With baby-naming becoming a competitive sport in Hollywood, what are the best and worst starbaby names of the past few years? Here, according to Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran, bestselling authors of The Brilliant Book of Baby Names (Collins), are the most inspiring and most horrifying baby names chosen by celebrities.
FRANCES PEN – Amanda Peet
Proof that not all celebrities go for the attention-grabbing name, Frances is a quiet, gently frayed classic that deserves rejuvenation. And Pen, after Peet’s mother Penny, is an example of a fresh, creative way to honor a family member.
EVER GABO – Milla Jovovich & Paul Anderson
Jovovich has been quoted as saying the couple gave this “Scottish boy’s name” to their daughter as a bow to her husband’s Scottish roots. Er, according to their sources, Satran and Rosenkrantz don’t think so, though Ever might be the phonetic spelling of the Gaelic girls’ name Eamhair. Or even simply a modern word name. Whatever, the baby name experts love this evocative choice, and the child’s middle name is another inventive twist on grandparents’ names, in this case Jovovich’s mother Galina and father Bogie.
ORSON – Lauren Ambrose
The flame-haired Six Feet Under star picks up on what seems to be a new Hollywood tradition of naming babies after screen greats of yore, in this case the magnificent Orson Welles. Other Golden Age names fashionable in Hollywood and beyond: Ava, Audrey, Grace, Romy, Spencer.
STORY ELIAS – Jenna Elfman
Story is an unapologetically modern word name, with no history beyond the ancient tradition of spinning engaging tales. But the biblical Elias balances Story’s newfangled charm.
THE HENRYS – Julia Roberts et al
Is Henry the name of the year? Julia Roberts chose it for her newborn son, along with a diverse group of other celebrities in recent months, ranging from Heidi Klum and Seal to White Striper Jack White to Rachel Weisz. Ever since the birth of the British prince in the early 80s, parents have been giving Henry (and its offshoot Harry, as in Potter) another look. But while the name is rising through the popularity ranks, it’s so classic it could never be called trendy, and is a solid, attractive choice.
…AND THE WORST
ZEPPELIN — Jonathan Davis
After calling his last son Pirate, the lead singer of Korn chose to name his latest after a dirigible-unless it was in homage to earlier metal group Led Zeppelin. In either case, they’d better come up with a zippy nickname-and fast. And think twice before they name the next one Helicopter.
PTOLEMY — Gretchen Mol
An example of trying too hard to be cool by flaunting your arcane knowledge and picking the unpronounceable name of an ancient Greek scientist. You’ve got to wonder how many times poor Ptolemy will have to explain that the “P” is silent before he drops the name in favor of his middle name, John. Probably at around 12, the same age that Zowie Bowie became Joey.
KING JUSTICE — Jaceon (The Game) Taylor
Certain celebrities have taken the idea of show biz royalty and aristocracy way too literally. Now King Justice Taylor can lord it over Princes Michael Jackson I and II, Princess Tiaamii Andre, Barron Trump, Duke Keaton and Count and Countess Bonaduce, whenever he decrees a regal play date.
CASH — Annabeth Gish
There’s been a lot of talk about parents these days wanting to brand their babies, some going so far as to tag them with luxury labels, such as Lexus, Armani, Chanel and Chardonnay. But nothing beats cold Cash.
SHANTI — Nick Nolte
Although it has a lovely meaning-it connotes ‘peace’ in Sanskrit –there’s no telling how much shanty-in-old-shantytown teasing this little girl will endure. Two decades ago, Nolte named his son the rowdy name Brawley, so this could be seen as a step in the right direction.
Linda Rosenkrantz and Pamela Redmond Satran are the authors of eight bestselling baby-naming books, including The Brilliant Book of Baby Names and Cool Names for Babies. Their new book Cool Irish Names for Babies will be pubished by Collins in July 2008.
Their website is www.brilliantbabynamer.co.uk