Category: Charles

If you were to go solely by the tabloids, you might think that every celebrity’s baby boy was given the name of a New York borough or a Disney character or was his parents’ quirky Scrabble-letter invention.

Au contraire.

There is a very  healthy segment of show biz parents who are creating a major backlash to this trend–either that or they just like conservative, classic names.  Instead of screaming ‘Hey-look-at-me!’ (and my mama), these names  provide a sort of protective coating against that kind of often mocking attention, a layer of dignity and tradition.

Evidence?  Here, just looking at boys born since the Millenium, are some of the timeless classics, in their complete, traditional forms, that have been recent celebrity choices–not that they always succeeded in making their bearers paparazzi-proof.  (And, by the way, I’d be  interested to know if you think the preference for this kind of name relates to the celeb’s own personal or public image.)

ALEXANDERNaomi Watts & Liev Schreiber, Lauren Holly, Wolfgang Puck

CHARLESRussell Crowe, Chris O’Donnell, Cynthia Nixon, Emily Robison

CHRISTIANMarc Anthony, Pete Sampras


DAVID — Mo’Nique, J. K. Rowling

FRANKDiana Krall & Elvis Costello

FREDERICK — Mayim Bialik

GEORGEKristin Scott-Thomas, Eva Herzigova

HARRYDavid Letterman

HENRYHeidi Klum & Seal, Julia Roberts, Emily Robison, Rachel Weisz, Jack White & Karen Elson, Minnie Driver, Norah O’Donnell, Steve Zahn

JACKMatt Lauer, Joan London

JAMESSarah Jessica Parker & Matthew Broderick, Isaac Hanson, Colin Farrell, Kirk Cameron & Chelsea Noble

JOHNBono, Vanessa Paradis & Johnny Depp, Bridget Moynahan & Tom Brady, Julie Bowen, Nancy Grace, Lauryn Hill & Rohan Marley

JOSEPHTracy Lords, Cathy Moriarity

SAMUELNaomi Watts & Liev Schreiber, Jack Black, Elizabeth Vargas

THOMASJack Black, Dennis Quaid

WILLIAMKimberly Williams & Brad Paisley, Mary Louise Parker & Billy Cruddup, Clay Walker

In addition–though it’s not quite the same thing–there are the nickname versions, like Kate Winslet’s Joe and Charlie Sheen’s Bob, and the not-so-timeless semi-classics like Rainn Wilson’s Walter. And of course, there are the female equivalents–Amanda Peet’s Frances, Kelly Martin’s Margaret–but that’s for another time.

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Taking Baby Names Seriously

Baby Name Trends

 The economic downturn has affected just about every aspect of American life, and that even extends to baby naming.  We’ve noticed–and I don’t think it’s just among our enlightened readers–a definite change in attitude, away from trendiness and towards more solid, serious, traditional names. In other words, frivolousness is out, and substance is in.

With the President stressing the importance of our kids getting to college, many parents start to wonder–consciously or not–whether Caroline might just have some slight advantage in the acceptance process over Coco when her application to MIT is being considered, and if Charles might be considered a more serious prospect than Karrsen.

And it’s not just the timeless classics like James and Elizabeth which have never gone out of style that I’m talking about, but rather names that until lately were judged to be too solemn and serious and unbabyish and dated for consideration: dusty in-law — or grandparent –names like Murray and Marian.  The baby namers of the recent past, who were calling their kids Ashley and Brittany, Madison and Montana, and on to Jayden and Caden, would probably have laughed or turned up their noses at most of the names below, seeing them as way too adult, starchy and uncool.  But the times they are a-changing and the tide is turning, and these names have, in addition to a solid past, a foreseeable place on the kindergarten cubbies of the future.



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