Celebrity Names Blog

Elizabeth Banks Gives "Miracle" Son A Lucky Name

Elizabeth Banks Gives "Miracle" Son A Lucky Name
Diane Cohen/Fame Pictures

In a candid post in her blog on Wednesday,Elizabeth Banks opened up about her long struggle to conceive, writing, “The one true hurdle I've faced in life is that I have a broken belly.” However, the actress concluded with the joyous news that, thanks to a gestational surrogate, she is now a first-time mother to a son named Felix Handelman.

The 30 Rock star – who is married to her college sweetheart, author Max Handleman – went on to detail the decision behind the name of her “miracle” baby. “Felix means ‘happy’ and ‘lucky’ in Latin,” Elizabeth wrote. “And true to his name, Felix is a very happy baby and a blessing in our lives."

Felix, which also means “fortunate,” is known for its religious ties – four popes and several saints have shared the name. It has long appeared on the top baby names list, though its popularity was greater in the early part of the 20th century than in the end. In 1902 it was #154, but since then it’s decreased in usage and currently sits at #339.

In pop culture, people often associate it with cartoon character Felix the Cat or neurotic roommate Felix Unger from The Odd Couple. More recently in Harry Potter, Felix Felicis was the name of a potion which granted luck to whoever drank it. Celebrities including TV star Barry Watson and quirky actress Gillian Anderson both named their sons Felix – the latter also has a son named Oscar, making for a memorable sibset.

Back to new mom Elizabeth Banks, in a funny twist, her character on 30 Rock – TV news anchor Avery, who is married to Alec Baldwin’s character Jack – recently became a mother on the NBC show. The fictional couple gave their little girl the name Elizabeth (in honor of Tina Fey’s character Liz), but call her by the nickname Liddy instead.

So life imitates art in this case. Though this real-life story sounds much more rewarding the way Elizabeth describes it, tweeting earlier: “What's greater than overjoyed? Megajoyed? Add humility, love, awe. Sprinkle w/cute. Result: my new life as a mom.”

What do you think of the name Felix? Does it make you immediately think of Felix the Cat or Felix Unger? Know anyone with the name who tends to be lucky? Weigh in on all things Felix below.



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March 31, 2011 9:43 AM
By AngelaAiea (not verified)

I love this name. I asked my boyfriend if we can use it in the future. His response, "Why? Are we having a cat-baby?"


March 31, 2011 10:05 AM
By Jennie

I love Felix and I love this story. I don;t watch 30 Rock and never heard of Elizabeth Banks (!!!) but now I'm a fan!

Also, Gillian Anderson witha Felix | Oscar pairing.. I think that is just too much! I can only guess she was a huge Odd Couple fan.

April 5, 2011 12:10 PM
By Pamela S. (not verified)

I work with high school foreign exchange inbound from about 60 different countries, and it seems like about half the German boys are named Felix. Okay, maybe not half, maybe only a quarter. It may not be very common here, but about 16-18 years ago it was all the rage in Germany.

So, I am of a generation that the name should scream Odd Couple, or cartoon character, and for sure it used to, but now it just sounds German to me.

April 5, 2011 2:15 PM
By Kira (not verified)

I must admit that it does bring a cat to mind, but I like a lot! The "x" ending is so interesting. Reminds me of the girls name Calyx.

April 5, 2011 2:50 PM
By Rei (not verified)

I don't particularly like the name Felix, but I love the fact that they focused on meaning. And Felix has an amazing meaning.

April 5, 2011 4:08 PM
By Bevin (not verified)

We named our 9 month old son Felix. Arriving 5 weeks early after a helicopter ride to hospital, an emergency c-section and 2 weeks in NICU, there was no question as to which name we would pick.

I love everything about the name and it suits him down to the ground. It's a little early to tell if the name will bring him luck though the lotto is up to $32m tonight... might buy a ticket!

April 5, 2011 4:08 PM
By Lara Jane (not verified)

I adore it and it has become my #1 choice for a younger brother for Henry. Unless God decides to bless us again, we won't be using it, but it would be a sweet way to honor my great-grandfather, Felix (born in the Philippines and died serving in WWII), since Henry was inadvertently named for my husband's great-grandfather.

There is that "feline" connection, but most people of my generation aren't aware of it, much less the generation to follow...

April 5, 2011 6:28 PM
By Jane (not verified)

Personally I always think of Felix the cartoon cat, but it seems to be a hipster name these days. Like Casper, it is shaking off its old cartoon associations!

April 5, 2011 6:32 PM
By Jane (not verified)

Oh, and Oscar too! (Oscar The Grouch from Sesame Street!)

April 6, 2011 12:55 AM
By Sarah (not verified)

Sweet story and a sweet name :)

Gillian Anderson also has a daughter named Piper Maru. I think Piper, Oscar, and Felix are a brilliant sibset.

April 26, 2012 8:56 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

My son, who turned 2 this past March is named Felix James after his grand fathers. My husband's dad is Felix and my father is James. It is a great strong name. Not common but no weird. I Love this name and it fits my son's personality perfectly.

September 8, 2014 6:59 AM
By click here (not verified)

I enjoyed reading your post and found it to be informative and to the topic

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