Celebrity Names Blog

Sorry Charlie!

Sorry Charlie!

Thanks a lot, Charlie Sheen. It looks like yet another celebrity has ruined a perfectly good name for the rest of us. Or has he?

We've written in the past about names and infamy and there is no clear formula to predict whether negative publicity surrounding a name will impact its popularity -- for better or for worse. 

When we wrote about Vienna  last winter, we predicted that the name's association with the Bachelor's villainess would make it more familiar to parents-to-be and that the name would rise in popularity.  And Monica was the rare Top 100 name to drop out of use precipitously when it became associated with scandal. 

Given the history of the name Charlie -- previous Charlies from the entertainment world include Charlie Chaplin, Charlie Brown, Charlie from Charlie's Angels -- as well as the name's enduring popularity, we don't see one television star on a rampage making a big impact on parents who love the name. 

Charlie has ranked in the top-500 for baby boys' names as long as the Social Security Administration has been tracking such things.  And that doesn't even include the many more Charlies out there whose given name is actually Charles, which has never ranked below 70 in the United States.

Not only does Charlie endure as a boys' name, in recent years it's been rising as a girls name as well.  Celebrities including Rebecca Romijn and Jerry O'Connell,as well as Jeremy Sisto have named their daughters Charlie.  And we assume that like Charles/Charlie, there are lots of little Charlottes running around playgrounds today with the nickname Charlie. 

As we discussed here yesterday in our post Charlie Vs. Chuck, Charlie Sheen's given name is neither Charlie nor Charles.  It is Carlos. (His original surname was Estevez, like brother Emilio). He adopted the Anglicized stage name Charlie Sheen in 1974 when he landed his first acting role, presumably to come across as more of an Average Joe or, er, "good time Charlie."

What do you think? Has Charlie Sheen ruined the name Charlie? Or was it already on its way out for boys since being adopted as a girls' name?

--J.B. + M.F.


Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

March 5, 2011 11:55 AM
By Lane

Nope! I think it's still rising. (I love the picture for this post.)

March 8, 2011 2:57 PM
By Lara Jane (not verified)

If God had granted us more than one child, our second boy would've been Charlie (Charles), and Charlie Sheen's antics don't sway me from loving the name in the least!

Then again, I'm one of the few of my generation who don't hate George W. Bush, and George was on our list as well. So I guess I am not easily influenced. :)

March 17, 2011 5:34 AM
By Charly (not verified)

My given name as a girl is Charly. I love it, and rarely even thought of the connection with Mister Sheen. (Though I love "Cats Quote Charlie Sheen...")

The spelling really does make a difference. I expect that a Jordyn wouldn't see "Jordan" as being HER name.

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