Celebrity Names Blog

Jack Is Back, But Where Did Kiefer Come From?

Jack Is Back, But Where Did Kiefer Come From?
Photo Credit: Fame/Flynet

Four years after he last saved the world, Jack Bauer again had TV fans on the edge of their seats to see if he could pull off the impossible once more (saving the world, and making us interested in a once-canceled TV show) during Monday night's premiere of 24: Live Another Day. We'll leave the analysis of all the action, Wikileaks references and drone attacks to other sites. Here, we want to revisit the story of star Kiefer Sutherland's name.

The onetime Lost Boy and Young Gun, who is now 47, is part of the first generation of celebrity kids with extremely unusual monikers. The Canadian-born son of actors Donald Sutherland and Shirley Douglas has a twin sister with the very common name Rachel. But Kiefer was named after Warren Kiefer, which, depending on where on the Internet you look, is either the pen name of director Lorenzo Sabatini or the real name of the American who went by the name Lorenzo Sabatini when he directed the Italian-made 1964 movie Castle of the Living Dead, in which Donald Sutherland made his big-screen debut. Either way, it's a pretty touching tribute to a friend.

A more common surname, Kiefer is a German word for pine tree and the person who makes barrels or oversees wine cellars (interesting, given Kiefer Sutherland's well-documented DUI troubles).

Sutherland still hasn't quite managed to inspire a generation of copycats in the first name department. His 24 character on the other hand, was at his TV peak right about the same time Jack ranked #34 in U.S. baby names, its highest level since the 1920s. Though in this country it's still nowhere near the popularity of John, for which Jack was once considered a mere nickname, it's long been a favorite character name. The sound of the name is simultaneously bold and friendly, befitting a variety of interesting men and boys. Just look at the list of fictional Jacks generated by BabyNameWizard.com users --- from Captain Jack Sparrow to Mother Goose's Jack and Jill.

Which name do you prefer: Jack or Kiefer? Would you ever name your child after a good friend? Share your thoughts in the comments!

- S.R.W. 


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

May 6, 2014 7:53 PM
By AJ (not verified)

Love the name Kiefer, but kind of feel like the no-good boyfriend on Teen Mom has ruined it. (Or more likely, the mom's awful mispronunciation of it: Keeee-FUH!)

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I am also a fan he was, good luck will come to him.

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