Nicknamed Starbabies: Boys edition

Nicknamed Starbabies: Boys edition

by Linda Rosenkrantz

We recently looked at the nickname names celebs have been giving their daughters and of course there was an equal number of casual, colloquial names bestowed on their brothers. In the case of the boys, we see more mid-20th century monikers, including some that are pretty tough guy, if not badass (looking at you, Buster and Spike)– and not as many Victorian valentines.

This is definitely a trend that is celebrity-sanctioned.

ACEa nickname once reserved for daredevil pilots, card sharks and the occasional gangster is now a respectable and hot full name for boys. It’s #290 on the US charts, 159 on Nameberry and—sorry–#50 for dogs. Natalie Appleton, Jennie Fitch and Casey Daigle, Tom Dumont,  and Jessica Simpson are a few of the celebs holding Aces in their hands.

BILLYHelena Bonham Carter and Tim Burton went old-school with this freckle-faced retro nickname name, as did John Stamos just a few months ago. Clue: Burton’s and Stamos’s fathers are both named William.

BOOMER—Olympic medalist swimmer Michael Phelps (shown), when asked how he came up with this wildly animated name simply explained that he and wife Nicole thought it was different and cool. Two years late, their second son was christened the more restrained, literary Beckett.

BUDDYJamie and Jools Oliver named their 4th child Buddy Bear Maurice, following the sister-bouquet of Poppy, Daisy and Petal Blossom Rainbow; singer Tom Fletcher has a Buddy Bob. Buddy is currently #282 in England, #3 for dogs. In the US, it was 220 back in 1933.

BUSTERAnother badass nickname name was chosen by filmmaker Ethan Coen, whose daughter is nickname-named Dusty.

BUZZThis nickname has a midcentury Buzz Aldrin/Lightyear vibe. Rocker Tom Fletcher jazzed it up when he called his son Buzz Michelangelo in 2014—one of the most creative combos ever.

CYSpelled Cy, Si or Sy, this nickname for Cyrus (though artist Cy Twombly was born Edwin and baseball’s Cy Young was christened Denton) is rarely found on birth certificates, making Zoe Soldana’s choice for Bowie’s twin something of a surprise in 2015.

ERNIETop Chef Stephanie Izard went straight to the old-timey nickname for her son’s name, rarely heard since he was rooming with Bert on Sesame Street. Trivia tidbit: Izard has a dog named Burt.

FREDDIELong hugely popular in Britain—where it’s now in the Top 20 and a celebrity fave—Freddie is just beginning to revive here. So it was no great surprise when One Direction’s Louis Tomlinson called his boy Freddie Reign.

GUSGus has long been a candidate for possible successor to Max and Sam, and it still might happen—it’s 508 on Nameberry.  Poppy Montgomery and Ashley Williams are moms to boys named Gus.

HALThis standard nn for Henry and Harold was picked for their sons by Hank Azaria and Benedict Cumberbatch—we strongly suspect that the latter’s may well have had some Shakespearean inspiration.

HANKThis other Henry nickname, attached to such heroes as baseball legend Hank Aaron and Hank Williams, is currently ranking at #450, and was picked by Brooklyn Decker and Andy Roddick in 2015.

JOHNNYAnother classic midcentury nickname making a comeback (it’s at #346) was the name Mira Sorvino picked for her son.

ODIELast year, actress Ashley Williams named her second son Odie Sal; Odie comes from a great-grandfather of dad Neal Dodson, Sal is a nod to the beloved children’s book Blueberries for Sal, a favorite of both grandmas. Odie can be a nickname for Odell.

OZZIELong associated with first Ozzie and Harriet and then Ozzy Osbourne, Ozzie is now fair game for all; actor Max Greenfield used it for his son.

ROCKYSarah Michelle Gellar and Freddie Prinze Jr. are parents of a Rocky, which has had a variety of namesakes over the years, from triumphant boxer to raccoon to rooster to toy wrestler in Toy Story. It now finds itself on the popularity lists of the US, the UK and Nameberry (at #603)—it was up at 243 on the SSA list in 1956.

SIDNot often found on its own (Sid Caesar was born Isaac, Sid Vicious was John, most others were officially Sidney), but Jason Biggs and Jenny Mollen went straight to the nickname for their first son.  Number 2 son is the very different Lazlo.

SONNYThe generic nickname Sonny has been making a surprise comeback—it’s now at #777 in the US, 87 in Scotland and 116 in England. One celebrity who picked it for her son is actor/author/TV personality Whitney Port.

SPIKESpike is macho with a sense of humor and a cool creative feel, thanks to directors Spike Lee (born Shelton) and Jonze (born Adam) and Brit wit Spike Milligan (Terence). Mike Myers referenced Jonze and Mulligan when asked about his choice.

About the Author

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz

Linda Rosenkrantz is the co-founder of Nameberry, and co-author with Pamela Redmond of the ten baby naming books acknowledged to have revolutionized American baby naming. You can follow her personally at InstagramTwitter and Facebook. She is also the author of the highly acclaimed New York Review Books Classics novel Talk and a number of other books.