Stephen, also spelled Steven, is a strong and likable classic, with the he's-a-great-guy short form Steve. Though not as well-used or fashionable as it was in its heyday -- it was a Top 25 name from 1946 to 1957 -- it still ranks within the Top 300. It remains an even more popular in Ireland.
Already common in ancient Greece, Stephen was the name of the first Christian martyr, one of the seven men chosen to help the apostles spread the gospel of Christianity. It also was the name of several popes and a British king.
There have been innumerable pop-culture role models among its bearers, including Foster, Hawking, Sondheim, Colbert and King. Steves and Stevens, meanwhile, count Spielberg, Martin and the late Jobs among them. In literature, the name has been used by Dickens (in Hard Times), George Eliot (in The Mill on the Floss) and James Joyce (in A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man).
Among the attractive international versions are Stefan, Stefano and Stephano, Esteban and Etienne.