Al Pacino considered changing his name to ''Sonny Scott'' when he started acting.

The 74-year-old star was advised to alter his moniker when he began working in the movie industry because any stars with an ''ethnic name'' had to change them.

He said: ''In the old days, in America, when you had an ethnic name, you changed it.

''Whether it was Jewish, Italian, Spanish, whatever, Asian - you changed your name.

''Tony Curtis, that was Bernie Schwartz. Bernie Schwartz came from my neighbourhood. Because American Italians didn't work.

''I was acting when I was very young, and so they said, 'Well you're going into acting, you've got to change your name.' So I thought, 'Sonny Scott'.

''It was unthinkable to have a name that ended in a vowel.

''Who knows why, I don't know, perhaps World War Two or something, or perhaps the migration to the States was young - we were getting there in the 1900s and we were the ones to be avoided.''

But the Hollywood legend was able to keep his own moniker thanks to method acting coach Lee Strasberg, who Al says was one of few who could say his name properly.

He added in an interview with Loaded magazine: ''I think getting to the Actors' Studio at age 25 and having Lee Strasberg read my name. And he said, 'And here we have Al Pacino,' and for the first time someone read the 'ch' and I said, 'I like this guy!'

''My teachers in school - it was always, 'Al Pakani', 'Pakouni', 'Pakano'. And I would say, 'No - Pacino.' And I'd say, 'Ch, Cino - Pacino'.

''Probably the only thing I really knew in school was my name.''