Celebrity Names Blog

First Lady of Tasmania Reveals How She Picks A Name

First Lady of Tasmania Reveals How She Picks A Name

Larissa Bartlett, First Lady of Tasmania, recently let The New Yorker in on her naming process. TheTalk of the Town column reports that Bartlett's son, Hudson, is "named in part for the Hudson River and in part for Peter Hudson, a well-known Tasmanian football player."  No word on the story behind Bartlett's other child's name -- daughter Matilda.  Our bet is that Larissa and David Barlett, her husband and Tasmania's premier, were inspired by Waltzing Matilda, perhaps the most famous song to come out of Australia.  This song seems to have inspired Australian Heath Ledger and Michelle Williams, who named their daughter Matilda, as well as Australian Rachel Griffiths, whose son Banjo is presumably named after Banjo Paterson, author of the ballad.

So our musing of the day:

1. What names fit the Hudson criteria?

  • must be the name of a water source (we'll expand beyond river)
  • must be the name of a celebrity figure (we'll expand beyond football)

2. What names fit the Matilda criterion? 

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Sarah Palin Didn't Make These Names Popular. Witches Did.

Sarah Palin Didn't Make These Names Popular. Witches Did.

Samantha, that "timeless classic" that today calls to mind Sex in the City and American Girl dolls, was actually no more popular than Permelia before the debut of Bewitched in 1964, writes Laura Wattenberg on our sister site, Baby Name Wizard. A single magic tv character made this name a star. (Fun fact: the only Samantha among celebrity babies in our database is the daughter of Sex in the City alum, Cynthia Nixon.)

Think Samantha is an unusual example? Think again. As Wattenberg commented on Lemondrop, "Your recipe for a pop culture phenomenon? You take a movie or a TV show with attractive young people who have supernatural powers." Twilight's bevy of hits are only the latest example of this. Do you know what other "classic" names were launched by cute, supernaturally-experienced teens?

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You Tell Us: What Names Do Your Kids Love?

You Tell Us: What Names Do Your Kids Love?

In our post on names for the iCarly generation, reader Sara commented:

I think it would be so interesting to interview a bunch of 4-5 year olds and ask them their favorite names - trying to predict the popular baby names 25 years from now!

Great idea, Sara! We know from experience that kids can be name nerds too. Just ask Dakota Fanning, who reportedly

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The Period Names of Mad Men: Are They Accurate?

The Period Names of Mad Men: Are They Accurate?

Mad Men lovers get ready -- Sunday night the fourth season begins, at 10/9c on AMC.  This is a show with style, every detail -- from clothes and hairdos to the fruit in the fruit basket -- meticulously chosen to evoke the late 1950s/early 1960s. 

We've written on the names of Mad Men at length, check out:

Today we are wondering:  Were the names Don, Betty, Joan, Roger, Peggy, Pete, Trudy, Sally, Bobby, and Gene actually popular name choices in mid-century New York, the show's setting?  

To explore this, we'll look at two things:

1. The popularity of the above names in New York in 1960. (Using Name Mapper)

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New Baby Alert: Juan Pablo Montoya and the Ladylike Exotics of 1925

New Baby Alert: Juan Pablo Montoya and the Ladylike Exotics of 1925

Following fast on news of Jimmie Johnson's Genevieve Marie, a new NASCAR baby: Juan Pablo Montoya and his wife, Connie Freydell, have welcomed Manuela.

Manuela is a feminine form of Manuel, the Spanish cognate of the Hebrew name meaning "god with us." It's the #96 name in Spain. In the US?

It's an old lady name.

Maneula enjoyed a long

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Shakespeare Names: The Merchant of Venice

Shakespeare Names: The Merchant of Venice

Last Saturday we took a look at the names of Shakespeare's The Winter's Tale, and today we look at The Merchant of Venice.  Though the two plays are running in New York's Central Park, the Public Theater's Shakespeare in the Park productions tend to get nation-wide exposure -- thanks to the stars (Al Pacino this year) and to the philosophy (it matters that everyone go to the theater, regardless of income, so free tickets).  And thanks, of course, to Shakespeare.  Presidents from Lincoln to Obama have turned to his plays for advice; authors and filmmakers turn to this words for titles (think The Sound and the Fury and What Dreams May Come); and his expressions are everywhere in our daily speech (one fell swoop; what's done is done; it was greek to me; in my mind's eye).  So, we wonder, what does Shakespeare in The Merchant of Venice provide for naming inspiration?

The Merchant of Venice

Shylock

  • Unlikely to be appearing on the charts.  Merchant is perhaps the most infamous of Shakespeare's plays -- given the play's anti-Semitism and how Shakespeare depicts Shylock -- and it's impossible to separate the name from the play and its disturbing discrimination.

Portia

  • A strong and sexy name, it also sounds intelligent and commanding.  
  • Not likely to be shortened.
  • Also seen in Julius Caesar
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Would You Let Twitter Name Your Baby?

Would You Let Twitter Name Your Baby?

Can't get enough of vintage names? Check out Twitter. With #OldPeopleNames one of the hottest trending topics on Twitter right now, Twitter users are putting out vintage suggestions at the rate of several dozen per minute. We've seen lots of suggestions for RufusAgnes,Gertrude, and "anything with Mae." Also suggested: Cleofus, Melouise, Gussie.

Twitter + Old Lady Names? We love it when two of our favorite things come together. If you'd like to tweet your own, may we suggest (our essays on) EllaNylepthaBernice or Louisa

Clearly, the folks suggesting "Adam and Eve" are having fun. But names and Twitter can be serious business too. Just ask Mario Lopez.

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Angelina Jolie's Thigh Tattoo Inspires a Name Game

Angelina Jolie's Thigh Tattoo Inspires a Name Game

Angelina Jolie's new thigh tattoo set tongues wagging when she refused to tell a reporter what it said, offering only that it was "for Brad." This being the age of internets, the Mystery of the Obfuscated Love Tat was quickly solved by a Jezebel commenter. 

Jolie is known for her tattoos, including the geographical coordinates of the birth places of her children, Maddox ChivanPax Thien, Zahara MarleyShiloh NouvelKnox Leon, and Vivienne Marcheline. Her latest tattoo, the theory goes, reads Whiskey Bravo -- William Bradley Pitt's first initials rendered in the military spelling alphabet. Which, it turns out, has a lot of cute celebrity baby names on it. 

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Shakespeare Names: The Winter's Tale

Shakespeare Names: The Winter's Tale

These summer nights in New York City's Central Park, Shakespeare fills the air.  The Public Theater's Shakespeare In The Park is in full swing, with The Winter's Tale and The Merchant of Venice running in repertory.  (Tickets are free and available for all intrepid line waiters.  Apparently if you want to see Merchant, plan on getting in line before 6am -- the name Al Pacino perhaps a bigger draw than even that of Shakespeare.)  Shakespeare is great with stories, the messiness of life, and emotional truth.  Another talent: he's great with names.  So today we look at the names of The Winter's Tale, and next Tuesday we'll take a look atThe Merchant of Venice.

The Winter's Tale

Hermione

  • Lots of recent attention given J.K. Rowling's choice of the name for her Harry Potter character.  Might Rowling have been inspired by this Hermione, who shows her honor, integrity and heart in a very trying situation?  Also, Rowling's Hermione dabbles in time travel, as does Shakespeare's Hermione -- in a sense.
  • In the play, Hermione is Queen of Silcilia.  This names sounds as elegant and regal as Margaret, Catherine, Victoria.
  • Not all that nickname friendly -- if you go with this name, plan on using it in full. 

Paulina

  • Strong and feminine name.  Could this name have a future?
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What Will Miranda Cosgrove Fans Name Their Babies?

What Will Miranda Cosgrove Fans Name Their Babies?

By now you know that Despicable Me, the animated film that ruled the box office last weekend, features "three adorable orphans with old-lady names." One of them -- Margo -- is voiced by Miranda Cosgrove, the popular star of Nickelodeon's iCarly. If you've read this blog lately, you know we love old lady names, so we're thrilled by Despicable Me's young Margo, Edith and Agnes. But is Margo really an old lady name? And how does its appeal compare with that of other Miranda Cosgrove character names?

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