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Category: movie star names

Your Hero Name!

kennedy

Kennedy, Monroe, Landry, Truth — hero names are becoming increasingly popular, with parents naming their babies after their favorite heroes and heroines from history, Hollywood, sports, and beyond.

Surname names from Palin to Picasso are popular, but so are first names: think of Ava (Gardner), Amelia (Earhart), and Ashton (who else?).

Hero and heroine namesakes may be fictional rather than real: Atticus or Scout from To Kill A Mockingbird, for example, or Jo from Little Women.

Then again, your hero or heroine may be from your own family and circle of friends and acquaintances: a favorite teacher, an acquaintance you’ve always admired.

Celebrities have recently been incorporating hero names into their choices for their children: Mariah Carey‘s daughter is named Monroe after Marilyn, for instance, while Jennifer Jason Leigh and Noah Baumbach named their son Rohmer, for French director Eric.  Several politicians in recent years have named their children Kennedy, for example, a conscious choice to identify with that powerful political family and legacy.

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Middle Name Switches

jude-law-rudy3

Clearly, parents today are giving a lot more thought to their children’s middle names than their own parents did.  Long gone are the automatic connective choices like Lee and Lynn, Beth and Bruce;  more likely now might be something more imaginative like Maeve or West—or Sebastian or Story—or Mom’s maiden or another family name.

For some people, the reasoning behind this is to give the child an additional option for later in life.  It works both ways: either he could switch his classic William for his jazziermiddle  Jasper, or she could opt for using her traditional, grown-up Elizabeth middle name over the less sophisticated Poppy.

It turns out that a surprising number of celebrities have done just that—chosen to use their middle as their marquee moniker.  Sometimes it was to drop a wimpy appellation for a more stylish one (Eldred for Gregory, Orvon for Gene), sometimes because a name was too common at the time (Mary, John, James) and the middle had more character (Farrah, Orson, Montgomery), sometimes maybe because probably just seemed cooler to be Brad than Bill.

As a result, some of the most stand-out celebrity names –Evangeline, Reese, Rihanna, Ashton and Jude—started out in second place on the birth certificate.  Here are some of the most prominent–And note that the last names given aren’t necessarily the ones they were born with.

GIRLS

Kathryn BRIDGET (Moynahan)

Lily CLAUDETTE (Colbert)

Mary DEBRA (Winger)

Nicole EVANGELINE (Lilly)

Audrey FAITH (Hill)

Mary FARRAH (Fawcett)

Dorothy FAYE (Dunaway)

Deborah HUNTER (Tylo)

Mary KATHLEEN (Turner)

Olive MARIE (Osmond)

Holly MICHELLE (Phillips)

Carole PENNY (Marshall)

Laura Jean REESE (Witherspoon)

Robin RIHANNA (Fenty)

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Oscar Names: Girls’ edition

oscarolivia

In honor of the Academy Award nominations announced yesterday, one of our favorite bloggers, Abby Sandel, creator of the always informative and witty appellationmountain.net, continues the tradition she started last year with boys’ red carpet names, and has again searched through the annals of Oscar history to come up with some great lists of award-worthy female winners’ and characters’ names.

Ava, Audrey, Natalie, Grace, Olivia.  Is it my daughter’s kindergarten class roster, or a round-up of Hollywood screen legends?  With so many parents turning to Tinsel Town for inspiration, no wonder I’m confused.

Despite the popularity of borrowing a name from the big screen, plenty of appealing choices remain underused.  Here’s a short list culled from Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress nominees and winners, and the characters they played, from the 1920s through today.

LEADING LADIES

Some of these are easy to imagine on a girl born today, while others might not be quite ready for a comeback.  All of them offer at least one glamorous namesake.

ANOUK

BETTE

CLAUDETTE

DOROTHY

FAYE

GLYNIS

GREER

GRETA

HALLE

HATTIE

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