Remember when you were in elementary school and it was exciting to meet someone with the same name?
That excitement wears thin if you’re a person who makes his or her fortune off your own personal brand — and that includes your name. It can create bad blood, spread incorrect rumors, and create general confusion among the public. And, if you’re an actor, the Screen Actors Guild says only one person can use a name. See Vanessa Williams, below, for an explanation of that.
The above list contains celebrities with the same first and last name (with a couple exceptions). Those names may or may not be spelled the same way, or the celebrities may go by a different name publicly, but were born with the same name. You can check out the quick list above, and the explanations below.
Katy Perry and Kate Hudson
Katy Perry’s real name is Katheryn Elizabeth Hudson — which would be Kate or Katheryn Hudson — but she changed her name when to avoid confusion with the actress Kate Hudson.
Michael Keaton and Michael Douglas
Michael Keaton’s real name is Michael John Douglas — Michael Douglas — but he changed his stage name to avoid confusion with fellow actor Michael Douglas, and another famous Douglas…
The daytime talk show host.
Gene Simmons and Jean Simmons
He’s in KISS, she’s an Oscar-winning actress. We doubt there was much confusion on this one.
Michelle Williams and Michelle Williams
The first Michelle is a lauded actress who won a Golden Globe for My Week with Marilyn, while the other — who spells her name the same way — was in Destiny’s Child. (We still miss Destiny’s Child.)
Vanessa L. Williams and Vanessa Williams
Though most people know Vanessa on the left, the beauty queen, singer, and actress was not the first person to use that name in acting roles. That right belongs to Vanessa on the right, who was in Melrose Place (season 1) and Soul Food, among other projects. Because SAG rules state that each person’s professional name must be unique, Vanessa on the left is supposed to use her middle initial “L” on credits.
Richard Hatch and Richard Hatch
The one on the left played Apollo in the original Battlestar Gallactica series, while the one on the right won the first season of Survivor. Fun fact, the first Richard Hatch appeared in the recent Battlestar reboot as a villain, and many viewers think of Survivor’s Richard Hatch as a villain as well.
Mark Wahlberg and Mark L. Walberg
One’s a popular actor who will always be remembered for posing in his Calvins. The other is a TV personality and talk show host, who hasn’t done any kind modeling as far as we know.
Dave Thomas and Dave Thomas
The comedian / actor is the guy on the left, and the other dude founded the Wendy’s fast food chain. Ironically, more people probably know the founder of Wendy’s, even though he passed away back in 2002.
BONUS#1: Keith David and David Keith
The similarities in these actors’ names has confused many people in conversations.
BONUS#2: Anthony Michael Hall, Michael Anthony, and Michael C. Hall
Anthony Michael Hall starred in Brat Pack in movies like The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. Michael Anthony, in the middle, is the former Van Halen bassist. And Michael C. Hall is probably the most well known of the bunch, starring in Dexter and Six Feet Under. We thought we’d throw them in because it was random.