Can You Correctly Spell These Tricky Celeb Names?

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By: Beth Hendricks

6 Min Quiz

Image: Wiki Commons by Gage Skidmore & Harald Krichel

About This Quiz

We've seen J-Lo, K-Stew and ScarJo. There's been Kimye, Brangelina and Bennifer. 

Maybe the reason we're so obsessed with abbreviating celeb names and the names of celeb couples is that some of them are so darn hard to spell. Have you ever tried texting a friend about a new Arnold Schwarzenegger movie? Forget it! What about discussing Milo Ventimiglia with your coworkers? We can't spell or pronounce that one without difficulty. And don't forget Hollywood's big Ferrell versus Farrell versus Pharell debate! Technically, they're all right, but each belongs to a different guy.

Spelling can be hard for even the best spellers among us. What purpose does the "g" in Cara Delevingne serve, except to stump us? Is it Matthew McConaughey or Matthew McConohay? Does Zoey (or is it Zooey) Deschanel have one "o" or two? Ugh, these are the things we lose sleep over at night! OK, not really, but we're trying to hype up our quiz here.

What kind of celeb speller are you? Can you spell ScarJo's complete name ... and correctly? Can you decipher if Quentin is a Tarentino or a Tarantino? Put your spelling prowess to work in this celebrity-based "spelling bee" with some of Hollywood's trickiest names. We think you'll do just Fiennes ... or is it "fine"?

Alright, alright, alright ... do you know how to spell this A-lister's name?

Matthew McConaughey has been around Hollywood for a minute, appearing in movies like "Dazed and Confused" and "A Time to Kill." You've probably also seen him in some TV commercials that will have you questioning all of your life choices.

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One "o" or two? That's the big question in this "New Girl's" name. Which one is correct?

Zooey Deschanel earned her name from a favorite book of her parents, titled "Franny and Zooey," written by J.D. Salinger. Deschanel played Jess on "New Girl" from 2011 to 2018, earning multiple Emmy and Golden Globe nominations.

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How many double consonants can one name have? This "Black Widow" star's moniker is a tricky one as a result. Which is correct?

Scarlett Johansson was born in the United States, but her family name has Nordic roots. Her father, Karsten Olaf Johansson, hails from Denmark, and the Johansson name is popular throughout the region.

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This guy has been an "Anchorman," a "Step Brother," and an "Elf." Who do we know him as?

Hollywood has a number of "Ferrells," but they don't all spell — or pronounce — their names in the same way. This guy, Will Ferrell, uses the more traditional pronunciation of "FARE-uhl."

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You might know her as "Babs," but can you spell her real name?

Barbra, not Barbara, Streisand has had a career spanning multiple decades, working in film and music. Some call her by her nickname, "Babs," but she's another who changed her name — by removing an "a" — when she was younger.

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An Irish-American actress, she won a Golden Globe for "Lady Bird" and has been nominated for four Academy Awards. Who is she?

Not only is Saoirse Ronan's name hard to spell, but it's also hard to pronounce! For the record, her first name follows a "SIR-sha" pronunciation, which rhymes with the word "inertia."

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She might be voted "Most Likely to Bust a Move" on her own talk show. Who is it?

Ellen DeGeneres has been dancing her way into our hearts on her syndicated talk show since 2003 and, before that, on a show that shared her name. Ellen has won nearly three dozen Emmy Awards and is known worldwide for her contributions to charitable causes.

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"This Is Us" might tell you "this is how" you spell its beloved actor's name. Which is it?

Milo Ventimiglia's challenging name derives from his Italian-Sicilian heritage. (See all of those vowels?) Before earning the role on NBC's "This Is Us," Ventimiglia was known for his role on "Gilmore Girls."

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He's the nephew of movie director Francis Ford Coppola, but that first name is a doozy. Which is the proper spelling?

With a non-traditional spelling of Nicolas, we're not surprised Cage dropped the "Coppola" last name in favor of something — shall we say — easier to spell? Cage has been around the Hollywood block, starring in various films, including the "National Treasure" series.

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She'll "be there for you": How do you spell the former "Friends" actress' name?

Don't forget the "e"! Courteney Cox has an extra one in there that you don't typically see with most Courtneys. Of course, there's also a Kourtney out there, but she's a Kardashian.

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She played notorious serial killer Aileen Wuornos (another tricky name to spell). How do you spell her real name?

Charlize Theron won an Academy Award for her role as Aileen Wuornos in "Monster" in 2003. The actress is of South African and American heritage; her last name comes from Occitan, a language spoken in parts of France and Italy.

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Penny from "The Big Bang Theory" has a much more difficult name to spell in real life. Do you know which it is?

Kaley Cuoco played Penny on "The Big Bang Theory" from 2007 to 2019, earning various awards for her portrayal of the waitress and aspiring actress. Cuoco herself has been an actress since a TV movie appearance in 1992.

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This actress changed from Snow White to Mary Margaret Blanchard in the TV series "Once Upon a Time." In real life, what did she change her name to?

Once upon a time, this actress was born Jennifer Goodwin. However, the actress took it upon herself to change her name's spelling to "Ginnifer," in part to differentiate herself from all those other Jennifers out there.

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It's pronounced "SHAH-ma-lan," but it's not spelled that way. Do you know which is correct?

Hollywood director M. Night Shyamalan is better known by the abbreviated version of his name than his given name, Manoj Nelliyattu Shyamalan. He changed it — officially — when he was in college.

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This model-turned-actress is noted for her roles in "Paper Towns" and "Suicide Squad." How do you spell her name?

Cara Delevingne is another one of those names that seems to have more letters than it should. The model/actress pronounces her last name "Day-la-VEEN." She has appeared in campaigns for Burberry, in addition to her acting roles.

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The ladies love this "Sons of Anarchy" star, but can they spell his name right?

Charlie Hunnam, who was born in the United Kingdom, is a hit with the ladies — and the TV shows. He was nominated for several awards for his role on "Sons of Anarchy," which ran for seven seasons.

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She's been a Bridesmaid and a Ghostbuster, but can you spell her unusual name?

You may know funny lady Kristen Wiig from her work on "Saturday Night Live," but Wiig has also had a successful film career, including in the movie "Bridesmaids," which she co-wrote and starred in.

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You met an "Elf" in a previous question, but this singer-songwriter who shares a similar-sounding name is "Happy." Which spelling does he use?

Will Ferrell, meet Pharrell (pronounced fuh-REL). Pharrell Williams, a singer, songwriter and producer, has created numerous hits, including "Happy" from the "Despicable Me 2" soundtrack.

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He paid his "dues" as a Nazi war criminal in "Schindler's List." What is this actor's name?

Ralph Fiennes (pronounced "rafe fines") earned multiple award nominations for his role in "Schindler's List." He has a storied acting career outside of that, appearing in the "Harry Potter" and "James Bond" film series.

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In an unusual move, his parents changed his last name instead of his first. Which of these is the proper spelling?

Joaquin Phoenix's parents did, in fact, name him Joaquin, but he was originally born a "Bottom." It wasn't until his parents fled from a cult that they changed the family's last name to Phoenix.

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In 2013, this then-nine-year-old became the youngest ever to be Academy Award-nominated for Best Actress. How do you spell her name?

Quvenzhané Wallis has all of the letters of the alphabet that are used infrequently in names — "Q," "V," "Z" — all in her first name! Her Academy Award nomination came for her role in "Beasts of the Southern Wild."

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An Emmy winner for "Big Little Lies," this actor played Perry Wright in the HBO series. What is his name?

Alexander Skarsgård was born in Stockholm, Sweden, which is where his interesting surname originates. He comes from a famous family, the son of another actor, Stellan Skarsgård.

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He's the well-known director of interesting films like "Kill Bill" and the recent "Once Upon a Time in Hollywood." Do you know how to spell his name?

Quentin Tarantino has developed quite a reputation as a filmmaker and director for his unconventional style of storytelling. Other films to his credit include "The Hateful Eight" and "Inglourious Basterds."

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We first met her as "Precious," but that's not her name. How do you spell her real name?

So many vowels! Gabourey Sidibe has at least one of each in her interesting name, which originates from the Senegalese language. Her father, Ibnou Sidibe, is from Senegal, while her mother is American.

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Her famous mother, Jayne Mansfield, also had an unusually spelled name. Which of these is the correct version of the "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit" star's name?

We get it — you probably don't know who Jayne Mansfield was. Other than being Mariska Hargitay's mother, she was a celebrity in her own right as one of the first Playboy Playmates, a singer and an actress.

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Can you spell this action star's name?

Arnold Schwarzenegger has one of the more challenging spellings and pronunciations in all of Hollywood, but that doesn't appear to have impacted his career. He has been a successful film star and even governor of his adopted state of California.

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"I" before "E" or nah? Can you spell this multitalented superstar's name?

He's been People's "Sexiest Man Alive," but we might have to vote him one of the hardest names to spell. We can never get it right! Which vowel does his first name start with? Which one begins his last name? So confusing!

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Don't mess with Cookie, but don't mess with this actress who portrays her on "Empire," either. How is her name spelled?

Taraji P. (the "P." is for Penda) Henson first starred as Cookie on the TV series "Empire" in 2015. We love her sassy personality on the hit show, but truth be told, Taraji carries that personality with her everywhere she goes!

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"Taxi Driver," "Cape Fear" and "Goodfellas" have this influential director in common. How do you spell his name?

Martin Scorsese is, simply put, Hollywood royalty. He's the director of many successful films, including the ones mentioned in the question, as well as "Raging Bull," "Casino" and "The Irishman."

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This dancer has a famous brother who shares her last name. How do you spell it?

Julianne Hough and her brother, Derek Hough, have both appeared on the televised dancing competition "Dancing With the Stars." Both have also pursued careers in singing and acting, in addition to dance.

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She first appeared on soap operas in the early 2000s, but you may know her best from "Mean Girls" memes. What is her name?

Even though she had early acting jobs on daytime soap operas, Amanda Seyfried didn't make her official film debut until 2004's "Mean Girls." Checked your meme collection yet? You'll find her there in spades.

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He was a "Blues Brother" who cofounded House of Blues. How do you spell his name?

Dan Aykroyd got his start in acting, but that wasn't enough for him. He created the Blues Brothers as part of a skit on "Saturday Night Live," turning it into an actual band, a movie and then a business, cofounding House of Blues.

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It's all Greek to us! Can you spell the name of this actor from "The Hangover" and "Due Date"?

As a tyke, Zach Galifianakis probably took a while to learn how to spell his name. To help the rest of us learn, Stephen Colbert and Z. G. created a song on "The Late Show with Stephen Colbert."

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This reality TV star is "Very _________." Can you fill in the blank and spell her name?

Coming to fame in the reality show "Laguna Beach: The Real Orange County," Kristin Cavallari has continued with her reality roots. These days, she stars alongside her former NFL player husband Jay Cutler in "Very Cavallari."

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He was the voice behind Scar in 2019's "The Lion King." Which of these is the proper spelling of his name?

British-Nigerian actor Chiwetel Ejiofor was a part of the 2019 blockbuster remake of "The Lion King," alongside Beyoncé and Donald Glover. Ejiofor was award-nominated for his role in "12 Years a Slave."

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