Mexican and half West Indian, while her dad is Filipino. “I’m a little melting pot,” she told Complex Magazine in 2008.

14. Another 15: Sabrina Bryan

Sabrina Bryan, 26

Most people know that Adrienne Bailon of The Cheetah Girls is Latina, but with a last name like Bryan, not everyone knows that her fellow cheetah Sabrina is also Latina. Born Reba Sabrina Hinojos, Sabrina’s father is Mexican and her mother is Caucasian. Maybe they should have been called “Las Chicas Cheetah” instead?

15. Even More Stars: Joanna Kerns

Joanna Kerns, 57

From 1985-1992, Joanna Kerns played the quintessential American mom Maggie Seaver in the family comedy classic, Growing Pains. Kerns was born Joanna Crussie DeVarona and is of mixed Mexican/Irish descent (her father David is Mexican American and her mother Martha is Irish-American).