Names Hot in Hollywood…but nowhere else!
By Linda Rosenkrantz
There are some names that we’ve become so accustomed to seeing on the covers of People et al, attached to the babes of Tinseltown, that we assume that their popularity has instantly spread beyond the confines of Malibu and Calabasas. But it ain’t necessarily so. There are several appellations worn by more than one starbaby that have yet to hit the current Top 1000 list—though this could change with the new rankings coming next month! Some of these names did have some nineteenth or twentieth century success, others have never entered the list at all.
Alabama—Used by Drea de Matteo and Shooter Jennings and by Travis Barker for their daughters, this Southern state name—unlike neighboring Georgia and Carolina—appeared only once on the Social Security list, and that was in 1881.
Blue—Beyonce and Jay Z made quite the colorful splash when they named their daughter Blue Ivy; several years earlier Dave Evans dubbed his girl Blue Angel. Many others have picked Blue as the middle name for their kids–both girls and boys–including Maria Bello, Soleil Moon Frye and Veronica Webb, but the name has not yet entered the popularity list.
Clementine—This vintage choice has been both a Hollywood and a Nameberry fave, picked by Claudia Schiffer, Ethan Hawke and Rachel Griffiths, while Cybill Shepherd chose it for her now-grown-actress daughter back in 1979. But it hasn’t been on the list for sixty years.
Hartley—Joining Harley, Harper and Harlow in the Starbaby Club is newcomer Hartley—given to one boy and one girl child in the past couple of years. It did appear two times on the boy’s list at the turn of the last century, but not since.
Hero—This Greek mythological and Shakespearean girl’s name has been used for one starbaby’s first name and for another’s middle—despite the possibility of gender confusion. Still a long-shot for more general popularity.
Mabel—Following in the footsteps of sister Sadie, saucy Mabel was a Top 20 name in the 1880s and 1890s, but has been off the charts for almost half a century. But enough celebs—including Chad Lowe, Nenah Cherry, Bruce Willis and Dermot Mulroney—have chosen it that this could soon change.
Marlowe—The idea of using this English surname for a girl got its start in the celebrisphere with its use by both Sienna Miller and Jason Schwartzman. It may not be long till Marlowe hits the charts, along with the revived Marlo.
Maxwell—Yes, Maxwell is Number 116 on the boys’ list, but wait—we’re talking about girls here. After being chosen for their daughters by high-profile Jessica Simpson and then by Lindsay Sloane, we fully expect her to show up on the pink side before long.
Poppy—With no fewer than four starbabies named Poppy—the latest being the daughter of Anna Paquin and Stephen Moyer—Poppy feels like a sure bet to pop onto the list. She’s already Number 14 in England and Wales.
Romy—Romy, which started life as a diminutive of Rosemary, and is right in step with other trendy Ro-names Roman, Rowan and Romeo, has been picked by Matt Lauer and by Sofia Coppola; it was used by Ellen Barkin and Gabriel Byrne for their daughter more than twenty years ago.
Tallulah—Tallulah Belle was the name chosen by Demi Moore and Bruce Willis for their third now-grown daughter, at the time seen as a somewhat outlandish choice. Now there are starbaby Tallulahs galore—including daughters of Patrick Dempsey, Damian Dash, Rachel Roy, Sara Rue, and the late Philip Seymour Hoffman. She’s Number 165 on Nameberry–but she’s yet to make it into the national Top 1000.
Bear—Two Bear cubs have brought a lot of attention to this big, burly animal name—the alliterative Alicia Silverstone’s Bear Blu and Kate Winslet’s Bear Blaze. But do we expect it to catch on big-time? Not so much.
Caspar—This ancient name of one of the Three Magi was chosen by Claudia Schiffer and by Atomic Kitten Jenny Frost, while iconoclastic namer (remember Pilot Inspektor?) Jason Lee called his daughter Casper. That was the spelling (for boys) that was quite popular at the end of the 19th century, while Caspar has never ranked.
Dashiell—When Samuel Hammett chose to write his detective stories using his middle (and mother’s maiden) name Dashiell, he couldn’t have foreseen that his name would be hot in Hollywood more than a century later, chosen by such celebs as Cate Blanchett, Jason Priestley, Autumn Reeser, author Helen Fielding, and movie mogul Harvey Weinstein. Number 44 on Nameberry, but nowhere in the Top 1000.
Magnus—This royal Scandinavian name has emigrated big-time into the US celebrisphere, used by Will Farrell and his Swedish wife, Kirsty Swanson, and Elizabeth Banks. But though it’s a Top 6 name in Denmark and Norway, and Number 129 on Nameberry, Magnus is nowhere to be found on the US list.
Shepherd—Chosen by the Jerry Seinfelds and Jared Padalecki for their sons, and as a middle (but used as a first) by Zac Hanson, Shepherd and nickname Shep both were Top 1000 one-hit wonders—in the 1880s.
Story—Most word names haven’t yet spread to much of the civilian population, but nouns like this have appealed to some celebs—Jenna Elfman used it for her son and Minnie Driver made it her Henry’s middle.
Thatcher—Thatcher is one of hottest of the new occupational surname names, picked by both celebrity chef Cat Cora and actress Megyn Kelly for their boys. This is one we’re expecting to pop onto the popularity list soon: it’s currently 249 on Nameberry.
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on April 8th, 2014 at 12:43 am
I love Alabama, it’s so cute to me! And also Romy and Dashiell are ones I’d use on my own future kids. I’m shocked Clementine isn’t in the top 1000!
on April 8th, 2014 at 1:05 am
There are a couple little errors in the section about the name Shepherd, nothing outrageous, but I figured maybe you’d want to know. (sorry if I’m being irritating!)
on April 8th, 2014 at 1:11 am
Thanks–Padalecki typo has been fixed.
on April 8th, 2014 at 1:31 am
I really like flower names so Poppy is really high up on my list. Everyone knows who Poppy Montgomery is in my family as detective shows are big with us, but still idk if I would ever use it. The teasing potential with Poopy, Puppy, Peepee is all too much for me. Also, I don’t like any of the suggested long forms like Penelope etc…
on April 8th, 2014 at 2:16 am
I live in the UK and I gotta say – there are a fair few on this list that are popular over here :/ I personally know of a Clementine, Tallulah, Mabel, Maxwell and Poppy. Having said that, there are some fantastic names on this list!
on April 8th, 2014 at 6:22 am
Jared revealed recently that Shepherd is actually his son’s middle name – his full name is actually Austin Shepherd, and they call him Shep.
And I love Tallulah! It’s pretty.
on April 8th, 2014 at 8:48 am
I love Mabel, Romy, Caspar, Dashiell, and Shepherd, and I’d be happy to use any of them. I really like Alabama too, but I doubt I’d be brave enough for it.
A friend of mine has a young Tallula(h). It’s not my cup of tea, but I think it works well on a non-starbaby.
on April 8th, 2014 at 11:28 am
Um, Maxwell needs to stay far away from the girls’ top 1000.
Alabama – This is on my GP list. It’s loaded with personal and family significance for me. I’d only consider it as a middle name; you really do have to be Shooter Jennings’ daughter to pull it off as a first.
Birdie – I adore this as a nickname. Byrd is a family surname, so I could use it if I put Byrd in the middle spot. 🙂
Cosima – so very stunning and underused
Mabel – This one has that steel magnolia vibe to it. It’s very sweet too.
Caspar – I’m dying to see this used again. It’s so cool.
Ignatius – This is so bad ass. I like it best as a middle name.
Magnus – I’ve met one! He’s an adorable little blondie.
Shepherd – I really, really like this.
on April 8th, 2014 at 11:51 am
Romy is a long-time favorite of mine (either as a nn for Rosemary or on its own). I also love Marlo, Cosima, Mabel, Clementine and Tallulah. Birdie and Poppy are sweet, too.
I can’t imagine ever being on board with Maxwell as a girl’s name. I do like Shepherd, Thatcher and Dashiell. The rest of the boy names I’m kind of “meh” on although Casper could grow one me for a little boy.
on April 8th, 2014 at 12:06 pm
How ironic that the really great celebrity-picked names (Birdie, Mabel, Romy, Dashiell, Magnus, Shepherd, etc.) don’t catch on and the ugly, crude, and crass ones seem to more.
on April 8th, 2014 at 12:50 pm
I really like Birdie, Magnus, Caspar and Bear, and Hero is a guilty pleasure of mine. So I’m happy they still are undiscovered 🙂
on April 8th, 2014 at 7:06 pm
I just came across Orson and it fits this bill too– It is Jason Priestly’s son Dashiell’s middle name. This was a great list.
on April 13th, 2014 at 10:25 am
And as of yesterday, we can add Sunday to the list.
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