13 Celebrated Juniors

Celebs who share their fathers' names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Nothing can bring a father and son closer together than sharing their name. And as it happens, an inordinate number of male superstars have been juniors (or IIIs or IVs—even Vs)—whether because the name was something to live up to or an incentive to distinguish themselves as individuals. In anticipation of Father’s Day we look at 13 stars who share their parent’s name, and the various ways these pairings have played out.

Alec Baldwin

As the oldest of the four Baldwin brothers, Alexander Rae Baldwin III,was the logical inheritor of his dad’s name. Father A. Baldwin Jr was a high school history teacher and Mayflower descendant. Alec’s only son Rafael is obviously not carrying on the family tradition.

Clint Eastwood

Clinton Eastwood Jr, is the son of a same-named steelworker, but macho Clint never used the Junior part of his name professionally. As with many if not most modern fathers, the Jr. stops here.

Robert Downey, Jr

Robert John Downey, Jr is one of three Robert Jr superstars. There’s also Robert Anthony De Niro and (Charles) Robert Redford Jr.

Beau Bridges

Beau Bridges was born Lloyd Vernet Bridges III, at a time when his father was a major TV star. His parents nicknamed him Beau after the character of Ashley Wilkes’ son in Gone With the Wind. (Interestingly, Vice-President Biden’s late son Beau was born Joseph Ribinette Biden III.) Beau has become a popular name on its own: it now ranks at Number 2013, and has been used for their sons by such celebs as Art Garfunkel and JamieLynn Sigler.

Brad Pitt

William Bradley Pitt is not technically a Junior, because he has a different middle name than dad William Alvin Pitt, and he opted to use that middle name nickname to avoid confusion. Can you imagine if the middles were reversed and Brad had become known as Alvin Pitt?

Cuba Gooding Jr

Cuba shares his unusual name with his father, a Motown R & B singer, but he named his own two sons Spencer and Mason. Cuba is a place name that has never caught on, but with the changed political situation, that could change too.

Busta Rhymes

Rapper/actor/producer Busta Rhymes was born with the much more conventional name of Trevor George Smith, Jr. His only nod to family tradition was to give his three sons names starting with T—T’Zian, T’Khi and Trillian. Another rapper who was once a Junior (named for his stepfather) is Snoop Dog, aka Cordozar Calvin Boradus, Jr; three of his kids have names starting with the Cor syllable. And there’s more—50 Cent’s birth certificate reads Curtis James Jackson III, Common was Lonnie Rashid Lynn Jr, Coolio, Artis Leon Ivey Jr, to name a few.

Will Smith

Will Smith was born not William but Willard Carroll Smith, Jr.   His first son, following tradition, is WCS III, but is known by the traditional nickname for a third, Trey.

Ramon Estevez

Actor Ramon Estevez, the less well known brother of Charlie Sheen and Emilio Estevez, is kind of a sideways Junior, as his father dropped his birth name of Ramón Antonio Gerardo Estévez when he became actor Martin Sheen. Charlie is the only one of his four kids to use his dad’s stage surname.

Usher

Did you ever wonder where Usher got his unusual name? Well, Usher Raymond IV came by it legitimately, inheriting it from dad, Usher Raymond III. The singer did pass it on to his son, Usher Raymond V, known to all as “Cinco.”

Harry Connick Jr

The son of a New Orleans lawyer, judge, and onetime DA, the singer was christened Joseph Harry Fowler Connick, Jr. He followed a common Junior practice by using his middle name.

Monroe Jackson Rathbone V

Going all the way to #V in his family, the Twilight’s Jasper Hale portrayer was christened Monroe Jackson Rathbone V to a family with distinguished ancestors, including Civil War general Stonewall Jackson. And staying true to his family custom, he named his son Monroe Jackson Rathbone VI (brother to new baby sister Presley Bowie).

Will.i.am

William James Adams Jr had fun with his inherited name (from a father he never met), being one of the first celebs to play with punctuation.

And here’s a list of some of the many more distinguished Jrs plus:

Martin Luther King, Jr (actually born Michael King, Jr—his father changed both their names to honor theologian Martin Luther)

Muhammad Ali (Cassius Marcellus Clay, Jr.)

Sammy Davis, Jr

Marlon Brando, Jr

Miles Davis (Miles Dewey Davis III)

Mickey Rooney (Joseph Yule Jr—though he named his own son Mickey Rooney Jr)

Hank Williams Jr (Randall Hank Williams )—and father of Hank III

Denzel Hayes Washington, Jr.

Tom Cruise (Thomas Cruise Mapother IV)

Quincy Delight Jones Jr

Louis Cameron Goissett Jr

Mickey Rourke (Philip Andre Rourke Jr.)

Chris Rock (Christopher Julius Rock III)

Freddie James Prinz, Jr (though his comedian father was born Frederick Karl Pruetzel)

Cal Ripken Jr (Calvin Edwin Ripken Jr)

Ken Griffey Jr (George Kenneth Griffey Jr—with a son called Trey)

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6 Responses to “13 Celebrated Juniors”

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lee_augusta Says:

June 15th, 2016 at 11:03 pm

This was a really interesting and informative article. I’m interested in hearing from Berries who have Juniors of their own — do they go by a middle name, a nickname, or…?

mtgv Says:

June 15th, 2016 at 11:40 pm

@lee_augusta – there are a few Juniors in my family. Nephew goes by Chris, Chris Jr, or CJ or by a nickname/shortened form of our surname. Cousins both go by Ron/Ronnie but have Big/Little added to the front when being spoken of (So Ron when you are talking to him and Little Ron when you are talking about him) Great-grandfather was John, his son. John/John Jr/Junior or a nickname form of their surname; his son is Jack and very occasionally John (then I don’t realize they are talking about him 🙂 )

emiliana232 Says:

June 16th, 2016 at 12:51 am

@lee_augusta My uncles a junior, Harold John and he goes by Harry while my pop is Harold. He didn’t continue the tradition which his son is glad about since he’s so much younger then every other Harold and John and Harry is already taken. Interestingly my uncle Harold is the fourth born son since my grandparents had six sons we joke they ran out of names for my uncle Harry and my dad (who’s named after a bewitched character)
My friend has a cousin who’s a third and he goes by a nickname around his dad but full name everywhere else mainly because his name doesn’t lend to an easy nickname. Their from South America and from what I’ve seen juniors seen more common in Spanish speaking countries.

My mom said she (very) briefly considered using her name on me since she loves it so much but decided against it. I really like her name and it has a nickname that easily works for my generation I wouldn’t have minded being a female junior. And my dad jokes (maybe it’s hard to tell if he’s being serious) if he’d had a second son he would have been Darren James junior which I’m glad didn’t happen since it’s a very 70’s name in Australia.

Haids1987 Says:

June 16th, 2016 at 9:22 am

I had no idea that most of these gentlemen are juniors. What an interesting article!

JulesBerry Says:

June 16th, 2016 at 10:59 am

Very interesting!! I am definitely not a fan of doing the junior thing. I feel like you should give the kid their own name. Use the dad’s (or mom’s) as a middle name. I appreciate the famous men who didn’t name their kids ‘whoever the third’ etc. Their kids will be growing up in their famous dad’s shadow anyway. No need to share the same name too!

mother_dragons Says:

June 17th, 2016 at 8:10 am

My mum is a junior. When she was born they hadn’t decided how to name her yet so my grandfather went “I’ll name her myself!” and gave her my grandma’s name. They distinguished them by their nicknames: my grandma was “la gorda” (the fat one- nicknames like that are common where I live and are not considered offensive) while my mum is simply Mari. She didn’t continue the “tradition” though and she gave all of us our own names- but coincidentally, I have my father’s initials

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