This is such an unusual and touching name-change story that I had to share it. You may recognize this actor, Dylan McDermott, but you may not be aware of the circumstances that caused him to change his name.
He was given the name Mark Anthony McDermott when he was born. By all he accounts he had what could only be described as a difficult childhood. His parents divorced while he was a toddler and his mother was killed when he was only 5, causing him to be raised by his maternal grandmother. A little luck finally came his way, however, when his father married Eve Ensler, a then unknown playwright (who eventually came to author The Vagina Monologues). Eve took to McDermott and immediately began encouraging him to become an actor. Yahoo Movies describes how even though Ensler was only 9 years older than McDermott herself, she legally adopted him when he was in his late teens and became his “personal cheerleader, life-coach, and mentor.” She also gave him roles in her plays.
Ensler became pregnant and named her unborn child Dylan, but the pregnancy ended in miscarriage. These are the circumstances under which McDermott changed his name from Mark to Dylan, possibly as a sign of endearment to his step-mom. Even though she eventually divorced McDermott’s dad, she and Dylan remained close.
I loved the movie Steel Magnolias where McDermott played the husband of one of the lead characters. He has since expanded his acting repertoire to include In the Line of Fire, Home for the Holidays, and the successful TV series, The Practice for which he won a Golden Globe Award for Best Actor. I think this actor has lived up to a name to which both he and his step-mother can be proud.