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Celebrities

Why did Pedro Pascal change his name?

Pedro Pascal has become a Hollywood star, but he didn’t always go by that name.

Update:
Pedro Pascal has become a Hollywood star, but he didn’t always go by that name.
Jeff SpicerGetty

Pedro Pascal continues to ride a wave of momentum that has made him one of the biggest names in Hollywood.

The 47-year-old is part of one of the biggest shows of the year, HBO’s ‘The Last of Us’, which continues to break streaming records.

According to the latest Nielsen ratings, ‘The Last of Us’ premiere surpassed ‘House of the Dragon’ when it comes to streaming figures.

The post-apocalyptic show amassed 837 million minutes watched in the first full week after its January 15 premiere, while the ‘Game of Thrones’ prequel had 741 million minutes watched the week after its first broadcast.

‘The Last of Us’, which also stars Bella Ramsey, has also proven to be a huge success with viewers thanks to an average audience score of 91 percent on Rotten Tomatoes.

Pedro Pascal’s birth name

With the third season of ‘The Mandalorian’ set for release on March 1, Pascal isn’t going away anytime soon.

While the Chilean-born American actor is now a househould name, he was actually born José Pedro Balmaceda.

Born to Verónica Pascal, a child psychologist, and José Balmaceda, a fertility doctor, his family moved to the United States when he was just nine months old after being forced to flee Chile.

His mother was the cousin of Andrés Pascal Allende, the nephew of socialist Chilean President Salvador Allende. Both his parents were active in resistance groups that sought to overthrown the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

However, Pascal’s mother took her own life in 1999, which prompted him to change his last name from his father’s Balmaceda, to his mother’s, Pascal.

“She was always incredibly supportive, never a stage mom. I always felt like she knew something that I didn’t,” he told People in 2020.

“None of [my success] would be real if it weren’t for her.”

The other reason for Pascal’s name change

Along with the touching tribute to his mom, Pedro also explained the other reason for his name change.

“And also, because Americans had such a hard time pronouncing Balmaceda,” he told Variety. “It was exhausting.”

He also tried swapping Pedro for Alexander in an homage to Ingmar Bergman’s ‘Fanny and Alexander’, but he says the change didn’t prove successful.

“I was willing to do absolutely anything to work more,” said Pascal. “And that meant if people felt confused by who they were looking at in the casting room because his first name was Pedro, then I’ll change that. It didn’t work.”