The Ultimate Guide to Famous Names

Updated: June 4, 2020
How many non-famous kiddos are destined for the limelight based solely on their names? We break down the top famous names by occupation including the top actor and actress names, musician names, athlete names, and more.
Inspiration for choosing a destined-to-be-famous baby name

Will your child become the next A-list actor, Pulitzer prize winner, Olympic athlete, or world leader? Thanks to the How Famous is Your Name tool, there’s a way to find out.

More: The Most Successful Baby Names

Celebrity Names for Babies: How to Choose a Baby Name Destined for Fame 

Famous people have a knack for stirring the pot when it comes to controversial baby names. Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow paved the way with Apple, and Kanye West and Kim Kardashian followed suit with their picks of North, Chicago, Psalm and Saint.

Kids of Hollywood A-listers and well-known celebrities are likely destined for stardom, unorthodox names notwithstanding, but how many non-famous kiddos are destined for the limelight based solely on their names?

Will your child take a seat in the Oval Office (check out our president-inspired baby names)? Will your future daughter become the next modern-day Jane Eyre?

According to USDirect’s How Famous Is Your Name tool, they may be more likely to become a famous actor, musician, athlete, politician or author based on their name. Spoiler: male names make up the lion’s share of famous names.

Which Names Have the Highest Number of Celebrity Namesakes?

  • John is the most popular famous name across all five categories. Unsurprisingly, John was the second-most popular baby name from 1919–2018. While not every John turned out famous, it certainly increased the chances for a John to become a celebrity.
  • The top 40 most famous names across all categories are all traditional male names. The only category in which female names made an appearance more than five times is the actor category. In general, men still steal the spotlight in Hollywood—more men than women play the lead actor in movies.
  • The names John, James, Robert and Stephen dominate the author category by a landslide. For most of history, male authors dominated the literary world. In fact, until women authors became more widely accepted, most women wrote under male pseudonyms.
  • Jack and Jane made up the highest percentages of names in the male and female actor categories. For an industry where it’s not uncommon for a celebrity to take on a stage name, Jack and Jane are about as traditional as it gets.

 

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Names Destined for Fame, Broken Down By Occupation:

Actress Names

  • Amy
  • Angela
  • Anne
  • Barbara
  • Bea 
  • Elizabeth
  • Ellen
  • Jackie
  • Jane
  • Jean
  • Jennifer
  • Joan
  • Julia
  • Julie
  • Katharine
  • Kelsey
  • Loretta
  • Lucille
  • Mary
  • Meryl
  • Patricia
  • Kathy
  • Sarah
  • Sharon
  • Shirley
  • Susan

 

Actor Names

  • Alan
  • Alec 
  • Anthony
  • Bob
  • Daniel
  • Don
  • Ed
  • Glenn
  • Hugh
  • Jack
  • James
  • Jeff
  • Jim
  • Kevin
  • Laurence
  • Martin
  • Matt
  • Michael
  • Peter
  • Raymond
  • Robin
  • Robert
  • Spencer
  • Steve
  • Ted
  • William

 

Musician Names

  • Billy
  • Bobby
  • Chris
  • David
  • Don
  • James
  • Jimmy
  • Joe
  • John
  • Johnny
  • Michael
  • Paul 

 

Athlete Names

  • Allison
  • David
  • George
  • James
  • John
  • Katie
  • Michael
  • Nathan
  • Thomas
  • William

 

Politician Names

  • Catherine
  • Daniel
  • David
  • Edward
  • Frank
  • Henry
  • James
  • John
  • Joseph
  • Richard 
  • Robert
  • Thomas
  • William

 

Author Names

  • Anne
  • Arthur
  • Bill
  • Bob
  • Catherine
  • Charles
  • Clive
  • Dan
  • Daniel
  • Danielle
  • David
  • Dean
  • Donald
  • Elizabeth
  • George
  • Harlan
  • Harry
  • Herman
  • Irving
  • James
  • Janet
  • Jim
  • Jimmy
  • John
  • Jonathan
  • Ken
  • Kitty
  • Laura
  • Lee
  • Mark
  • Michael
  • Mitch
  • Nelson
  • Nicholas
  • Richard
  • Robert
  • Scott
  • Sidney
  • Stephen
  • Thomas
  • Tim
  • Vince
  • Walter
  • William

Looking for more baby name inspiration or celebrity names for babies? Check out our baby names and meaning section.