The sexy star, real name Heather Sweet, adopted the name Dita – inspired by 1920s movie star Dita Parlo – when she started work at a strip club in Orange County, California, but when she posed for Playboy in the mid 1990s, editors insisted on a second name.
She tells Hustler magazine, “They told me I had to have a last name. I fought them… I thought ‘Von’ was really aristocratic and cool. I pulled out the Orange County phone book and saw ‘Von Treese’ and thought, ‘That sounds cool’. So I called Playboy and said, ‘I’m going to be Dita Von Treese’.
“Then the magazine comes out… I run to the liquor store and open it up, and there was ‘Dita Von Teese’! And it stuck. It’s one of those names that seems so perfect, but it was an accident.”
And now everyone, but her close friends, family members and boyfriends call her Dita – even ex-husband Marilyn Manson insisted on using her stage name: “He would never call me by my real name because he didn’t want to be called by his real name – not even by his family.”