We know that celebrities inspire popular baby names, from Audrey (Hepburn) to (John) Lennon. But celebrities also choose famous names for their children, with actors and musicians paying homage to legendary stars with their name choices.
Our report on this trend from a few years back highlighted picks like Mariah Carey’s Monroe and guitarist Slash’s Cash.
The trend hasn’t slowed down one bit! Those names remain in the headlines, but there’s a whole new class of celebrity baby names inspired by stars.
Baby name Bowie made our original list, thanks to Rebecca Minkoff’s daughter, Bowie Lou. Since then, Zoe Saldana has welcomed a son named Bowie, as have Tess Holliday, and Dane DeHaan and Anna Wood. One reason for the acceleration? The early 2016 passing of music legend David Bowie has put this musical surname in the same class as Marley and Hendrix.
Jackson Rathbone’s younger child carries a doubly musical name: Presley Bowie. The middle is both a family name and a tribute to the late singer. Rathbone noted that Presley combines their family’s Southern heritage with a rockabilly vibe. After all, when the “Twilight” star isn’t acting, he’s also a musician. They’re not the first family to name a baby after Elvis: nearly 2,000 newborn Presleys entered the world in 2015 alone.
Carson Daly and Siri Pinter welcomed daughter Etta in 2012, just a few months after legendary singer Etta James passed away. Jazzy and sophisticated, Etta makes a logical successor to favorites Emma and Ella. It’s currently right outside of the U.S. Top 1000 list, but has risen steadily over the last few years.
Legendary folk singer Arlo Guthrie’s unusual given name has become a rising favorite with plenty of parents. Leighton Meester and Adam Brody gave the name to a daughter; so did Johnny Knoxville. But we like this best for a boy, as chosen by actress Toni Collette, and more recently, English musician Charlie Simpson.
Fergie’s name for her young son came to her in a dream. The singer imagined herself watching legendary Guns N’ Roses frontman Axl Rose perform at a festival. When she awoke, she and husband Josh Duhamel instantly knew it was the name for their son. Traditional Scandi Axel has history galore, but lately rock ‘n’ roll Axl is trending, too.
Count Greta as an early starbaby example of the trend – Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates gave name to a daughter years ago; so did David Caruso. But Ty Burrell of “Modern Family” puts Greta on the list of recent celebrity baby name picks. It brings to mind screen legend Greta Garbo, fitting right in with girls called Audrey and Ava.
Nicole Richie chose a glam girl name when she and Joel Madden welcomed their daughter in 2008. Harlow comes from Jean, the original Blonde Bombshell of the 1930s silver screen. Plenty of other parents followed her lead, sending the name soaring. In 2015, “American Idol” alum Kimberly Caldwell welcomed a daughter with a double dose of blonde ambition: Harlow Monroe.
Parents love literary Harper and Holden. No surprise we’re looking for similar inspiration. Ben Hollingsworth of “Code Black” chose a little-used literary surname for his son last year: Hemingway, as in Ernest. The author is remembered for his writing, but also for his love of travel and sense of adventure. It makes a powerful combination for a child’s name.
Adam Levine and Behati Prinsloo have yet to confirm the reasons behind their daughter’s distinctive name ― though we know that Ellen DeGeneres suggested Dusty. Could it be inspired by 1960s icon Dusty Springfield, who recorded hits like “I Only Want to Be With You” and “Son of a Preacher Man”? It’s a fitting choice for the daughter of a singer and a supermodel.
The Everly Brothers were among the first class of musicians inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, in 1986. Anthony Kiedis, frontman for 2012 inductees Red Hot Chili Peppers, was among the first to use the name, for a son in 2007. But it’s Channing Tatum and Jenna Dewan who sent the name skyrocketing, after they welcomed daughter Everly in 2013.
Glenn Howerton of “It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia” fame solved the baby naming puzzle when he heard a song by the Isley Brothers. With singles like “This Old Heart of Mine” and “It’s Your Thing,” the brothers scored a string of hits in the 1960s and 70s. Today, their surname name fits right in with names like Riley, Miles, and even Isaac and Isaiah.
Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen prove that Old Hollywood works for boys’ names, too. The couple named their third child, and first son, Montgomery in 2015. A year later, “The Young and the Restless” actor Greg Rikaart also gave the name to a son. Oscar-nominated actor Montgomery Clift used the nickname Monty; so do these newest little stars.
Max Greenfield is yet another dad to find a name that nods to his musical hero – Ozzy Osbourne. Son Ozzie James arrived in 2015. In an interview, Greenfield joked that it was an appropriate name in case his son turned out to be “a maniac.” Osbourne himself was born the much milder John Michael.