Celebrity Names Blog

Titanic's Jack Dawson Only One of Many Heroes Named Jack

Titanic's Jack Dawson Only One of Many Heroes Named Jack
Titanic film

This month marks the 100th anniversary of the sinking of the RMS Titanic and also, in case you haven't noticed the massive marketing campaign, the rerelease of James Cameron's 1997 smash hit Titanic, now in 3D. 

The film didn't do much to spur the popularity of Rose, which was peaking as a top 20 name in the 1910s when the Titanic sank, but has steadily declined. It has plateaued at a rank in the 300s and remained there for the past several decades, now serving as a tremendously popular middle name, especially among celebrity babies

Jack, however, is a different story. In the 1910s, Jack was the 23rd most popular name among baby boys and reached its peak during the next decade, slowly declining until the 1980s when it began to climb again. Jack was rising fast by the time Titanic was released, but the film definitely gave it a boost in 1998. 

The name also has an interesting history behind it. Jack was often used as the name for a plucky young hero in legends and fairy tales and was portrayed in a variety of ways -- as a foolish young boy who becomes brave as in Jack and the Beanstalk to a strong and clever young man as he is in Jack the Giant Killer. 

You might even have noticed that all different kinds of heroes in movies, television shows, books and more have been repeatedly dubbed Jack. Besides Jack Dawson, a character that propelled Leo DiCaprio to stardom, Jacks can range from young, brave heroes like Jack "Cowboy" Kelly in the cult musical Newsies to the charming and clever Captain Jack Sparrow in the Pirates of the Caribbean films. Rough and ruthless Jack Bauer from TV series 24, Jack Shepard as the leader of the survivors on Lost and the hero of many Tom Clancy novels, Jack Ryan, are just a few more.

There have been so many, especially recently, that we have almost become accostomed, in a way, to think of characters named Jack as heroes, beginning with the hero Jack of the aforementioned folktales. Though, of course, Jack can also be a great name for an antagonist -- Jack Torrance of The Shining for one.

What do you think of the name Jack? What are some other heroes named Jack/which are your favorites? 

--A.F.

Comments

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April 6, 2012 4:15 PM
By Elizabeth (not verified)

There's a Jack in Torchwood, Eureka, Stargate SG-1, & Bones.

April 9, 2012 2:01 PM
By Laura Lake (not verified)

My husband and I joke that there is always someone named Jack in every movie, and we are rarely wrong! It does seem cliche by now, at least to us.

April 10, 2012 11:51 AM
By Scarlettb (not verified)

It's worth considering that Jack is also a very, very common nickname of a very, very common name, John. My nephew won't show up on any SSA lists of Jacks, because his birth certificate says "John," but Jack is what he's called every day.

April 10, 2012 12:09 PM
By Anonymous (not verified)

I love the name Jack! Always have. I love it so much that I named my son Jack. It is a strong masculine name, so it doesn't surprise me that it is often the name given to the hero/protagonist in books and film.

Jack is an absolutely classic name that I don't think will ever go out of style nor do I think it can be overdone. There are so many "new-age" names that become overdone too quickly...those are the names I get sick of hearing, and you know that in a couple of years they'll be on their way out.

April 11, 2012 12:08 AM
By Anonymous (not verified)

Jack Russell is the hero of the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series I co-wrote with my husband. It's a perfect name for him. Jack IS a Jack Russell terrier and also belongs to Sergeant Russell therefore, he is Jack Russell twice over.
If you want to see this brave, clever Jack he hangs out at http://www.jackrusselldogdetective.com , and also in Scholastic book clubs, in Bolinda Audio and with Kane Miller US.

April 11, 2012 1:48 AM
By Denym (not verified)

I hate the name Jack. Its a nickname, its boring, its overused, and it can be easily teased due to "jack-off". Also a slang for masturbation. Nothing appealling about it, much prefer Jax.

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