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A pseudonym or alias is a fictitious name used by a person as an alternative to their legal name. A pseudonym is often used by artists and writers if they don't want to give away their real identity, but also don't want to publish their works anonymously.

In the case of authors, a pseudonym is also called a pen name or a nom de plume. Many famous authors are known to most people only by their pen name, such as Lewis Carroll (whose real name was Charles Lutwidge Dodgson) or Mark Twain (whose real name was Samuel Langhorne Clemens).

Erotic books from the Victorian era and early 20th century French spanking literature in particular was almost entirely written under pseudonyms. For example, Georges Grassal wrote under the names Jean de Villiot and Hugues Rebell, author and illustrator Roland Brévannes used Don Brennus Aléra, and Pierre Dumarchey had numerous pen names (Pierre Mac Orlan, Pierre du Bourdel, Sadie Blackeyes, et al.). For many years publishers also assigned generic pseudonyms such as Alan Mac Clyde, sometimes spelled Alan McClyde and James Lovebirch to a variety of pornographic novels.

The entertainment industry[edit]

Sometimes a motion picture director will request that his or her name be removed from a film as a form of protest due to an unresolved dispute with the studio. When this occurs, the generic "directed by Alan Smithee" will appear in the film's credits. Other times directors use pseudonyms to protect their reputation when making a potentially embarrassing exploitation or pornographic film.

Theater and movie actors, musicians, and other entertainers, often adopt a "stage name". Usually this occurs when a person's name is considered unattractive, dull, or difficult to pronounce. Thus, actor Archibald Alexander Leach was changed by the film industry into Cary Grant. Other times, names are anglicized to mask ethnicity or nationality. For example, Frederick Austerlitz became Fred Astaire, Bernard Schwartz was changed to Tony Curtis, and Charles Dennis Buchinsky was shortened to Charles Bronson.

It is rare for anyone working in the pornography and spanking video industries – in front of or behind the camera – to use their real names. Most prefer the anonymity of an alias. Mainstream television actress Jaimee Foxworth performed in ten X-rated films using the name Crave. Other adult performers create catchy, fanciful screen names such as Lotta Top, Candy Barr, Ginger Snaps, Candy Cane, and Dita Von Teese.

Spanking actress Niki Flynn (real name unknown) took her screen name from "Nicki Brand", the character played by Deborah Harry who becomes a video dominatrix in Videodrome (1983, video clip). Flynn, now retired from acting, writes spanking stories under the nom de plume Fiona Locke. Snow Mercy, a pun on the phrase "no mercy" is a regular cast member in the My Spanking Roommate video series. The alias for dominatrix performer Alexis Payne (aka Alexis Reid, Alexis Paine, Carolyn Alexis Payne) is a variant on "pain". The domineering Belinda Clark usually appears in fetish films as Mistress Gemini.

Performers in adult videos often use multiple aliases, especially when they appear in different film genres. For example, spanking/BDSM actress Greta Carlson made pornographic films as Allison Brach, Barbi, and Leita. She also appeared in a few mainstream B-movies under the name Sherri Graham. Desi D'Angelo, who made dozens of videos for House of Milan and London Enterprises, also did a few mainstream films billed as Jasae.

See also[edit]