What’s In A Name? Ask Louis FerreiraNovember 2, 2009
If you’re Canadian, you know this face. This is Justin Louis, a Canadian actor who has starred in all kinds of things we remember. He was Victor Torres (aka Victor Malarek, nudge nudge wink wink) in the 1991 TV series Urban Angel. He was Pollock on 1-800-Missing, which we tend to apologize for a lot. All in all, he has appeared on more television shows than you’ve probably ever seen. It’s quite a career, and it’s a good one; he’s a decent actor, and has a reputation as being a real professional.
He’s currently headlining the new series Stargate Universe. But you won’t find his name in the credits. Instead, you will see, after lead Robert Carlyle, the name Louis Ferreira. Who’s that? It’s Justin Louis. He’s using his real name.
Why now? Why make that change 20 years into a successful career?
This has happened before. The character actor Ethan Embry used to be known as Ethan Randall, which is his real name, but he was in a movie with Al Bundy and clearly saw the writing on the wall. And a lot of other famous actors have changed their names, but that was a sign of the times. It used to be believed that an ethnic-sounding name was a hindrance in Hollywood. Albert Brooks was born Albert Einstein (you can see the issue there). Bob Hope was born Leslie Hope (Leslie was considered a lame name at the time). Boris Karloff grew up as Bill Pratt. And Charlie Sheen is really Carlos Irwin Estevez. So these folks changed their names professionally.
- Tangent: “Johnny Depp” is his real name. I always assumed it was phony. Meanwhile, Justin Louis was considered as Depp’s replacement on the Vancouver-shot 21 Jump Street back around 1990. Small world, eh?
Stars change their names all the time. Changing them back is rare. I can think of only a few other examples of this happening. And never after a long career like Justin has had. I mean Louis.
It doesn’t change my opinion of him. I’ve always liked his work; I loved the short-lived Urban Angel, because I was a young newspaper reporter at the time and I could relate, a bit, to a series about a crimefighting journalist. And I think I saw Battery Park, a U.S. show about New York cops, and thought it was pretty good, too. I’m liking Stargate Universe, and I think Louis is doing good work.
I just wonder about that name change. Was he trying to disguise his Portuguese roots? Consider this: his co-stars on Urban Angel included Vittorio Rossi, Vlasta Vrana, Arthur Grosser, Jack Langedijk and Jocelyne Zucco. Nary a WASP to be seen. Maybe he had other reasons. Maybe he just liked the way “Justin” sounded.
Hey, you know what? He’s had a solid career, but he’s never been a household name. So why not go with a new name now? Why not be honest about your name, Louis? It sounds better, anyway. I think I take people more seriously when I know they haven’t changed their name.
Oh, that got me thinking. Okay, I’m going back to my real name, as of now. Few of you know this, but I operate under a variety of pseudonyms. My real name is Sam Chico. Deal with it.