This person does not like his birth name; if you call him by it, he will either correct you or ignore you. This could be for a number of reasons. He might feel that you are assuming too much familiarity with him. He might find his real name embarrassing (though his alias is not always much better). He could want to reinvent himself. Or it might be that no one calls him by that name besides his parents.
Unfortunately for him, it does not always stick; someone will always call him by his old name, much to his chagrin. This person is not only known by his nickname, despite his best efforts. The person who calls him by his real name might be trying to mock him or threaten him, or perhaps is unaware that he feels this way.
The name comes from the fact that the professional wrestlersTriple H (Paul Levesque) and The Big Show (Paul Wight) both have told fans who refer to them by their birth names that since all their friends and even their wives refer to them by their ring names, as far as they are concerned, those are their real names. This trope is hardly limited to people named Paul, however. Raven (Scott Levy) is well known for his insistence on being called Raven by everyone. As noted in one of his many shoot interviews, the only people who can call him Scotty are those who first knew him as Scotty the Body.
Could be related to Embarrassing First Name, but that is more about an annoyance. This one is more prideful and dramatic. For obvious reasons, this is very common with transsexual characters.
Some entertainers invert this trope when they want to put their personas behind them (often because their work has become an Old Shame to them), refusing to answer to their Stage Names.
May also be related to That Man Is Dead and Becoming the Mask. Compare Accidental Misnaming, Insistent Terminology, They Call Me Mister Tibbs. Can be a form of a Berserk Button.
Also compare Embarrassing Nickname - someone dubbed him something insulting, and it stuck like a venereal disease. I Know Your True Name is like this but with magical ramifications though the effects can be equally powerful.
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Anime & Manga
Happens in Soul Eater when the Little Demon tried to call the title character by his given name, Soul Evans.
Soul: You know I don't go by that name anymore, Little Demon.
The main character of Steins;Gate prefers Hououin Kyouma to Okabe Rintarou.
In Princess Resurrection, the real name of Hime is Liliane, but she doesn't like to be called that. Two of her brothers, Emil and Severin, call her that, however. The latter did it under dramatic circumstances — a duel between him and Hime where we learn the background of the name:
Severin: Don't be so cold, Liliane! It's a good name. I gave you the name of the cat I used to own. Hime (Liliane): The cat you were rough with and killed. Severin!
Annie from Cowboy Bebop; her full first name is Anastasia but she claims that only two people have the right to call her by that name — Spike, apparently, is not one of them, at least not since he "died".
In Mahou Sensei Negima!, Albireo Imma adopted the name "Ku:Nel Sanders" for the Mahora Budokai, and liked it so much that every appearance of his afterwards, he refused to reply to his real name. (In Japanese, "Ku-neru" is a combination verb for "eat" and "sleep," plus the added "Sanders" and every time his name is said in its entirety you see the KFC Guy...)
Then there's Fate Averruncus, who apparently loathes his real name: "Tertium".
Gai Daigoji Martian Successor Nadesico very much dislikes being addressed by his real name "Jiro Yamada" because he's thinks it's too boring.
Gai: Jiro Yamada is just the boring old name my mother gave me. Gai Daigoji is the name that belongs to my soul!!!
Son Goku of Dragon Ball will always insist "My name isn't Kakarot! I am Son Goku!!". Although in Goku's case, while "Kakarot" is indeed his birth name, he was unaware of his Saiyan heritage until his mid 20s, so...
He does eventually accept Vegeta calling him this, probably because he knows Vegeta is too stubborn to stop if asked. Indeed, Vegeta makes something of a point of always calling him "Kakarot", as he feels that Goku should be proud of his Saiyan heritage.
Yusaku Godai of Maison Ikkoku is only ever called by his first name by his parents and his grandmother in the original Japanese (some translations change this). The only time someone else used his first name, it was schoolgirl stalker, Ibuki Yagami (when he insisted she stop calling him Godai-sensei, since he wasn't her teacher any more, she says, "I understand, Yusaku-san.") Poor guy looked like it gave him hives.
Played straight and inverted in Tekkaman Blade. At the beginning of the series, Blade claims to have forgotten his name, which leads to Noal nicknaming him D-Boy. About 20 episodes later, when the crew finds out his given name (Aiba Takaya), he insists that his name is D-boy (For about half an episode anyway before spilling the beans.) It becomes an inversion toward the end of the series when he "forgets that the Space Knights have nicknamed him "D-boy" and insists that they call him his given name" Played straight again when after defeating his brother, he sheds his birthname and nickname, claiming that he is Tekkaman Blade.
"D-boy and Aiba Takaya are dead. I am Tekkaman Blade!"
Solty Rei "My Name isn't "Dike" It's Solty Revant!
Gou from Free! does not want people to be called by her first name (due to being a boy's name) and prefers to be called Kou, as it sounds more feminine. Apparently, she has taken this trope as her Catch Phrase.
Gokukoku No Brynhildr: When Ryouta first meets Mako, the latter tells him not to call her by her codename "Valkyria".
Rorschach from Watchmen, a.k.a. Walter Kovacs: "You keep calling me Walter. I don't like you." His therapist eventually starts writing "Rorschach" in his notes, a sign that his patient is getting to him.
Archie Comics: "Jughead" Jones would prefer that you just call him "Jughead" and not "Forsythe".
Averted in Invincible, with Mark's friend William who doesn't want to be called by any nickname, but only by his full name, and has problems getting this done.
Kal-El would prefer Superman or Clark, thank you. Interesting variation in that sometimes he will call himself Kal-El and it is never, ever a good thing — it signifies that he is turning his back on his humanity. That's bad. Subverted in that his fellow superheroes often avoid calling him Clark, so may actually call him "Kal" to call him something like a normal name. Wonder Woman and Supergirl are more likely to do this.
Similarly, Clark and Lois' adopted Kryptonian son, Chris Kent, tells his evil and abusive birth parents not to call him by his Kryptionian name, Lor-Zod.
Inverted when Superman and Myx had a Role Reversal and Myx had to get Superman to say his name backwards. "Namrepus" didn't work but "Le-Lak" did.
Cassidy the vampire from Preacher really doesn't like his first name (Proinsias), and hasn't used it since 1916. He accidentally lets slip of it to Jesse, who ends up using it later to insult him after the two of them have a fall-out.
Hilariously justified in Les Légendaires with Shaki; his real name, Little Cat Drinking his Bowl of Milk, is so ridiculous you can easily understand why he doesn't like it.
Many Batman villains dislike being called by their real names, one example being Professor Crane in The Batman Adventures insisting his name is "Scarecrow".
Played for all it's TearJerking worth at the end of The Sandman's "A Game of You". Wanda's family simply refuses to call her anything but "Alvin", since as far as they're concerned Alvin is male. Period. The Tear Jerker element comes into play because she isn't around to defend herself anymore. TRY not to cry when Wanda's aunt proudly states 'Alvin' looks so nice with 'his' hair cut, and Barbie saying she was so proud of her hair...
Envy Admas from Scott Pilgrim really hates being called Nat or Natalie.
Garfield: Jon Arbuckle's brother hates being called "Doc Boy". Unfortunately, their Dad likes to call them and their mother "Jon Boy", "Mom Boy" and "Doc Boy".
Averted in U.S. Acres. Roy hates when Lanolin calls him "Bird" instead of calling him by name. In this strip, in response to Roy asking her to call him by name, she called him "Ray". He was upset.
Dr. Brainstorm: DOCTOR BRAINSTORM! WHY CAN'T YOU PEOPLE CALL ME THAT? Calvin: Well, where's the humor in that?
The possessed Ridiculously Human Robot Kiehl in Warriors of the World absolutely dislikes having people refer to him as Kiehl D-01. This is because he believes he's human enough to consider himself the son of his creator (the similarly-named Kiel Hyre) and so prefers to feel human. Unfortunately people tend to forget that, and Doppelganger doesn't help matters by maliciously misnaming the poor robot every time.
Fanfic Author Meowth Rocket a.k.a. Meowth's Toon Dragon has this subverted slightly. He's not that uneasy about people he knows and even stranger calling him by his real first name (at times)note His birth name is Joshua But he's very secretive on what his last name is, not as much out of privacy but more out of embarrassment. People have asked him if the name in his email address is his full name and he's flat-out refused to answer, only telling his closest friends his full name. An old Fanfiction.net profile supposedly has his full name, but he's refused to tell if that's genuine or if it's an alias.
Similar to the previous example, Fan Fic writer rcmero usually prefers to be known by his username, though he has provided his real name (well, the English version, anyway)note It's John, by the way. Don't confuse him withthat Jon.Or that Jon, for that matter. and usually is not upset about people using it (he himself has used it at the end of one of his videos). However, his actual real name has very rarely been released to the internet, and he absolutely refuses to use it. Not necessarily because he hates it, however, but because it would be hard for other people to say it due to him being foreign—can you pronounce a name with a tilde in it?
In the Hunger Games fanfic Some Semblance of Meaning, after being traumatized by Vale's death and his own subsequent "victory", Obsidian lashes out at his caretakers who call him by his given name, instead telling them to call him Sid.
In Resonance Days, witches are reborn with a new name and insist on being referred to by that name. Since they lose their memories upon becoming witches, the name is the alpha and omega of their identity, and being called by another name (even the name they held before their transformation) feels like a personal affront. This is of no small source of consternation for Kyouko, who finds Oktavia's refusal to answer to 'Sayaka' to be distressing.
Mirrors Image: Chrysalis gets angry when Princess Celestia calls her Starlight, her name when she was Celestia's pupil a thousand years ago, mainly because she believes Celestia abandoned her. It doesn't help that Celestia was Brainwashed and Crazy the last time she tried to contact her.
In Blythe's Little Problem does Blythe Baxter turn into a cat and then gets adopted by her crush Josh Sharp, who names her Dina. After a while she starts asking her friends from the Littlest Pet Shop to start calling her by that name.
In The Wrestler, Randy "The Ram" Robinson gets rather upset when the name badge he's given at his day job has his given name, Robin, and not his ring name, which he usually uses.
In Resident Evil: Extinction, a character is called "K-Mart" by the band of people who found her abandoned in a K-Mart because she does not like her given name.
Agent Smith of The Matrix coolly tells our hero "Goodbye, Mr. Anderson" as he holds our hero in a deadlock, in front of an arriving express train. As his ultimate gesture of rejecting his past as a slave, Thomas Anderson proudly shouts "My name is Neo!!" and proceeds to kick the evil programme's ass. Smith keeps calling him "Mr. Anderson" right up until the end. When he finally calls him "Neo", it's significant (and probably an intentional call back to the example from the first movie).
Indy hates being called "Junior" by his father. This is both because he hates the name and he doesn't want anyone to realize his birth name is actually Henry Jones, Jr. It's not until the end that his father uses his preferred nickname to show that he's really serious.
Henry Jones, Sr.: We named the dog "Indiana." Marcus Brody: May we go home, please? Sallah: Dog? You are named after the dog?! (laughs) Henry Jones, Jr.: I've got a lot of fond memories of that dog...
The comments about a dog are a play on the fact that George Lucas named Indiana Jones for his dog, an Alaskan malamute that was also the inspiration of Chewbacca due to his size and the fact that he would sit upright in the passenger seat like a copilot.
The Big Lebowski: "Look, let me explain something to you. I'm not Mr. Lebowski. You're Mr. Lebowski. I'm the Dude. So that's what you call me. That or His Dudeness... Duder... or El Duderino, if, you know, you're not into the whole brevity thing."
Life Magazine publisher Henry Luce: Now, I want them all to meet my people who will write their true stories, Naturally these stories will appear in Life magazine under their own bylines: For example, "by Betty Grissom", or "by Virgil I. Grissom", or... Gus Grissom: Gus! Henry Luce: What was that? Gus Grissom: Gus. Nobody calls me by... that other name. Henry Luce: Gus? An astronaut named "Gus"? What's your middle name? Gus Grissom: Ivan. Henry Luce: Ivan... ahem... well. Maybe Gus isn't so bad. Might be something there... All right, all right. You can be Gus.
In Mystery Men, Mr. Furious's name is Roy. He finally admits it to keep his new girlfriend from writing him off.
In the fake rockumentary Hard Core Logo, the singer is Joe Dick (not Joe Mulgrew), the lead guitarist is Billy Tallent (not Bill Boise), and the drummer is Pipefitter (who may have forgotten his original name). The other member is John Oxenberger, who could never find a good nickname. In the credits, it is revealed that with his new band, John is known as "The Ox".
Stripes: One of the soldiers introduces himself as nicknamed "Psycho". "If you call me Francis, I'll kill you." Sgt. Hulka responds by telling him to "Lighten up, Francis."
Voldemort counts too. Dumbledore (and later Harry too) continues calling him by his real name of Tom Riddle in the face after the name switch.
Ginevra "Ginny" Weasley's full first name isn't even revealed in the books until Auntie Muriel is heard using it in the last booknote At least in-story. J.K. Rowling had revealed Ginny's full name years prior, to counter rampant Fanon that "Ginny" was short for "Virginia" rather than "Ginevra," which is the Italian variant of Guenever and so goes nicely with "Arthur" and "Percival.".
In The Baby-Sitters Club, Stacey is not fond of being called Anastasia. Additionally, King, one of Logan's football teammates does NOT like it when people call him by his given name, Clarence.
In Bujold's Vorkosigan Saga, Clement Koudelka and Ludmilla Droushnakovi prefer to be called Kou and Drou.
Bujold's other series, Chalion, has Lupe "Caz" Cazaril. His love interest thinks that Lupe is a nice name, but he tells her that as a child, his old brothers drove him crazy by pretending to howl like wolves.
Singe in the Dragon Below trilogy flinches and corrects them every time someone mentions his family name.
Senna Wales in Everworld. Senna isn't her real name, though this isn't revealed to the reader until Inside the Illusion, the ninth book in the twelve-volume series. (Her real name is Senda, which means "Pathway.") During the "family reunion", Senna's mother calls her by her birth name, provoking Senna to politely correct her. Later in the conversation, she does it again, and Senna explodes in anger and screams at her mother not to call her that.
Agent Pendergast demands to be called by his last name only, or Special Agent, depending on the situation. His wife preferred her first.
Pendergast: I'd rather you didn't "sir" me, Jason. The name's Pendergast. And this is my wife, Helen. She prefers to be called by her first name, I by my last."
Kit Kittredge from the American Girl series prefers to be called as such rather than by her birth name Margaret Mildred, as she finds the latter "flouncy" for a tomboy like her.
She doesn't seem to mind her Aunt Millie addressing her by her real name, for some reason.
Leslie Thomas' detective Dangerous Davies in The Last Detective. His actual first name is never revealed.
Inverted in Dune. His name really is Paul, and he likes being called Paul, but all the Fremen call him Muad'Dib ... and Usul and Mahdi, while others call him Kwisatz Hadderach. The man has more names than stillsuits. As an act of reserving his identity as an Atreides as well as his acceptance into their culture, he requests to be called Paul-Muad'dib.
In Anne of Avonlea, one of Anne's students introduces himself on the first day of school as "Jacob." Only later does Anne learn that he's actually named St. Clair, and his mother is very insistent that Anne call him by that name. Anne and her student soon reach a compromise: she, as his teacher, is allowed to call him St. Clair - but if any of his classmates uses the name, he'll beat them up.
In the book of Lark Rise To Candleford, this is mentioned regarding the Pratt sisters, Pearl (nee Prudence) and Ruby (nee Ruth). In the TV series, a whole episode was devoted to the way Dorcas Lane found this out, and was therefore able to deliver some letters from their father, which she had previously put to one side as undeliverable.
In The Adventures of Peter Cottontail by Thornton W. Burgess, Peter Rabbit decides that his name is too lame, and tries to get everyone to call him "Peter Cottontail." He refuses to hear anyone using his old name. Eventually, he is taught a lesson, as various friends try to inform him that Reddy Fox is behind the bush up ahead.
Of course, in the sequels, when the name Ender is right up there with Adolf (except worse), he has learned to just go by Andrew rather than draw unwanted attention by insisting on using his old nickname.
In The Lost Colony, a demon warlord formerly known as N'Zall ('Little Horn' in demon language) now insists on being referred to as 'Leon Abbott', after a character in a human storybook he once read.
In Twilight, Bella doesn't like to be called Isabella.
In the Star Wars Expanded Universe novel Darth Plagueis we learn that Palpatine hated his father so much that he dropped his first name and was thereafter known only by his surname. He is strongly implied to have been born Cosinga Palpatine II. Unlike most examples of this trope, however, no one in the Star Wars universe seems to know him as anything other than simply "Palpatine" (or Darth Sidious).
In Venus Prime, Sparta hates it when Blake calls her Linda. In fairness, she's done a hell of a lot of work establishing her identity as "Ellen Troy".
A inversion in Dragon In Distress: Princess Florinara Tansimasa Qasilava Delagordune insists that at all times she be called by her full name. Good luck with that.
In Terry Pratchett's Dodger, the title character admits his real name ( Pip Stick) to a very few people, who respect the fact he hates it and continue to call him Dodger. At the end of the book he gets knighted as Sir Jack Dodger, and the name Pip Stick is forever banished.
The title character of The Turbulent Term of Tyke Tyler frequently refers to "my real name, the one I hated" which is only used by one mildly Sadist Teacher, and isn't revealed in the text until the very end. It's Theodora, which is also the first time in the book we learn Tyke is a girl.
Despite it being his parents' nickname for him, Fudge of Judy Blume's book series does NOT want to be called by his birth name Farley.
Samson En Gert: Albert wants to be addressed as Alberto, which sounds more Italian, but Gert always calls him Albert, which is a Berserk Button for him.
In Smallville, like in the comics, Clark does not like being called Kal-El.
The second season of WMAC Masters introduced Tracy Swedom who always insisted on being called by his key symbol Tracer. Since he was a Jerk Ass, everyone called him Tracy; of course, his name was a Significant Anagram (Destroy WMAC).
Recurring villain Ari Haswari from NCIS responds to "Haswari" (his Arab name), but not "Ari" (his Jewish name).
In Heroes, Sylar insists on being called by his new nickname, as opposed to his birth name Gabriel, which is part of his discarded, "normal" identity.
In The X-Files, Agent Mulder prefers not to be addressed by his given name of Fox, claiming that even his parents call him Mulder, which they don't.
In Happy Days, only Mrs. Cunningham can call the Fonz "Arthur."
Subverted in an episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation when the crew travels back in time and meets Mark Twain, who insists on being called by his real name of Samuel Clemens.
Walt Junior on Breaking Bad went through a period where he only respond to "Flynn". He gave up on this around the same time that Skyler (his mother) kicked Walt, Sr. out for that whole breaking bad thing. Once he started idealizing his father and resenting his mother, he went back to Walt Jr. In season five, he gets fed up with the way both parents refuse to tell him what's going on and switches back to Flynn.
Andy from The Office tries this for about five minutes after returning from anger management with the new name "Drew" as part of a reinvention, but Jim continues to call him Andy to irritate him and he eventually gives up on it.
Rodney McKay of Stargate Atlantis tried to hide the fact that his first name is actually Meredith...it only got out because of his sister, who persistently calls him by it.
There's one episode where he meets an alternate version of himself known as Rod. McKay complains that he was never able to get anyone to call him Rod.
In Stargate SG-1, despite being of the same species as the Goa'uld, their stark philosophical differences and preference for having a symbiotic relationship with their hosts, means that the Tok'ra do not take kindly to being referred to by the name of their megalomaniacal brethren.
Adam Klaus in Jonathan Creek. The only person who ever uses the name Chester is his sister Kitty, and he really wishes she wouldn't. (Surprisingly, though, no-one else picks up on it to annoy him. Nor do they ask why Kitty's Scottish when he's supposed to be American.)
Because Adam explains in that episode that she's his half sister, they have the same father, Adam's Mother was American, Kitty's was Scottish, Adam was raised in America.
Bubbles, from Trailer Park Boys, insists that Ricky doesn't refer to his friend, 'Shitty Bill,' by that name, as he finds that nickname offensive. When the next scene cuts in, Bubbles addresses him with a pleasant, 'Can I do the gears, Shitty?'
Adam (born Gracie) Torres from Degrassi is a typical example of a transgender person changing their birth name.
In a couple of the Big Finish audio stories, she even swears off "Ace" for a while, insisting that the Doctor call her "Mc Shane" or Dorothy. However, since both of those instances are times where she's quite pissed off at the Doctor, she goes back to Ace once she gets over it.
The Doctor has spent over 1200 years only going by his nickname, with only River (and Clara in an negated timeline) thus-far discovering his true name, which has not been revealed to the audience. Why he gave up his name and chose the name "The Doctor" has only been hinted as being because of some terrible secret. Also, "the Doctor" is more than just a name. It's a promise ("never cruel or cowardly; never give up, never give in").
On The Sarah Jane Adventures, Sarah Jane Smith is very clear that she prefers to go by "Sarah Jane". The Doctor gets away with calling her "Sarah," though.
Benjamin "Coach" Wade on Survivor. "If anyone calls me Benjamin to my face, I'm gonna go nuts."
One season of Hell's Kitchen had a contestant named Robert; when Chef Ramsay called him "Bobby" once, he got surprisingly angry. As he later explained in the Confession Cam (and to Ramsay after the service), Bobby was the name of his father, a cruel man who told Robert that he would never amount to anything, making it obvious why the name offended him. After hearing the explanation, Ramsay apologized and promised not to use that name anymore.
Angela is like this. She renamed herself because she hated her birth name. We can guess how bad it was by how her dad tried to name Angela's son Staccato Mamba. (The Staccato part did make a middle name, though.)
In the episode "Mayhem On A Cross", members of various metal groups refuse to give either their birth name or another members birth name.
Around the Las Vegas Crime Lab, no one calls Supervisor Russell Dienbenkorn, as he tells new old colleague Finn. It's D.B. Russell.
Finn herself is actually Julie — D.B. is the one person who still calls her Julie, and her writing "Diebenkorn" on the envelope she left him was her way of getting back at him for it. She also objects to "Jules".
On Magnum, P.I., Rick's best friends know his real name is Orville, but he threatens them if they say it around anyone else.
In My Mad Fat Diary, Rae prefers this nickname rather than her full birth name, Rachel.
In Walker, Texas Ranger, Francis Gage is usually referred to by his last name, with only his sister calling him by his first name. Although this is typical of male characters usually being called by their last names: Walker, Trivette, etc.
Bishop Brennan from Father Ted hates it when anyone calls him by his first name, Len. Dougal, suprisingly enough, consistently does exactly that.
There's always the "Boy Named Sue," immortalized in song by Johnny Cash (and others). He still hates that name...
Cash himself is an example. His parents named him simply J.R. Cash. When the Air Force insisted that he couldn't just use initials, he picked John as a first name.
Paul Daniel Frehley, better known as the former guitarist for KISS Ace Frehley. He'd been known as Ace since before KISS but they decided to go with Ace because they didn't want two Pauls, so now even today everyone calls him Ace, in interviews.
Alice Cooper. There is an article about him where the interviewer called him Vincent, and Cooper replied "My mother calls me Vincent." Sorry Alice.
Justified Trope. He legally changed his name to Alice Cooper in 1975. This was most likely done to ensure he could still use "Alice Cooper" for his solo project, despite it originally being the name of the band, which had just broken up at that time.
Ozzy Osbourne has said that if someone calls him John (his real name) he'll ignore them. His first wife, Thelma, still refers to him by that name.
Bob Marley's birth name was Nesta Robert Marley. He was known as Robert or Bob at school. When his mother was helping him emigrate to the US, the immigration officers put his name down as Robert Nesta Marley, thus it became his business name. His mother and family friends always called him Nesta, and it also caught on amongst fans even though he's never been publicly known as it.
Peter Tosh never had anyone call him Winston (his real name) nor did he like his full surname Mc Intosh, because he felt they were relics of British colonialism. He chose the name Peter after St Peter from the Bible.
Bunny Wailer never uses his real name of Neville, always calling himself Bunny Livingston or Bunny Wailer.
Guitarist Buckethead didn't even allow Ozzy, the Prince of Fucking Darkness himself, to call him Brian, retorting that only his mother calls him Brian.
Many members of Rammstein. Paul Landers' birth name is Heiko Paul Hiersche; he first decided to go by his middle name and then took his (now divorced) wife's surname, making an interesting case where you should call him Paul. Flake Lorenz doesn't like his given name, Christian, and has declared that Flake is his proper name. Christoph Schneider usually goes by either "Doom" or his last name. And Oliver Riedel just goes by Ollie.
Prince changed his (legal) name to a symbol as part of a contract dispute with Warner Bros. When people settled on calling him "the artist formerly known as Prince," he decided he didn't like that, and changed it again to "The Artist." When the dust finally cleared, he went back to "Prince," which is his actual first name by birth.
Bob Dylan sometimes gets annoyed when you call him Robert or Bob Zimmerman. It depends on his mood and how much he likes you. He once wrote a song with an entire stanza of variations on, "You may call me Bobby, you may call me Zimmy..." Apparently Barack Obama is on the shortlist for people who can call him "Zimmy" to his face.
In his memoir he admitted that when he first changed his name to Bob Dylan it took a while to get used to being called Bob. He'd spent his whole youth answering to "Bobby".
Yusuf Islam, far better known as (but no longer answering to) "Cat Stevens". Before that, born Steven Georgiou.
Lights. You can use her last name and call her 'Lights Poxleitner', but whatever you do, you should NOT call her Valerie.
Rock singer Meat Loaf strongly dislikes his birth name, "Marvin". He had his first name legally changed to "Michael" to avoid having to use it at all, has the songs he's written credited to "Meat Loaf Aday", and generally prefers just to be addressed as "Meat".
A good way to prematurely end any interview with electronic music pioneer Wendy Carlos is to refer to her as Walter.
Don't call Tori Amos "Myra Ellen" if you want to be her friend. She makes an exception for her family, who calls her Ellen.
Five Iron Frenzy and Brave Saint Saturn's lead singer, Reese Roper's actual name is Michael Reese Roper. But as the lyrics of one of his songs, All the Hype, says: "My name is Reese, don't call me Mike".
"Commander B. Hawkins", the keyboardist and songwriter for The Protomen, claims in interviews that even his mother calls him "Commander" these days. Given that the Protomen as a whole are prone to extreme flights of fancy, this may or may not actually be true.
Trance DJ-producer Dirk Dierickx, known by the artist names Push, M.I.K.E., or DJ Mike, changed his legal name to Mike Dierickx in 2000.
Stinghates it when you call him Gordon, to the point of simply pretending he was never named Gordon Sumner in the first place.
Former Pink Floyd frontman Syd Barrett, later in life, would refuse to answer to "Syd," his nickname, instead preferring his birth name, "Roger."
Emilie Autumn insists her her legal name is "Emilie Autumn Liddel", despite fans buying merchandise and receiving them from "Emily Fritzges". On her website, the words "Emily" and "Fritzges" are filtered out and discussion of this name is grounds for a banning.
Paul McCartney's first name is James, but he'd rather be called by his middle one - possibly because his father is also called James (and Paul gave a son this name as well).
Bono from U2. Incidentally, his birth name is Paul (David Hewson). The Other Wiki states, however, that everyone - even his wife and the other band members - calls him "Bono." Also ironic is that he hated the nickname at first (It's short for "Bono Vox", Latin for "Good Voice"). The Edge, from the same band, was originally named David Howell Evens, but says that now even his close family call him Edge.
Don't call Rogue of The Crüxshadows Virgil or Roger.
His ex-wife Dita Von Teese has confirmed that no one other than his mother calls Marilyn Manson "Brian". His friends and bandmates are split as to whether they refer to him as Marilyn or Manson.
Apparently very few people including her parents normally called Miley Cyrus "Destiny Hope Cyrus" since her childhood, with the occasional exception of her grandmother. Billy Ray and his wife took to calling her "Smiley" or "Smiley Miley" (referring to how often she laughed and smiled as a child), eventually shortening it to "Miley". Her name was legally changed to "Miley Ray Cyrus" in 2007 (although her co-writing credits on Meet Miley Cyrus are credited to "Destiny Hope Cyrus" in the CD jacket).
Fergie is not to be called "Stacey". To seal the deal, she changed her legal name to Fergie Duhamel in August 2013.
It is interesting to note that wrestling name conventions stick for a long time. For example, The Undertaker is ALWAYS Undertaker or 'Taker. Unless, of course, you're Ric Flair, who met him during his 'Mean' Mark Callous days. Flair still calls him Mark. It extends on most of the time, though there are exceptions. Lance Storm, for example, refers to Shane Helms as The Hurricane, even though he met him during the Shane Helms days.
Pro wrestling locker room etiquette demands that new wrestlers must introduce themselves to the older wrestlers, and then call them whatever the older wrestler introduces himself as.
Averted in a non-Deadman angle with Undertaker in 2002 involving his wife and a woman who claimed to have had an affair with him (and later confessed to being paid off by nemesis Paul Heyman to tell that lie); both women referred to him as "Mark" throughout the storyline.
Averted when Vince had a set collapse on him in the summer of 2008. Despite being an obvious storyline, as he was being helped from the rubble you clearly hear him say "Paul....Paul....I can't feel my legs!" referring to HHH.
As Sabu and Rob Van Dam can attest, The Sheik would never break-character, going so far as refusing to answer the phone if someone called an asked to speak to "Ed" (his given name).
Layla El and Kelly Kelly poked fun at this in an interview as Layla referred to Kelly as "Barbie" (her real name, believe it or not) and Kelly jokingly corrected her.
Edge once mentioned in an interview that the reason he didn't like to be called his real name by fans is that the fans only know Edge, the wrestling character. They aren't familiar with Adam Copeland, the person who portrays said character. He has since changed his attitude after retiring from wrestling, preferring his real name when it comes to things not directly involving wrestling, such as his acting career.
CM Punk has said in an interview of his own that, since he's been called "Punk" from his early teens, "Phil Brooks" is not a desired name while in the wrestling business.
Nonetheless, he name dropped "Phil Brooks" in a promo during 2011 with Triple H (who got name dropped as well).
Notable that part-Trope NamerThe Big Show actually did wrestle under his real name for a while when he made his WWF debut in 1999, before phasing it out.
Triple H did as well, sort of. In WCW he was Jean-Paul Levesque.
Inverted: As he left the WWE full-time in lieu of his movie career, Dwayne Johnson began to distance himself from the moniker of "The Rock" to form his movie identity, at the advice of his then-manager, which left a lot of fans feeling miffed at the gesture. It is probably not coincidental that, with superstar movie career firmly established, Johnson fired that manager and hired his ex-wife in his place around the same time he returned into the WWE fold; since his 2011 special appearance run, he has not been averse to being called The Rock outside of the ring, unlike before. However, arch-rivals John Cena and CM Punk still refer to him as "Dwayne" consistently in a mocking fashion.
And again: in a TV interview not long after leaving WWE Rena Mero said, "I am not Sable. Sable is a character I played. My name is Rena Mero."
The Ultimate Warrior actually legally changed his name to "Warrior" (a step up, to be sure, from "James Hellwig"). But this was by many accounts for trademark-related reasons and not personal ones.
Rick Rude's real name was Richard Rood, so that wasn't much of a stretch.
Used during a storyline where Eric Bischoff was being put on trial to see if he could remain RAW GM. "The Masterpiece" Chris Masters was called in to testify on behalf of Bischoff, but Vince was able to discredit his testimony by proving he committed perjury, as his name isn't really Chris Masters, but Chris Mordetzky. This was quickly forgotten and his real last name was never mentioned on TV again.
In most of his professional life, Chris Jericho goes by his nickname. However, for one night on Dancing with the Stars, he subverted this by being announced by his real name Chris Irvine, as he was honoring his late mother by dancing to her favorite song. Aww.
Jericho once made an appearance on Nickelodeon going by "Chris Irvine" as well.
Andrew Martin, best known as Test, actually had his middle name changed legally to Test so he could continue to use the Test gimmick (which was owned by WWE). However, Stacy Keibler, among others, would at times on WWE TV address him as "Andrew."
William Regal is an interesting case; he finds it rude to be addressed as "Regal" due to English customs; he's typically addressed backstage as Darren (his real name) or "Steve" (his longtime former ring name).
"Delirious is not a character, Delirious is who I am!"
Religion and Mythology
No, do call him Paul, don't call Saul.
Acts 13:9 should make it clear that Paul is his a.k.a.; no passage states that he or God changed his name. The only thing is that "Saul" doesn't appear past that point.
"Saul" is his name in Hebrew and "Paul" is his name in Greek. It's just a different translation. (Similar to "Michael" "Miguel" "Mikhail" etc. all being the same.) As his focus shifted from Jews to Gentiles, his name shifted with the language he used to communicate.
Also, many Jews and some Christian denominations believe God does not like to be called 'God', preferring 'The Lord.' And many more Jews will get quite annoyed if you try to guess his real name and call him "Yahweh" or "Jehovah".
Ironically, this is the exact opposite of Jehovah's Witnesses, who believe God DOES like to be called by name, whether that be "Yahweh" or "Jehovah", and are slightly annoyed by the overabundant use of 'The Lord' and such.
In Curtains, after the star is killed the remaining actors do not want to stay with the tour, and they send their Equity Representative forward to argue their case to the producer. The producer responds with "Shut up, Elaine". "The name is Bambi... Mother".
In Devil May Cry, Lady's name is actually Mary, but she says that she "doesn't have a name" because she hates her father. She tells Dante to call her whatever he wants. His response? "Whatever, lady!" And she stuck with it.
Judge Gabranth from Final Fantasy XII feels he no longer has any right to be called by his birth name, Noah.
Lakilester wants to be called Spike, but guess how often that happens.
In Bomberman 64: The Second Attack, Regulus refers to himself as Bulzeeb, seeing himself as a completely different warrior due to his dramatic increase in power since the last game. He goes back to being called Regulus by the end.
Princess Sarisa in Final Fantasy V would much rather be called Faris, as she is far more comfortable as a pirate than she is as a princess.
The World Ends with You: Beat hates being called Daisukenojo Bito. Several of the Reapers do it anyway, much to his chagrin.
Tetra inverts this trope. She does NOT like to be called Princess Zelda.
Knights of the Old Republic: Your Character does this with certain dialogue options, rejecting your former identity of Darth Revan. Justified, since you only remember a few flashes of your previous life.
In the sequels, it's implied that Revan doesn't reject their name, so much as being called Darth Revan.
Leto from Dragon Age II used to be a slave in the Tevinter empire, earning the nickname "little wolf" (Fenris) from his master. He eventually managed to escape and made it to Kirkwall, going by his nickname; when his long-lost sister shows up for a warm, loving reunion in which she sells him out to Denarius and he may or may not kill her for it, he is not happy about being called his original name.
Thrall/Go'el of World of Warcraft has a comlicated relationship with this trope. He grew up as a slave under the name Thrall (literally "slave"), and even after gaining his freedom decided not to change it, so as to remember where he came from. He later learned his birth name was Go'el, but continued to use the name Thrall while his Love Interest Aggra calls him by his birth name. Thrall's eventual decision to set aside his office of Warchief, and then his slave name, reflect his Character Development in letting go of his bitterness towards the humans' Alliance that enslaved him to embrace his potential as a shaman who protects the entire world, not just the Horde.
Anghel Higure is worried that uttering the forbidden name of Yoshio Akagi will unleash horrible evils into the world of Hatoful Boyfriend, and panics every time the heroine tries (she thinks it's a nice name). Anghel is kind of insane.
In Serendipity Next Door, the protagonist's upstairs neighbor Keiichi insists on being called "Byron," after the poet. The other residents of the building mostly seem to ignore this preference.
By the time of Grisaia No Rakuen the minor supporting character of Robert Wallson from Meikyuu is officially dead and in hiding as Jimmy Okada, a foreigner who married a local restaurant owner's daughter. She's actually a CIA agent and no more Japanese than he is. He won't respond to Robbie when Yumiko tries calling him that at first.
Church might technically be named Epsilon, but he much prefers to simply be called Church, as it's what he thinks of himself as. He gets rather upset when he finds out the Reds and Blues have been calling Wash "Church" while Church was trapped in the memory unit.
Agent Washington is like this as well; take the following exchange as an example:
Director: I realize it has been awhile since we last spoke, David. May I call you David? Agent Washington: No. You cannot. You gave me my new name. The least you could do is use it.
Sprite artist Akuma The Hedgehog at The Middle Ground comics recently revealed his age, name and picture for charity after ten years of complete anonymity. He still insists that you call him by his online name, however.
In The Specialists, inverted by Baron Crossbones. Who submits to that ridiculous code name only in propaganda — his secretary must call him by his real title.
Neil: Fill out a real incident report, Kurt. Kurt: You keep calling me Kurt. I don't like you.
Shadow of the Templar's Jeremy Archer gets annoyed with Simon when the FBI agent jokingly calls him Jeremiah. Turns out Jeremy's birth name was Jeremiah Harbottle, a name he gave up when he gave up his life on the streets and became a high level thief.
AJCO's Eglatine Wynne is far more commonly known by her nickname of Egg. It's partially because she hates her first nameso much she hasn't even told anyone what it is, and partially because she no longer identifies with the girl who was called Eglatine, only the girl who became Egg during her time in the mob.
Let's Player Roahm Mythril generally uses that instead of his real name. The reason being that he was named after a relative who committed suicide for an outlandishly stupid reason.
Midget Apple from The Annoying Orange insists his name is "little apple", but he's almost never called that.
Played with and played straight with Stone of the Global Guardians prefers to be called "Stone", to the point that he rarely tells people his first name and refuses to give it to people when asked. After he responded to the question with "Just Stone" one too many times, his teammates began telling other people his first name was "Just". While this annoyed him at first, eventually he started intentionally telling people that "Just" was his first name. His actual first name is "Wendell".
Done by The Nostalgia Chick to punish Maven for annoying her when she's (the Chick) still not awake yet. Maven stops her in the hallway, calling her Lindsay and asking her to hold a toy duck. The Chick throws the duck at her and storms off, saying she hates being called Chick. Maven is understandably confused.
In the Whateley Universe, Aqueous gets mad when Phase (in an attempt to be friendly) calls him by his real first name. Aqueous explains: he's a mutant who no longer looks human and he was named for his uncle... who hates mutants.
Judge Dead from Noob seems to hate his real name, Théodore, prefering his Online Alias to it. A scene from the novels has his boss heavily imply that he considers doing this ridiculous when they are face-to-face in real life. The webseries had him insist on his real name not being used online while something much more urgent than the proper way to adress him was going on and showed his father, Tenshirock, using it in late Season 5 episodes.
Code Lyoko: The Alpha Bitch of the show hates her first name, Élisabeth, and prefers to be called by her nickname, Sissi.
On an episode of Codename: Kids Next Door, Numbuh One is transported to a future where he has a son named Shirly who wants to be known as Vego. Nigel tells him to stick with Shirly.
Animaniacs: Recurring Character Charlton Woodchuck. If you call him Baynarts, he'll put your name on his list and make a point to not like you when he's famous.
Dot likes this. Because whatever you do, don't call her "Dottie". If you do, she doesn't hesitate to say (and do) something mean to you, hence the line, "Princess Angelina Contessa Louisa Francesca Bana Fana Bo Besca the Third. But you can call me Dot. Call me Dottie and you die.".
Matrix from ReBoot is the grown-up form of Enzo Matrix. Just don't call him "Enzo", anymore...
This comes in handy later on when Mainframe is rebooted, complete with a copy of young Enzo.
Tails in Adventures of Sonic the Hedgehog expresses his dislike for his real name, Miles. Sonic sometimes takes advantage of this by blackmailing him out of a dangerous situation.
In Total Drama Action, Izzy does this several times, going from Kaleidoscope to E-Scope to Explosivo. In this case, it indicates that she's kind of insane and possibly possesses multiple personalities.
There was a whole episode devoted to Spinelli's deep hatred of her first name, Ashley, in Recess.
Although that episode was about how any girl with the first name Ashley has no choice but to join the clique of Alpha Bitches the Ashleys. Spinelli kept her first name hidden because she didn't want to be associated with them.
Played with in Batman Beyond when Bruce Wayne started Hearing Voices as a result of Shriek. He later tells Terry that the reason he knew he wasn't going crazy was because the voice kept calling him "Bruce", which is not what he calls himself in his head.
Pretty much anyone online that is involved in the more... inappropriate parts of the Internet (or even sufficiently paranoid enough) would much prefer to keep their real name a secret and go by "anonymous", a tripcode, or their screen name. Amongst hacker circles, "dropping dox"note Revealing a person's personal information is considered one of the worst things you can do to someone, and even revealing their real name is known as "The Powerword" and jokingly considered one of the most powerful spells in an internet wizard's arsenal.
Malcolm X was born Malcolm Little, a name he never took to. He changed his name to Detroit Red as a teenager, and finally to "Malcolm X" upon joining the Nation of Islam. Even after breaking ties with the church, he never looked back at his old name. (He changed it again to Malcolm Shabazz or Malik el-Shabazz, but "X" stuck in the minds of the public.)
X: My father didn’t know his last name, my father got his name from his grandfather and he got it from his grandfather, who got it from the slave master. The real names of our ancestors were destroyed. Interviewer: So you wont even tell me your father’s last name was—? X: I never acknowledge it whatsoever.
Likewise, when Cassius Clay converted to Islam and took the Muslim name Muhammad Ali, Ernie Terrell and Floyd Patterson continued to call him Cassius Clay to annoy him. In the ring, Ali taunted Terrell by shouting "What's my name?" en route to victory.
Toshiie Maeda, retainer of Oda Nobunaga, had the birth name "Inuchiyo"; his colleagues often teased him by calling him "Inu" (i.e., "Dog") even after he came of age.
Jon Stewart, known for The Daily Show, was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz; he dropped his surname because of issues with his father. He has said that there are still people who "take great pleasure in calling me by my given name".
Stan Lee. He doesn't get mad if you call him Stanley Lieber, he just does his best to impress upon you that it's not his name anymore.
The same goes for Betty Jean Ward, who prefers to go by her initials professionally.
Met fans like to heckle Atlanta Braves player Chipper Jones with his real name, Larry.
Comic Book writer Christopher Priest doesn't talk about why he changed his birth name of James Owsley. But we can. When he got divorced, the terms of the settlement were that his now-ex-wife was entitled to and would receive half the income "Jim Owsley" made. So Jim Owsley stopped working in comics, and Christopher Priest began.
Yahtzee of Zero Punctuation fame doesn't like being called Ben by his fans because they come across as overly familiar despite being strangers. Matt, a friend of his, said in a podcast that only his parents call him Ben anymore.
Clive Staples Lewis, as a child, told his parents one day that he would only answer to 'Jack' - and stuck with that. He is now famous as C. S. Lewis, with most people having no idea what the 'CS' stands for.
Inverted by Vic Reeves, who goes from being Vic on set to Jim (Moir) off it and prefers people to call him that in Real Life (in reality, he's well enough known as Vic that many interviewers can't do it). Indeed, as Jim's father was also called Jim, he says that his family call him (his middle name) Rod, his friends call him Jim and his fans call him Vic. When he appeared with his wife on the UK version of I'm a Celebrity! Get Me Out of Here!, it was a bit odd for fans to hear her referring to him as Jim when the voting lines and show presenters all called him Vic. You can also very occasionally hear Bob Mortimer accidentally call him Jim when they're performing, although he will immediately corrects himself.
Allegedly Elvis Costello is also like this, preferring to be called his birth name (Declan McManus) by family or in a non-performance context.
Bob Hope was born Leslie Townes Hope. There are several different stories as to why he changed it, but one can imagine that being called "Hopelessly" and "Hopeless" as a child had something to do with it.
Glen Beaudin Kolbach, who played Malcolm Frink in Superhuman Samurai Syber-Squad, prefers to be called G, and has even his first name written as G in his passport, as he says that being called Glen feels like his father is in his room or someone is trying to collect a bill.
Papal names themselves began with another example of this trope — a sixth-century priest named Mercurius was elected Pope, and decided that a name honoring a pagan god was not appropriate for the leader of the Christian church. He reigned under the name "John II".
Neurobiologist and scienceblogger PZ Myers is almost a literal invocation of this trope — PZ is short for Paul Zachary, but the only time anyone ever seems to call him "Paul" is when someone's slagging him on a creationist or evangelical site.
Legendary college basketball coach Bobby Knight hated it when Indiana University students called him "Bobby". He insisted on being called "Coach" or "Coach Knight". His stature and respect throughout the sport pretty much made this trope stick to everyone addressing him; even during his ESPN announcing tenure, his co-broadcasters would also refer to him exclusively as "Coach".
Marilyn Manson is, in case you couldn't tell, not his real name. Yet, even his Crazy Awesome dad, who Manson has described as "more of a rock star than myself" calls him Manson. For those who are wondering, he was born Brian Hugh Warner, his middle name coming from his father's first name. Originally all of the members of the band took stage names that were combinations of (female) sex symbols and serial killers as a commentary on the two things they felt America obsessed over the most, but none of the others is so well known as Marilyn due to him changing the band's name from "Marilyn Manson and The Spooky Kids" to just "Marilyn Manson", so most people never caught on.
Inverted by Paul Muni, whose birth name was Meshilem Meier Weisenfreund. His friends and close associates called him "Muni," an Austrian diminutive of Meshilem, which he had been called since birth. Strangers called him Mr. Muni. Only those who were trying to act like they were close (such as meddling executives) called him Paul.
Zigzagged with John Wayne. People either called him Duke or Marion (his birth name). If you called him "John", it took him a minute to figure out who the hell you were talking to.
WABC-TV reporter N.J. Burkett has the full name Newton Jones Burkett, but prefers to be addressed by his nickname.
Nobody — except their immediate birth family and their co-star Margaret Dumont — ever called Ahdie, Leo or Julie Marx by their birth names.
Inverted with many married or middle-aged adults, who may often prefer to be called by their first names instead of Mr. or Mrs. (or Ms.) Something-Or-Other by everyone but their own children, especially by younger people; their reasoning is that they still want to think of themselves as young, and terms like "Mr." imply adulthood. Example: David Silverman, lead animator for The Simpsons, was once greeted as "Mr. Silverman" by a young boy at a film festival - and his response was "Please, call me Dave. Mr. Silverman is my father."
Could also be an emerging generational preference, with referring to one another as Mr. or Mrs. Siht in social settings, particularly in cases when the speakers already know one another as opposed to being introduced or meeting for the first time, being seen as stodgy and old-fashioned.
Teller was born under the name Raymond Joseph Teller, but has had it legally changed and now answers only to Teller. Of course, it isn't easy to get a man who never speaks note well, on stage, anyway to "answer" to anything!
Over the years some people have gone by their middle names instead of the first names, dropping their first names entirely when being referred to, such as Stephen Grover Cleveland, Clinton Richard Dawkins, Thomas Woodrow Wilson, and Willard Mitt Romney. No word on whether any of these examples get mad if referred to by their first or full names, but they still seem to prefer their middle ones.
Then there is Hiram Ulysses Grant, who became Ulysses S. Grant due to an error made during his entry to West Point.
Inverted by Laurence Olivier. Even with his royal titles and knighthood, he apparently refused to carry on a conversation with anyone who wouldn't simply call him "Larry".
Lynn "Buck" Compton of Band of Brothers fame. As a child, he gave himself the nickname that would follow him through his military and legal careers, and while a kid beat up any of the other kids that called him Lynn.
Peanuts creator Charles M. Schulz obviously used his given name professionally, but among friends and relatives he preferred to be called Sparky, the nickname he was first given by an uncle two days after he was born.
YoutubeBishōnen Jason Sansome only ever goes by either his first name, or VeeOneEye, the name of his channel. In the same vein, PJ Liguori (aka Kickthepj) hasn't told anyone what those initials stand for.
Jason has since had his surname changed to Viohni, in keeping with his channel name.
The children of sixties and seventies rock stars who were given, er, unique names tend either to accept them philosophically (Moon Unit Zappa, daughter of Frank, just grins and bears it.) Or else they change them at the very first opportunity. Call Duncan Jones "Zowie Bowie" and he might punch you. Similarly, Dandelion Pallenburg-Richards, daughter of Rolling Stone Keith and actress Anita, now expressly wishes to be called Angela. (despite having had a Rolling Stones song written for her). More offspring of the famous with silly names here.
Whenever Andy Griffith visited his friend and Andy Griffith Show costar Don Knotts in his last days, he'd try to reach him by using his birth name Jesse, knowing how he'd disliked it.