Middle Names: The secret middles of famous names

Pop open the champagne: It’s Middle Name Pride Day! In celebration, everyone’s supposed to reveal their middle names to three people who don’t know it. What if you learned, probably the hard way, that your middle name might make other people laugh, gasp, or want to punch you in the nose? Then take comfort in knowing that you’re in good company. Many of the most famous names around have middle names they’d probably just as soon keep out of the limelight.

And hey, come on over and join the conversation on Facebook about YOUR middle name, proud or not.

Charlie Sheen: Irwin

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Charlie Sheen was born Carlos Irwin Estevez, and we can’t help wondering-- would he have needed all that anger management therapy if his first two names were reversed and he was known to the world as Irwin? Poor Irwin has had a bit of a schlubby image for decades, completely dropping off the radar by 1965, though it had ranked as high as #245 in the early 1930s.

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8 Responses to “Middle Names: The secret middles of famous names”

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Sarah.Jane Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 8:09 am

I really like Earnest/Ernest.
Some of these names are definitely interesting.

SugarPlumFairy Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 8:16 am

I bet most of these are family surnames, which I think it’s a lovely tradition!

Lola Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 9:58 am

I too love family surnames in the middle! I keep hoping if Josie ever goes to Hollywood, she uses her middles: Rosamel Anne. I adore her whole name but there are moments when I regret not naming her Rosamel flat out! My boys have family surnames in the middle: Coe & Nash. Love, love, love those surnames in the middle!! 😀

GracePheiffer Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 12:51 pm

I’m so glad Hugh Grant has John before Mungo.
Can you imagine a baby named Hugh Mungo? Humongo?

KrissyKat Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 1:03 pm

Best article in awhile! Super interesting 🙂

Pink Peonies Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 1:58 pm

This is a GREAT article! It gave me zero ideas for future babies, but interesting entertainment.

miloowen Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 2:27 pm

Cool article. In my family too, many middle names are family names. Both my grandfathers –Thomas Irving Brewster and George Wadsworth Owen — have family names for middles, and you can find the old New England names of Knight, Dow, Cushman, Merrill, Lyman, and Cushing among our family names. My mother’s middle is Motzveldt, from the Norwegian branch of the family, and both my sisters gave family names to their children — Cassandra Hammett and Matthew Brewster.

Mungo is awesome. I went to school with a girl named Delight Pink (she named her sons Michael, David, and Christopher, so we know what she thought about her name). Joan of Arc may be strange in English, but in Catholic European countries it’s not that unusual to see names such as Jeanne d’Arc, Gianbattista, Rosario, Concepcion, etc.

auroradawn Says:

March 9th, 2012 at 6:21 pm

Some of these names are wonderful! I LOVE the Fiennes brothers’ names! except I can’t stomach the Judas association with Iscariot, no matter how cool-sounding the name. Does anyone know why Joseph got it? I’d like to find out it has other associations.
We have a friend named William who’s in his fifties and has been “Bill” all his life. He is a very sweet man and, I’m sure, has no historical sympathy with the Kaiser, but a year or two ago he apparently got tired of being a “Bill” and insisted, with the help of a nameplate, that all friends and acquaintances henceforth call him “Willhelm.” We have accordingly adjusted.

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