How a shattering tragedy made teenaged Pedro Pascal adopt his mother's last name for career as an actor

How a shattering tragedy made teenaged Pedro Pascal adopt his mother's last name for career as an actor
Pedro Pascal adopted his mother's last name after she died (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images and Pedro Pascal/Instagram)

SANTA ANA, CALIFORNIA: Shining like a bright star, Pedro Pascal has carved an indelibly niche for himself in tinsel town with magnificent on-screen performances in movies like ‘Wonder Woman 1984’ and ‘The Unbearable Weight of Massive Talent’. The acclaimed Chilean-American actor first watched his career take off to new heights after starring as Oberyn Martell, aka ‘The Red Viper,' in the smash-hit series 'Game of Thrones' in 2014.

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The 47-year-old actor then went on to portray leading roles in juggernaut TV shows such as ‘Narcos’ and ‘The Mandalorian’. Over the years, his hard work and commitment to his art have earned him several accolades. Pascal has always credited his unimaginable success to his beloved mother, who died before seeing him shine. As a moving tribute to her, the star even changed his professional last name from Balmaceda, his father's, to Pascal, his mother's last name.

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Who was Pedro Pascal’s mother?

‘The Mandalorian’ star was born to Verónica Pascal and José Balmaceda Riera in Santiago, Chile on April 2, 1975. Pedro’s mother, Verónica, was a child psychologist, while José, his father, was a fertility doctor. They both risked their lives before he was born to work for the opposition movement against the military dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet.

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The actor was only nine-year-old when his family, including his two younger siblings, fled Chile — first to Denmark, then to San Antonio, Texas — to seek asylum.

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Pascal moved to New York City in 1993 as a teenager and has lived there ever since. While Pascal was enrolled at New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, his father was involved in a scandal at the Orange County fertility clinic he ran with two other men. As a result of this, his father, mother and two youngest siblings returned to Chile. His mother died shortly afterwards.

In her honor, her son Pedro changed his last name to her maiden name before marriage — Pascal. He welcomed the change for another practical reason — many Americans had trouble pronouncing 'Balmaceda' but 'Pascal' was easier on the tongue. Talking about his mother, Pedro told the People that "She was always incredibly supportive, never a stage mom," adding “None of [my success] would be real if it weren't for her”.

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Pedro changed his name to Alexander in memory of his favorite film

Before adopting his mother’s last name, Pedro also thought of changing his first name in hope of getting more work. He changed his first name from 'Pedro' to 'Alexander' in memory of a favorite film from his youth — 'Fanny and Alexander.' However, this name change didn’t help, and he eventually changed his name back to Pedro.

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“I was willing to do absolutely anything to work more,” he reportedly said. “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.” But Pedro Pascal finally stuck and that is the name he is known by as a celebrity across the world.

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