How much do you like your name? Have you ever thought your life would have gone a different way if your parents named you Maverick or Uppercut? It’s too late to know for sure, but it’s never too late to try your hand at something new if you really want to try it. Many places in the world allow their citizens to legally change their names if they want, so nothing is stopping you from being the next RoboCop St. Fightmaster if that’s your desire. If that sounds like too much for you, then check out these real, over-the-top tales of name changes.
10. A New Zealand Judge Took Custody Away From Parents Who Had Given Their Child a Stupid Name
No kid wants to be embarrassed by a parent but some parents seem like embarrassment is in their genetics. If you’re lucky, it only happens once in a blue moon and ends quickly so you can slink away to forget it ever happened. But not everyone gets lucky like 9-year-old Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii.
The girl was made a ward of the court in Australia after a judge deemed her parents were essentially idiots. The parents were in the middle of a custody battle when the judge learned the girl had been going by the name K, just that single letter because she was embarrassed by her name. It looks like Talula Does the Hula From Hawaii was literally her first name, just the whole silly sentence.
The judge stripped custody from both parents to legally allow the child to be renamed. He criticized the poor judgment of the parents pointing out how the name set their daughter up for ridicule and her refusal to use it proved his point. Her new name was not revealed to protect her identity and presumably, the custody was fixed afterward.
9. French Courts Forcibly Named a Girl Ella
Some people really like Nutella, which is basically cake frosting masquerading as food that once even claimed to be healthy until a lawsuit forced them to stop saying that. Nevertheless, being a chocolate and hazelnut spread, many people still like it. A couple in France liked it so much they decided to name their baby Nutella. That was the plan, anyway.
The French courts had to step in and deny the parents the ability to slap the dessert-themed moniker on their new baby. Some countries will not allow names for various reasons, and this one was denied because they felt the child would be made fun of. And, let’s be honest, she probably would have been.
The judge said it was contrary to the child’s interest to have a name that can lead to teasing. Instead, he forced the parents to name her Ella, which is at least in the ballpark. Interestingly, this didn’t seem to be the parents’ second choice. In fact, the parents didn’t even show up to the hearing, so the judge selected the name and made it so.
8. A Man Legally Named Himself After Every James Bond Movie
James Bond is a cool name thanks to the entire James Bond series of novels and movies. Everyone knows James Bond. He’s cool, he’s smart, he’s deadly. Women seem to enjoy his company. Good guy. And the name itself isn’t bizarre or anything, it’s just what it represents that has appeal, so much so that at least one man renamed himself James Bond and then took it a step further. Or a lot of steps further, actually.
In the UK you can legally change your name by basically just saying you changed your name. To make it official, you have to fill out a deed poll but that’s only a way of letting the government know you changed your name. You write down your new name on a form and give it to the government so they can change it for your ID and whatever else. It’s very easy.
A deed poll is how 23-year-old David Fearn changed his name to James Bond. But that’s just his first and last name. He gave himself a middle name, too. His full, legal name is James Dr No From Russia with Love Goldfinger Thunderball You Only Live Twice On Her Majesty’s Secret Service Diamonds Are Forever Live and Let Die The Man with the Golden Gun The Spy Who Loved Me Moonraker For Your Eyes Only Octopussy A View to a Kill The Living Daylights Licence to Kill Golden Eye Tomorrow Never Dies The World Is Not Enough Die Another Day Casino Royale Bond.
7. The Ultimate Warrior Legally Changed His Name to Warrior
If you were a fan of old-school ’80s wrestling, then you know the name Ultimate Warrior. With an explosive personality and a vascular, terrifying physique, the Ultimate Warrior became one of the biggest stars alongside Hulk Hogan and Macho Man Randy Savage. Part of the Warrior’s gimmick was that he was a little off-balanced and mentally not altogether. Turns out that wasn‘t all gimmick.
The real-life Warrior, Jim Hellwig, was known to be a petty, bigoted, angry man. He once wished manager Bobby Heenan would die of cancer. He made racist and homophobic blog posts, insulted Hurricane Katrina victims, and even celebrated the death of Heath Ledger.
At some point, Hellwig decided life would be better for him if he left Jim behind and just became Warrior full-time, so he legally changed his name. He has two daughters and though Warrior passed away in 2014, the daughters still use Warrior as their last name.
6. A Dentist Legally Changed his Name to Painless
If you were a semi-crooked dentist working in 1892, how would you go about enticing customers into your business? Dentistry was not nearly so advanced back then and you can only imagine the pain someone had to be in before they’d go to some stranger and let them use pliers and other tools to yank rotten teeth out of their heads.
Pain was the name of the game for dentistry and Edgar Parker knew it. Word is he only graduated dentistry school because he begged the dean and he was just a terrible dentist overall. He began advertising painless dentistry, and he’d inject patients with diluted cocaine before pulling their teeth. Sometimes he’d just give them booze. He was one of the first dentists to actively advertise and solicit patients, which was deemed unethical at the time.
In order to reach a broader audience, Parker teamed up with a carny and made a dental circus. He traveled from town to town and had a plant in the audience he’d call up then pretend to work on, pulling a molar quickly and painlessly. When real customers got on stage, he had a band play to cover their screams. Within two years he legally changed his first name to Painless so it wouldn’t technically be false advertising to advertise “Painless dentistry.”
5. Tutankhamun Changed His Name As a Nod to Old Gods
Of all the Egyptian pharaohs, Tutankhamun is probably the most well-known in the modern world. It’s kind of ironic then that Tutankhamun wasn’t the name he started life with. Originally he was Tutankhaten which means “living image of the Aten.” This was because his parents worshiped a god named Aten who was a sun god.
Aten was part of a pantheon of gods that are less familiar to us in the modern world. When he became king, Tutankhaten changed his name to Tutankhamun because he was embracing the older gods and thus Aten was replaced with the god Amun. Amun later merged with the sun god Ra to become Amun Ra, which is what most of us in the West know today about Egyptian mythology. But in Tutankhamun’s time, the name change was part of a process to restore the glory of the old gods.
4. Anne Rice’s Parents Changed Her Name To Anne Because She Introduced Herself as Such
Anne Rice was one of the most popular fiction writers in modern history and her series of vampire novels have sold millions not to mention being the basis for movies and a TV series. Less well-known is that Rice was born Howard Allen O’Brien which you may recognize as an extremely traditionally male name. Her father was also Howard and her mother thought it was a great name so, despite the fact Anne was the second of five daughters, she drew the unlucky lot of being named after her dad.
As you might expect, as a girl Rice hated her name and refused to use it. She went to a Catholic school and introduced herself to the nuns there as Anne in the first grade. She stuck with it and since everyone knew her as Anne her parents changed her name in 1947 when she was six.
3. An Angry Bank Customer Changed his Name to “Yorkshire Bank are Fascist Bastards”
There is no shortage of stories throughout history of people getting angry at banks. Sometimes they have happy endings but more often than not they’re just tales about the banks screwing some average person and ruining their life. So how do you fight back? Most people can’t, but some people choose to do anything they can, no matter how hilariously petty.
Michael Howard was a customer of Yorkshire Bank when they sent him notice that he’d gone into a £10 overdraft. The notice came with a £20 fee. Angered by this, Howard did one of those simply British deed polls to change his name to Yorkshire Bank are Fascist Bastards.
The bank was not happy with Mr. Bastards’s change of name and requested that he close his account. He replied that he would be happy to if they refunded his 69p balance by writing him a check using his legal name.
2. Macaulay Culkin Changed his Middle Name to Macaulay Culkin
You’re probably familiar with Macaulay Culkin, star of the original Home Alone movie and its sequel. He made it big as a child actor and Home Alone has become a classic. Culkin is an adult now and doesn’t do as much acting but still pops up now and then, including in some holiday-themed commercials in 2023 that parodied his iconic role.
What most people don’t know is that Culkin has a middle name, and he chose it after an online vote from fans. In 2018, he asked the internet to give him a new middle name for Christmas. His old middle name was Carson. After 100,000 votes came in on his website, the public had spoken and Culkin followed through by legally changing his name to what the people had chosen. Today, his legal name is Macaulay Macaulay Culkin Culkin.
1. Dr. Loki Skylizard Chose His Legal Name When He Was 8
In what may be one of the greatest name-change stories ever we have Dr. Loki Skylizard. Dr. Skylizard isn’t just a real doctor, a thoracic surgical oncologist who works in Missouri. He has a real MD and specializes in robot-assisted surgery for cancer patients. If you get Dr. Skylizard, you’re in good hands.
Skylizard, who is Puerto Rican if the name didn’t tip you off, was raised by some unusual parents. When he was a child, his parents allowed him and his siblings to simply choose their own names. At 8-years-old he picked Loki Skylizard and his parents legally changed it for him. He’s stuck with it ever since.