When I started reading this article, I thought it would instruct readers how to come up with ridiculous, outrageous, notorious names similar to the names that typically score high in “The Worst Celebrity-Baby Names of the Year” polls. I couldn’t have been more wrong.
Instead, the extensive research project written-up by Amanda Dobbins for Vulture.com went in the opposite direction. Apparently Dobbin’s research didn’t indicate that actors with silly names like North West, Blue Ivy and Apple win awards. Movie stars most typically have names with these characteristics:
-Movie-star names are most likely to start with a “J” like Jeff (Bridges), Jude (Law) and James (Franko); Julia (Roberts), Judi (Dench) and Jodie (Foster).
-Male movies starts are more likely to have one-syllable names; female movie stars are more likely to have two syllable names.
-Catherine (Keener and Zeta-Jones) is more common among movie stars than either Katherine (Hepburn) or Kate (Blanchette, Hudson, Beckinsale and Winslett).
-Robert (Benigni, De Niro, Downey, Jr., Duval and Pattinson) is the most versatile name for male movie stars.
-Many female movie stars have unique, two-syllable “M”-names (like Meryl, Mia, Mila, Mira and MoNique)
-Helen (Bonham Carter, Hunt, Mirren) is also a common name for female movie stars.
-Actors with names starting with a “Z” like Zach (Galiafinakis) and Zooey (Deschanel) aren’t likely to win awards, but they do make money.
-Don’t name your child Xander. (There are no award-winners whose names that start with an “X.”)
I enjoyed reading the research report about the names of movie stars, but I’m not sure the statistical distribution of movie star names (e.g., by first letter or the number of syllables) is statistically different than the statistical distribution of names by first letter or number of syllables for the general public. (For example, a quick look at the top-ten Boys’ names by decade indicates that J is, by far, the most common first initial for all boys born in the first two decades of the 21st century and all 10 decades of the 20th century.
But, apart from a strong run by Jennifer and Jessica in the 1980s, the most common first initials for women over the last 50 years seem to be “M” (Mary and Michelle), “S” (Sarah, Samantha, Stephanie and Susan) and “E” (Emily, Emma and Elizabeth).
Here’s a question I’d like to ask Amanda Dobbins: Why on earth would you want your child to become a movie star? Here’s a good reason to guide your child towards another career: If your child becomes a movie star, that would increase the odds that your grandchildren would wind-up having ridiculous, outrageous celebrity baby names.