10/11/2012 08:29 am ET Updated Dec 11, 2012

What's In A Name? Ask Old Hollywood

Back in the day, when the major studios ruled Hollywood, they told their stars what pictures to make, how to dress, who to date and kept unplanned pregnancies by unwed actresses hush-hush.

The same thing happened with names: In the 1940s, 50s and 60s, dozens of big-name actors and actresses changed their birth names, with two of the most notable being Rock Hudson and Tab Hunter. Having the "right" name could mean the difference between superstardom and going back home to work in a meat-packing plant or as a cashier in the local grocery store.

While New Hollywood has taken their cues from their predecessors (a few examples: Natalie Hershlag became Natalie Portman; Margaret Mary Emily Hyra is known as Meg Ryan; Sean John Combs aka P. Diddy, and Stefani Joanne Angelina Germanotta is, of course, superstar Lady Gaga), the "old Hollywood" icons started the trend. Here are a few Hollywood stars who changed their names for all the right reasons. And as the saying goes in Hollywood: Good career move.

What's In A Name?