Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Top 10 Commonly Mispronounced Celebrity Names

10. Dr. Seuss – Theodore Seuss Geisel, the author of dozens of children's books including Green Eggs and Ham and The Cat in the Hat, pronounced his middle name (his mother's maiden name) and pseudonym to rhyme with "voice", as in “Dok-tor Soy-ss”.

9. Zooey Deschanel – American actress, musician, and singer, you’ve probably seen her in Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, Bridge to Terabithia, Showtime’s Weeds, or the Sci-Fi Channel’s Tin Man. Although you can certainly be forgiven for thinking otherwise, her name is pronounced “Zoh-E” (not “Zoo-E”).

8. Berkeley Breathed – Creator of the long running comic strip Bloom County, B.B won a Pulitzer Prize for Editorial Cartooning in 1987. Although Bloom County officially ended in 1989, the characters of Opus the Penguin and Bill the Cat have continued to live on in his other works. “Burk-lee Breh-thed” is his name, but his friends just call him “Burk”.

7. Randy Bachman – Lead guitarist for the classic rock bands The Guess Who and Bachman-Turner Overdrive, he finally gave up trying to correct the thousands of American DJ’s mispronouncing his name when BTO’s Let It Ride and Takin' Care of Business were rocking the charts. Randy and brother Robbie’s last name is pronounced “Back-man” and not “Bock-man”. Seriously.

6. Maggie/Jake Gyllenhaal – Brother Jake was in the movie Brokeback Mountain playing pitcher/catcher with this guy Heath who would later play a grease-painted psychopath in a movie destined to become one of the highest grossing films of all time, during which he blows up Jake’s sister Maggie. Got all that? The last name of these Hollywood actor siblings is Swedish for “golden hall” and is properly pronounced “Jill-En-Hall” (not "Gill-En-Hall").

5. Neil Peart – Drummer and lyricist for Rush since 1974 (joining the band immediately after their self-titled debut album), Neil has been an inspiration for aspiring drummers for more than three decades. Readers of Modern Drummer magazine voted him “Best Rock Drummer” for seven straight years (1980-1986). Neil’s last name is pronounced "Peer-t" (not "Pair-t" or "Per-t").

4. Shia LaBeouf – He’s the kid from the Transformers movie and the son of Indy and Marion in Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull. He’s currently hard at work on Transformers II, and his name is pronounced “Shy-uh Luh-Buff”.

3. Björk – Björk Guðmundsdóttir was the lead singer of The Sugarcubes in the late 1980’s before going solo in the early 1990’s. Her most successful singles include Human Behaviour, Army of Me, and Violently Happy. Björk is actually a common name in her native Iceland where it is pronounced “B-yirk” (not “b-york”).

2. Matt Groening – Creator of both The Simpsons and Futurama, Matt “Gray-ning” (not “groaning” or “grow-ning”) continues to helm both franchises. The Simpsons will be celebrating their 20th season this year – the longest running American sitcom and the longest running American animated series. Futurama’s third direct-to-DVD movie is set to be released in November.

1. Ralph Fiennes – The award-winning actor from movies such as Schindler’s List, The English Patient, Red Dragon, and the Harry Potter films (as none other than Lord Voldemort, beginning with Goblet of Fire), poor Ray has probably been called “R-owl-f Fin-ess” more times than he can count. If you want to get that autograph, though, you’d better call him “Ray-f Fines” (to rhyme with "Waif Wines").

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