Carroll O'Connor once used a friend's name for his stage name
He's Carroll O'Connor, Archie Bunker, Bill Gillespie and... George Roberts?
Stage names are common among celebrities, and even artists like painters decide to work under a new name for branding purposes. Most use nicknames, their middle name or names they simply think sound cool. Yet, have you ever heard of someone using their friend's name for their stage name?
Carroll O'Connor was Archie Bunker on All in the Family and Bill Gillespie on In the Heat of the Night. Before he snagged his most popular roles, the actor had smaller ones and worked under a different name: George Roberts. In an interview with the Television Academy, O'Connor revealed how he came up with the name and why he eventually abandoned it.
It all began while he was in college. One of the oldest students suggested he avoid using his real name to prevent limitations. "So, I started acting under the name George Roberts," he said. "It was just the name of an old friend of mine, and [he] was gone at that time."
O'Connor would go on to use this name for a few years until he joined a company for actors that wanted him to take his original name back.
"[The company owner said] 'I want you to take back your name. I have my entire company of Irish names, and I don't want any George Roberts. Furthermore, George Roberts [was] the name of an actor I acted with at the old Abbey [theatre]. You shouldn't be using that name.' I said, 'OK.'"
This was around the time the actor was focusing on theatrical productions in Dublin and New York in the 1950s. So, the actor started using Carroll O'Connor again.
Almost all of his television and film acting credits are under the O'Connor name. If you didn't know, Carroll is his middle name, and his real first name is John. Carroll O'Connor just has more of a ring to it, doesn't it?