I’m wondering, has an actor or actress ever changed his/her name to the name of a character he or she portrayed in a film or tv show? — like if Jaleel White just straight up changed his name to Steve Urkel…
I really can’t imagine what it’s like to live the life of a famous actor, especially one who is primarily really famous for one specific role. How many times a day while walking around in public must someone yell “Hey Urkel!” when Jaleel White goes by? Although he’s probably somewhat used to this by now, I highly doubt Mr. White enjoys being called Urkel by someone every five minutes. Perhaps, even for a split-second, Jaleel White actually just considered giving in, by going ahead and legally changing his name to Steve Urkel.
I’ve heard of a syndrome (not exactly sure what it’s called) — with actors actually believing they are the characters they portray. Well, not necessarily believe, but they try to live the life of their character in some way, shape, or form.
I know the Ultimate Warrior, the WWF wrestler from the 1980s and 90s at one point did actually legally change his name to “Warrior” — but I think that was more of a copyright and ownership issue, rather than the guy (Jim Hellwig) believing he’s actually the Ultimate Warrior — although judging from Hellwig’s words, actions, and general history, he might actually think he’s the Ultimate Warrior.
Anyway, I don’t expect Jaleel White to change his name anytime soon, but perhaps Henry Winkler at some point wanted to be Arthur “The Fonz/Fonzie” Fonzarelli in real life? Who knows? And who knows if such a thing is even possible, because studios and networks probably own the rights to the names of these fictional characters, anyway.
I tried Googling this scenario, to find out of any actors have ever done it, but the only results I could get was just a bunch of stuff about “stage names” vs. real names of actors, etc.
So let me know if you think of/know of any examples of what I described above. Thanks.