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Celebrity Baby Names

The celebrity baby-naming year got off to an exciting start with the birth of Jennifer Garner and Ben Affleck’s second daughter, whose name remained a mystery for more than a week.

When it was finally announced, it was so surprising and lovely that it made the long wait worthwhile: SERAPHINA ROSE ELIZABETH, a shoo-in for one of the Best Celebrity Baby Names of the year.

Our other nominees for Best Celebrity Baby Girl Name:

MABEL PAINTERChad Lowe’s little girl’s name is a charming, quirky vintage choice, with an original artistic middle name from the hot occupational genre.

HELENA GRACE – The classic Helena is a name just emerging from the attic, chosen by Gossip Girl’s Kelly Rutherford.  Its originality makes up for the lovely yet somewhat standard-issue Grace in the middle place.

PALOMA LOUISEAna Ortiz chose this exotic-yet-familiar name for her daughter, with the original Louise, tres chic in Paris, in the middle.

PHOEBE MARGARET Phoebe is a mythological and biblical name that’s newly finding favor, chosen for her newborn daughter by Julianne Nicholson.

For boys, our nominees for Best Name are:

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CAREFUL, KAL-EL; WATCH OUT WHIZDOM!

Weird Baby Names

We all know how the media likes to jump on every new ‘weird’ starbaby name, predicting dire consequences down the road for the likes of poor little Moxie CrimeFighter, Pilot Inspektor, Bronx Mowgli, and Apple. Well, only time will tell how these kids will actually meet that particular challenge as they grow up, but it might be instructive to look at the previous generation of oddball-named celebrity babes who are now young adults and see how they’ve handled it–which ones think these names have made them feel special and which have felt damaged, how many have held on to their bizarre appellations and how many have dropped them.

CHASTITY BONO. Mom Cher used the name of dad Sonny‘s film “Chastity,” but though her daughter has hung onto it, she has said “most of the time it’s been a pain.” Seems when she complained about it, Sonny would say “Be thankful we didn’t name you Dweezil.” Which brings us to:

DWEEZIL ZAPPA. When the hospital refused to  register this name, the birth certificate read Ian Donald Calvin Euclid–the names of Zappa’s then-bandmates. But Dweezil, always called Dweezil, later made it his legal name. Older sister MOON UNIT has frequently insisted that she likes having an unusual name like Moon rather than something more ordinary, and presumably their other siblings AHMET EMUUKHA RODAN and DIVA THIN MUFFIN PIGEEN agree.

PEACHES HONEYBLOSSOM MICHELLE ANGEL VANESSA GELDOF, daughter of rocker-activist Bob, has bemoaned “My weird name has haunted me all my life.”  Wouldn’t be surprised if her sisters FIFI TRIXIEBELLE, PIXIE and HEAVENLY HIRAANI TIGER LILY–exhibitionists all–felt the same way.

SATCHEL FARROW. The son of Mia Farrow and Woody Allen was born Satchel Ronan O’Sullivan Farrow, named for one of his father’s baseball heroes, Satchel Paige. Following a bitter custody battle, he became known as Seamus, and now, having been a prodigy who graduated from college at 15  and become  a human rights activist and journalist, he has settled on the name Ronan Seamus Farrow.  His sister also took three steps, going from DYLAN to ELIZA to MALONE.

ZOWIE BOWIE. Like Satchel-Seamus-Ronan, has had multiple identities. He was born Zowie Duncan Heywood Bowie and, although he says he loves his distinctive moniker, he first called himself Joey Bowie, and then changed his name to Duncan Jones, saying he didn’t want to be in the shadow of famous dad David.

STRAWBERRY SAROYAN. When fruitily-named Apple Martin was born in 2004, the granddaughter of William Saroyan gave a long interview about her name to the New York Times . Since she grew up among kids named Cream, Wonder and Raspberry, she didn’t exactly feel like the odd girl out, and after some ups and downs, now definitely sees the benefits of her unusual name.

TALLULAH BELLE WILLIS, sister of RUMER GLENN and SCOUT LARUE, though still a young teen, has already had dad Bruce announce on the Letterman show that she plans to legally change her name to (nickname) Lula.

So take heed, Ikhyd and Nakoa-Wolf–you might wind up deciding you’d rather be Ike or Nat.

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Celebrity Baby Names: 2008′s best & worst

baby name Clementine

First for the good news.  Here are the starbaby names which we consider to have found the right combination of originality, charm and substance this year:

CLEMENTINEEthan Hawke & Ryan Shawhughes

Full name Clementine Jane Hawke projects the image of a sweet but strong, prim but pretty heroine of a Victorian novel, and brings to mind the song lyric ‘Oh my darlin’ (never mind that her shoes were #9).  It was previously the starbaby selection of Cybill Shepherd and Claudia Schiffer.

HONORJessica Alba & Cash Warren

We applaud this choice that moves beyond the more common Puritan Virtue names like Grace, Hope, and Faith to one that projects an even more righteous image, but has rarely been heard in this country.  An honorable decision.

KNOX & VIVIENNEAngelina Jolie & Brad Pitt

The award for best twin names of the year goes to the always inventive but never quite over-the-top serial baby namers, the Jolie-Pitts.  Knox continued their tradition of boys’ names ending in ‘X’ (as in Maddox and Pax), and also has family connections to Brad‘s grandfather, as does Vivienne‘s middle name, Marcheline, that of Angelina‘s mother.  Runner-up twin names: Coldplay drummer Will Champion’s lively Juno & Rex.

LOTUSRain Pryor

In the name garden overgrown with Roses and Lillies, Violets and Daisies, it seems fitting that the granddaughter of the late iconoclastic comedian Richard Pryor would have a more exotic flower name.  With its languorous feel, the lotus holds intriguing significance in several cultures.

SUNDAYNicole Kidman & Keith Urban

An unusual but sunny day-of-the-week name, inspired by an Australian artist’s patron named Sunday Reed, it’s in tune with other current calendar names like January, May, June and August, as well as the seasonal Winter and Summer.  Some people did think it strange that Sunday was born on a Monday.

And now for what we judge to be this year’s losers:

BRONX MOWGLI —Ashlee Simpson & Pete Wentz

Poor little Bronx got nothing but Bronx cheers when his name was released, especially as paired with the name of the Disneyfied Jungle Book boy.  If his parents thought this New York borough name would catch on the way Brooklyn has, they’re in for a big disappointment.

BUSTERMichele Hicks & Jonny Lee Miller

Is he a bulldog?  Is he a prizefighter?  No, he’s a baby, whose rambunctuous name will not do much to encourage his sensitive side.  An example of the alarming trend towards giving doggy names (Lucky, Princess) to babies.

KADENCE CLOVER —Tony Hawk

It could just as well be Cadence Klover, within the paradigm of using the initial letters C and K interchangeably, leading to regrettable innovations like Kasey, Kassidy, Karolyn and Kaleb.  Fortunately, the trend seems to be waning.

MAXXScott Hamilton

Taking Max–which already means “the greatest”–to the max.  INXS, we’d say.

PEANUT—Ingo Rademacher

The General Hospital star explained that this had been the nickname they used “when he was in mommy.”  OK, good luck explaining that to him when he’s six feet tall and applying to Princeton.

We’d love to hear your nominations for the best and worst celebrity choices of the year, and won’t be surprised if you have very different opinions.  Let’s hear from you lovers of Harlow and defenders of Kadence!

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