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Maggie Gyllenhaal Just Learned Her Real First Name—And It’s Super-Jewish

Everyone in her family just forgot about it for 35 years, is all. Read More

By / August 7, 2014

So, Maggie Gyllenhaal got a fun surprise last year when she learned—at the age of 35!—that her real first name was not Maggie, but Margalit, which is Hebrew for ‘pearl.’ (Thanks, Kveller baby name finder.)

The Guardian first reported the news in July (they spelled it Margolit—which is some creative vowel usage, right? Or… a typo? A British thing? Gyllenhaal’s actual spelling? SO MANY QUESTIONS), but the actress elaborated on the story for the first time when she appeared on Live Kelly & Michael last week.

The inconsistency emerged when the Secretary star decided to adopt her husband’s surname last year, in addition to Gyllenhaal. To make the change official, she needed her birth certificate, and after much searching the document was unearthed—but her first name was listed as Margalit, not Maggie. Apparently everyone in the family just kind of, well… forgot what her official name was. Post-birth euphoria or something.

Gyllenhaal seemed bemused by the confusion, but adamant that she wouldn’t be adopting her ‘real’ first name anytime soon. “Maggie’s on everything: Maggie’s on my driver’s license, my passport… my mother still insists my name is not Margalit… I wish that were my name, but it isn’t.”

Maggie, Margalit—we don’t care. That which we call a Maggie by any other name would smell as sweet.


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(Image: Shutterstock / Debby Wong)