Bizarre Baby Names: Do celebs have them in their DNA?
When out-of the-box-named Ever Carradine, actress and member of a multi-generational Hollywood dynasty, recently gave her baby daughter the equally out-of-the-box-name Chaplin, it got me wondering—could there be an extreme baby naming gene that passes from generation to generation?
Frank Zappa’s kids’ names are the poster children for extreme starbaby naming: Moon Unit, Dweezil (actually Ian Donald Calvin Euclid on his original birth certificate when the hospital refused to register Dweezil), Ahmet Emuukha Rodan and Diva Thin Muffin Pigeen. Are these sibs following the tradition? Kinda–though more cool than crazy– judging from their offspring so far:
Equally well known are the Phoenix (originally Bottom) family of nature names: River Jude, Summer Joy, Rain Joan of Arc, Liberty (originally Libertad Mariposa) and the brother first called Joaquin then Leaf and then Joaquin again. Among their kids’ names:
- Indiana August (Indiana in tribute to uncle River, who played the young Indiana Jones)
- Indigo Orion
- Rio Everest
- Scarlette Jasmine
And then there’s the Coppola clan, which includes Nicolas (nee Coppola) Cage, with their imaginative choices:
The four acting Baldwin brothers have pretty normal names, but not so some of their offspring:
Legendary Jamaican singer-songwriter Bob (Robert Nesta) Marley had a convoluted family tree, with some eleven children, including Cedella (named for Marley’s mother), David (‘Ziggy’), Rohan and Ki–Mani. Among his interestingly-named grandchildren—although there are probably many more–are:
- Gideon Robert Nesta
- Joshua Omaru
- Judah Victoria
- Selah Louise
- Zion David
The fairly normally named ten-strong Wayans brood seems to have a penchant for vowel-ending names for their own kids:
The Jackson 5 + 5 configuration is almost too daunting to look at. For one thing, the Michael Generation names are actually a lot more elaborate than they would appear. “Jackie,” for example, was christened Sigmund Esco, Jr and “Tito” Toriano Adaryll, while Jermaine’s middle name is La Jaune. The baroque (and sometimes immodest) name gene is evident in some of their own child (and grandchild) choices:
So, creative, quirky or genetic imperative? You be the judge.
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on August 17th, 2010 at 4:20 am
Sofia Coppola’s daughter Romy’s last name is Mars; her father is Thomas Mars of the band Phoenix.
on August 17th, 2010 at 7:14 am
“Judah Victoria? Why would someone give their son the middle name Victoria?”
Then I figure it out… goes to show you that you can’t just gender-flip a name by adding a gendered middle name.
I love: Calista, River Jude, Summer Joy, Liberty, Libertad Mariposa, Joaquin, Jonas, Cosima, Natasha, Rohan, Gideon, Justice, Selah, Summer, Zion David, Yohan, Zipporah, Bella, Autumn
I like: Indigo Orion, Rio Everest, Scarlette Jasmine, Vance Alexander, Gian-Carla, Kyla, Toriano, Valencia
Not all of them seem odd to me… Joy, Natasha, Gideon, and Selah have been on my short list (and Judah, for a boy, dangit).
on August 17th, 2010 at 8:56 am
Celebrities can get away with naming their kids whatever they want, because their kids don’t have to worry as much about making a name for themselves. If no one knows who you are, they are going to judge you based on your name.
on August 17th, 2010 at 8:56 am
**You are going to be judged based on your name.
on August 17th, 2010 at 9:24 am
I think there is some truth to this with the siblings but when I think about myself and my own siblings our naming styles are very different.
My brother and his wife went fairly traditional…Michael William III, Lauren Marie and Lukas Matthew. I think the Lukas was the stretch for them. Especially with that spellings.
My oldest sister has Madison Paige and Brooke Peyton. Both girls…both unisex…and fairly popular. Okay Madison was really popular when she named her that (12 years ago) but still both names have a similar feel but totally different from my brother.
My son is Bennett Harris. Bennett I think could go with my brother’s children because of the origin being similar to their names but it is far less common than their choices. Harris is my maiden name so that would have been the choice either way.
I guess it just depends on the family…although my sister has a very unpopular name (Leora…she goes by Lori) and she hates it! LOL! Maybe naming her children more popular names was her way of making sure they would never feel like she did as a child.
Okay I’ve totally talked enough! This is an interesting post!
Neil Street Said
on August 17th, 2010 at 10:35 am
I think it needs pointing out that Ever Carradine’s full name is Ever Dawn Carradine, which puts a different spin on her name. Your post links the name “Ever” to a definition which describes it as a “Scottish” word name. That may be so, but in the context of Ever Dawn Carradine, I think the intent was to use the word “ever” in its normal context, meaning “always.” Hence, “Always Dawn.” Unusual? Yes. But it does have meaning.
on August 17th, 2010 at 10:41 am
Maybe its just that once you’ve HAD an unusual name you cant fathom naming your kids something like Ashley or Heather…
I know that was the case when I had kids.
on August 17th, 2010 at 11:40 am
I think about actor Rainn (Dietrich) Wilson and his wife Holiday Reinhorn. They both have more unique names and they named their son Walter. To me Walter seems to timeless and old fashioned where their names are so hippie. I think that is interesting.
on August 17th, 2010 at 6:06 pm
I would just like to point out that Rio Everest was named in honor of his uncle River Phoenix too. Rio being spanish for River.
on August 19th, 2010 at 1:10 am
Fun blog! However, the psych major in me wants to clarify that this does not separate genetic factors from environmental factors. These people often grew up around unusual names and are perhaps influenced by their celebrity status and the societal expectation of oddity in celebrity baby names (both environmental factors, not necessarily genetic predispositions).
As for the names, I’m totally in love with Jolie, Matilda Plum, and Gideon. Fabulous!
on June 23rd, 2011 at 6:07 pm
Agree with pp Matilda Plum is totally gorgeous!!
jocuri zane Said
on August 6th, 2011 at 9:11 pm
Bizarre Baby Names: Do celebs have them in their DNA? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry…
on November 21st, 2013 at 9:12 am
I know this is an old post, but I want to express my love for Scarlette Jasmine!!
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