Named After Somebody Famous
A surprisingly common form of Theme Naming
is the practice of naming characters after real-life celebrities and famous people.
One way this can be done is to give a group of characters a set of names which, when combined, form the name of a famous person. An advanced version gives a person the same first name as a famous person, and has their last name included as a middle name. Another variation is to give a group of characters the first names of a well-known group, such as a group of friends named John
, and Richard/Ringo
, after The Beatles
If characters are named after things like famous killers
, it overlaps with Names to Run Away From Really Fast
Compare Shout-Out Theme Naming
. When foreign characters are named after famous people from their countries just because the creators didn't research the relevant naming conventions, it's a Famous-Named Foreigner
. If the name in question isn't actually the character's real name but a fake one that they're using after a real or fictional famous person, it's a Character Name Alias
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Anime and Manga
- The three recurring old geezers on Cowboy Bebop had thematic names — Antonio, Carlos and Jobim. Put them together and you get the name of a famous musician.
- The same for goes for the adopted children of the eponymous character of Eureka Seven: Maurice, Maeter, and Linck after the Nobel Prize winning essayist and author of The Blue Bird Of Happiness.
- Due to Fantasy Counterpart Culture of Medieval Europe that Zero no Tsukaima takes place in, it's no wonder some of the characters are named after somebody famous. Examples:
- Our main tsundere mage heroine Louise. She is named after Louise de La Valliere, one of Louis XIV's mistresses who became a duchess.
- Tabitha aka Charlotte Helene Orleans, the Captain Ersatz mage to Yuki Nagato of Haruhi fame, is named after Helene d'Orleans.
- The seductive "Subtle Flame" that is Kirche? Her Overly Long Name is Kirche Augusta Frederika von Anhalt Zerbst. The character sheet mentions her name is taken from Sophia Augusta Frederika of Anhalt-Zerbst, who is none other than Catherine the Great.
- The campy Scarron is named after Paul Scarron, a novelist, playwright, and poet who lived during the time of Louis XIV.
- In Bakusou Kyoudai! Let's & Go!!, the main characters' names, Retsu and Gou, are a pun on "Let's go!". Also, combined with their friend Jun, the three are named for Jun Retsugou, the stage name of Yoshiji Watanabe, one of the members of a 70's Japanese manzai comedy trio.
- Almost everybody in JoJo's Bizarre Adventure is named after a band, movie, or rock star. Dio Brando, the main villain, is named after both Ronnie James Dio and Marlon Brando.
- In Bleach the top ten Arrancar, the Espada, are all named after, of all things, Mexican architects and designers.
- In Cromartie High School, all of the schools, including the titular one, are named after foreigners that played on Japanese baseball teams.
- Maria Watches Over Us uses names of samurai and noble families for most of its important characters. Exceptions to this rule are specifically pointed out (Yumi and Sei).
- The villainous robots/cyborgs in Metal Guardian Faust are named after Santa's reindeer, and have name-appropriate enhancements (Vixen has robotic tails, Blitz generates Electro Magnetic Pulses, Dasher is incredibly fast, etc.).
- In Samurai Pizza Cats, the New York Pizza Cats' original Japanese names are as follows:
- Edward and Alphonse from Fullmetal Alchemist are named after real-life medieval alchemists, as is Hohenheim.
- Friedrich and Voltaire, Caro's dragons in Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha. If you don't recognize the names, you need to brush up on your European philosophers.
- Mecha pilot Jung Freud from Gunbuster (named after Carl Jung and Sigmund Freud).
- Team Rocket from the English dub of Pokémon is made up entirely of this- Jessie + James = Jesse James, Butch + Cassidy = Butch Cassidy, etc.
- Jessie and James's Japanese names also serve, as they were named after samurai: Musashi and Kojiro. Butch and Cassidy are just "theme named" to accompany the original duo: Kosaburo ("jiro": second son, "Saburo": third son) and Yamato (the sister ship of the Musashi battleship).
- Ash and Gary's Japanese names, Satoshi and Shigeru. They were named after Satoshi Tajiri, creator of the Pokémon games, and Shigeru Miyamoto.
- Rave Master had Deep Snow's Quirky Miniboss Squad named after actors who've portrayed James Bond, including Dalton the Chrysalis, Lazenby of the White Flame, Goldeneye Brosnan, and Moore the Full Moon.
- The Paper Sisters in the Read or Die TV series are named after the three actresses who played the main characters in The Heroic Trio.
- Trowa Barton from Gundam Wing was named for Tim Burton; Masashi Ikeda, the director of Wing, is an unabashed fan of Burton's works and directorial style.
- Two members of the Shrike Team in Mobile Suit Victory Gundam are named after Jazz singers Helen Merrill and Mahalia Jackson, just with the surnames switched.
- Gundam Unicorn: Audrey Burne is named after Audrey Hepburn.
- Code Geass: Nina Einstein, who went on to develop the Geass-world's first Weapon of Mass Destruction, the FLEIJA warhead.
- Fuura Kafuka (actually an alias) and Arai Chie (which can also be read as "Ni Chie") from Sayonara, Zetsubou-Sensei are named after Franz Kafka and Friedrich Nietzsche, respectively.
- One Piece: Many characters are named after pirates or explorers.
- Future GPX Cyber Formula: Knight Schumacher was named for famous Formula One champion Michael Schumacher (who was in Formula Three at the time the character was introduced) and Leon Earnhardt was named for NASCAR racer Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
- Speed Racer's Japanese name, Go Mifune (as well as the last name of the rest of his family), was named for famous Japanese actor Toshiro Mifune.
- Black Butler: Snake's snakes are named Bronte, Oscar, Wilde, Keats, Wordsworth, and Webster.
- Heck, a lot of characters are either named after someone famous (look up Sebastien Michaelis on the other wiki), or are someone famous themselves such as the Queen and her bodyguards.
- El-Hazard: The Magnificent World: Katsuhiko becomes the Bugrom's military leader, and gains six Bugrom underlings. He nicknames them Groucho, Harpo, Chico, Zeppo, Gummo (after the fifth Marx Brother who didn't appear in any of the movies) and Margaret(after Margaret Dumont, who frequently played Groucho's love interest/straight woman).
- The girls in Strike Witches are named after real-life ace pilots.
- Mobile Suit Gundam: Creator Yoshiyuki Tomino says that Char Aznable is named after the French musician, Charles Aznavour.
- The Mai-HiME and Mai-Otome mangaverses have late-story antagonists named after Marie Antoinette and Yang Guifei.
- An episode of Shinryaku! Ika Musume features 2 dolls named Johnny and Depp.
- Naruto has a number of characters named after figures associated with ninja/samurai: Shimura Danzo and Kato Dan are named after Kato Danzo, and two relatively important supporting characters are named Hanzo and Mifune.
- Leina Vance and her family are named after the American fantasy and sci-fi writer, Jack Vance, who was a major influence for Dungeons & Dragons, which many fantasy series, Queen's Blade included, took some inspiration from it..
- In Kotoura-san, Yuriko's mother Chizuru Mifune was named after a Real Life clairvoyant, Chizuko Mifune, per Word of God.
- Gou Matsuoka from Free! is named for Oeyo (AKA Gou), a female historical figure from the late Sengoku Jidai, despite being generally a boy's name. She doesn't want people to call her that, though.
- Eisaku Noguchi from Sangatsu No Lion has his name and looks derived from a famous Japanese bacteriologist, Hideyo Noguchi (né Seisaku).
- In the Sonic the Hedgehog Archie series, many relations to the main characters are named after historical figures: members of the Brotherhood of Guardians are named after peaceful revolutionaries and/or physicists/philosophers, same as their fire-ant compatriots (Rembrandt, Sojourner, Hawking, Archimedes, etc.), while Tails' father and uncle are named Amadeus and Merlin, respectively.
- In the 3rd Annual issue of ALF, Gordon relates how he met the New Age Melmutant Abstract Turtles, a parody of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles, if that wasn't blindingly obvious. Like the originals, they were named for artists: Calder (after Alexander, Mondrian (after Piet, Picasso (after ...you know, or I hope you do, and Pollock (after Jackson). Each turtle's weapon's ability was related to their namesake's most well-known art's style (boomerangs that hang villains from mobiles, a t-square that creates abstract geometric walls, a paintbrush that turns villains into cubist creatures, and a bucket of paint that... splatters villains, respectively).
- The main characters in Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are named after famous Italian artists from the Renaissance. In the '80s cartoon, they were briefly joined by a foursome of mutant frogs, who were all named after historical conquerors and warlords (Genghis Khan, Atilla the Hun, Rasputin the Mad Monk, and Napoleon Bonaparte).
- One of the many spoofs and rip-offs of TMNT back in the day had a set of rabbits named Avery, Jones, Clampett, and Freleng. (Alas, Google is no help to aid the troper's weak memory.)
- Another spoof of TMNT was Adolescent Radioactive Black Belt Hamsters, named after Clint (Eastwood), Chuck (Norris), Bruce (Lee), and Jackie (Chan).
- The names of the genetically engineered dogs in Kingdom are celebrity names with canine puns. The protagonist is named Gene the Hackman (Gene Hackman), and there's also Will Feral (Will Ferrall), Dingo Star (Ringo Star), Rex Horizon (Rex Harrison), Holly the Hunter (Holly Hunter), and Clara Bow (same).
- Amadeus Cho, of Incredible Hercules, is named after Mozart. His sister Maddy's full name? Madame Curie Cho.
- And his archenemy is Pythagoras Dupree.
- Stephen Stills of Scott Pilgrim is named after the folk singer of the supergroup Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young. There's also a character named "Young Neil", an obvious reversal on Neil Young's name.
- Alan Moore's Promethea features a female cop named Lucille Ball in the supporting cast. She frequently has to say, "No relation" and remind people that she has No Sense of Humor.
- James Buchanan Barnes, formerly Captain America's sidekick Bucky, is named after US President James Buchanan. This is somewhat strange, considering how unpopular Buchanan was during his presidency, but whatever.
- James Jesse, the first Trickster, invoked Steven Ulysses Perhero when he decided to commit robberies like his "reverse namesake" Jesse James. In-universe, this was definitely not intentional on his parents' part; a later retcon had it that his father was an Italian immigrant who'd Anglicized their names while unaware of the potential implications.
- Accidentally created (inverted?) in a story printed both in Action Comics #1 and Superman #1, where Superman has to solve the murder of Jack Kennedy.
- In the Reboot Legion Of Superheroes, the Orando royal family (Sensor's family) are the House of Wynzorr. The current monarch is King Charlz, and his son's name is Prince Willum.
- Both Batman (Bruce Wayne) and the Golden Age superheroine Miss Victory (Joan Wayne) were named after "Mad" Anthony Wayne, a hero of the American War of Independence. But movie director Raoul Walsh beat them to it, giving actor Marion Michael Morrison the stage name John Wayne in 1930.
- The title character of Amélie is named after actress Emily Watson, who was originally intended to play her.
- In the fourth instalment of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles there would have been a fifth turtle joining called Kirby.
- Doc and Clara Brown's sons, of Back To The Future Part III and the animated series, are called Jules and Verne after their favourite author.
- This actually proved to be a plot point in the animated series episode "A Verne By Any Other Name" - after being bullied about his name, Verne went back in time to convince his parents to name him something else.
- Doc has dogs named after famous scientists. In 1985, his dog's called Einstein; in 1955, his dog's called Copernicus.
- The Gates family, from the National Treasure' movies. The protagonist is Benjamin Franklin Gates. His father is Patrick Henry Gates, his father was named John Adams Gates—it's apparently a family tradition.
- The names of characters in Blazing Saddles include, among others of this type, Hedley Lamarr (Hedy Lamarr) and Olson Johnson (Ole Olsen and Chic Johnson). Other Johnsons include
Samuel and Howard the whole town.
- The film Doctor Strangelove features a psychotic, genocidal military commander named Jack D. Ripper.
- Heathers has a Veronica and a Betty, which you might think is a coincidence until you notice their equally significant last names - Sawyer and Finn respectively.
- In Shanghai Noon, Jackie Chan plays "Chon Wang", misheard by Owen Wilson's character as "John Wayne". Lampshaded when O'Bannon declares "That's a terrible cowboy name!". It is later revealed that the real name of Roy O'Bannon is "Wyatt Earp".
- In Cool Runnings, one of the characters' names is Yul Brenner, which elicits a chuckle from one of his teammates.
- In Shortbus, Severin is deeply ashamed of her real name, and can only write it down on two slips of paper on Sophia's request. Her first name is Jennifer. Her last name? Aniston.
- Since Dennis Hopper and Peter Fonda considered Easy Rider to be a modern day Western, the protagonists are Wyatt (Earp) and Billy (the Kid)
- In Office Space the main character Peter's best friend is named Michael Bolton, like the famous singer. This is ultimately an Aversion, since he wasn't named after the singer (Michael mentions he was in his early teens when the singer became famous). The name is just a coincidence.
- Mean Girls features Janis Ian, named after the eponymous singer (who was lesbian, something the character is accused of being), whose song "At Seventeen" is even on the soundtrack.
- In The Last Song, the main character Ronnie (played by Miley Cyrus) is named after Miley's grandfather, Senator Ron Cyrus.
- Forrest Gump was named in-universe after the Civil War general and Ku Klux Klan founder Nathaniel Bedford Forrest.
- In-universe, Caesar from the Planet of the Apes franchise chose his name after the Roman Caesars.
- The Distinguished Gentleman: In-Universe, Thomas Jefferson Johnson's mother named him such because she hoped that he would become important. Instead he becomes a Con Man, but she still loves him. Then he discovers that he shares part of his name with Jeff Johnson, a recently deceased Congressman, and runs for office under that name.
- In The Facts in the Case of Mister Hollow Johnny Hollow, the eponymous photographer who sent the campsite photo, that's the subject of the film, is named after the electronica group who's song "Alchemy" provides the film's soundtrack. (It's co-director, Vincent Marcone, is a member.) The short was initially conceived as a music video before developing into a more fully-plotted short film.
- In The Wolverine, when Logan's healing factor is sucked out of him, he ages rapidly, gaining wrinkles, hair turning grey and his eyes clouding over as if he suddenly developed severe cataracts.
- Kydd was named after Thomas Paine, whom his parents met before he was born, though they would later come to disapprove of his radical ideas.
- A Series of Unfortunate Events: Tons and tons of characters. A few examples: the main characters are named Baudelaire; their banker is named Poe.
- In-story in The English Patient: the thief David Caravaggio. He lampshades this, mentioning Caravaggio's painting David with the Head of Goliath.
- Napoleon, from Animal Farm by George Orwell.
- Practically everyone from Brave New World (how that fits in a historyphobe society, you ask), such as Bernard Marx (George Bernard Shaw and Karl Marx), Benito Hoover (Benito Mussolini and Herbert Hoover) and Darwin Bonaparte (Charles Darwin and Napoleon Bonaparte).
- Incidentally, Benito Mussolini was himself named after Benito Juarez.
- In the sci-fi novel The Green Futures of Tycho by William Sleator, the eponymous main character's parents have named their children after Tycho Brahe, an astronomer; Tamara Karsavina, a ballet dancer; Ludwig van Beethoven, a composer and Leonardo da Vinci, an inventor and artist. They hoped the names would inspire them to aspire careers associated with them.
- The ReMastered in Iron Sunrise by Charles Stross seem to be named after notable far-right philosophers. Or people with similar viewpoints; one of them calls herself Blofeld!
- In Minority Report, the three oracles are named after Agatha, Arthur, and Dashiell, after the mystery novelists.
- A Victorian novelist was sued and lost because one character in her work, who had a connection to theater, had the same name as a man who had some connection to the theater. Shortly thereafter the serial went on with all the names changed. To things like "George Bernard Shaw" and "H. G. Wells" — all of whom were connected with the theater and had given permission as a protest against the ruling.
- Nods to famous folk in-universe are frequent in the Deryni works. Of course, among famous people, it's also as much to do with family and/or friendship as fame.
- Haldane royalty tends to reuse the names of certain illustrious predecessors. Since princes get four names in addition to the surname, there's plenty of opportunities for this. Among the popular candidates for reuse are Cinhil (first Haldane king of the Restoration), Blaine (also used by the Festils), Donal (Brion's father's first name, King Brion and King Cinhil's second), Nygel/Nigel, Aidan (second Haldane in the seventh century, also Cinhil's grandfather, the only survivor of his family's massacre during the Festillic Invasion) and Alroy (Cinhil's father and Cinhil's eldest surviving son).
- Morgan's first two children. His daughter is named Briony after the late King Brion Haldane, and his son is named Kelric (a combination of King Kelson and Morgan's own first name Alaric).
- Kelson's heir, born in the year 1130 (according to the Codex), is christened Javan Uthyr Richard Urien Haldane; the prince's first name is that of the ill-fated King Javan Haldane, King Cinhil's second surviving son (and the protagonist of King Javan's Year), and his third name honours Kelson's great uncle and Araxie's father, Prince Richard Haldane Duke of Carthmoor.
- Members of the Ghost Brigades in John Scalzi's Old Man's War universe are named after famous historical figures, mostly scientists (e.g. Jared Dirac and Jane Sagan).
- When Ender Wiggin's dad gets a name, it turns out that (1) Wiggin isn't his actual name, but rather Wieczorek, and (2) his full name is Jan Paweł Wieczorek, which became John Paul Wiggin when Anglicized, and yes, that's John Paul as in Pope John Paul II, who was canonized in this timeline (as happens in 2014 in real life). Something of a subversion in that he is Named After Somebody Famous both in-universe and out of universe (John Paul II was, of course, Polish).
- Harry Blackstone Copperfield Dresden
- In the Thursday Next series, people do this deliberately; it's a world where literature is Serious Business, so people name themselves after somebody famous, most often a classic English writer. After a court case where the entire jury was made up of Christopher Marlowes, a law was enacted to affix a number to the names of people who did this.
- In The Hunger Games, people from the Capitol are often named after Ancient Roman historical figures: Cinna, Caesar (Flickerman), Seneca (Crane), Coriolanus (Snow), Claudius (Templesmith), etc.
- The slave characters in the alternative history series Timeline-191 by Harry Turtledove all bear famous classical names from the past (Scipio, Xerxes, Aristotle, Bathsheba) echoing the real-life tendency to do this in the American South during slave-owning times.
- The narrator of the pornographic novel The Oxford Girl has the Preppy Name Presley Abbott, which can be refashioned into a Shout-Out to a well-known living musician. Considering the author's obvious erudition, and the rarity of Presley as a first name, this was probably deliberate.
- In The Maze Runner books, the Gladers' names are not their real names, but names based on scientists and inventors and such that were planted in their memories.
- In Esther Friesner's Majyk series, the local village idiots are named Lorrenz, Wot, and Evvon.
- In Robert Newton Peck's young-adult series Soup, the girl on whom Rob has a crush is named Norma Jean (Bissell, not Mortenson).
- In the children's book Black and Blue Magic Harry Houdini Marco's father, a magician, named his son after Harry Houdini hoping he'd follow in his footsteps.
- Robert A. Heinlein likes this trope:
- Parodied in the Adventures of Huckleberry Finn - minor character Thomas Franklin Benjamin Jefferson Elexander Phelps is this, combined with My Nayme Is.
- In In The Year Of The Boar and Jackie Robinson; the main character is grade-school-aged, emigrating to America from China, and has to pick herself an American name; she picks "Shirley Temple Wong".
- In SA Swann's Hostile Takeover series virtually everything on or relating to Bakunin, from the star Kropotkin that it orbits down to the Friedman Hotel on Lenin Avenue in Proudhon City is named after some anarchist, minarchist, socialist and/or anti-statist philosopher or theorist.
- The Ultra Violets has Albert Feinstein, mathlete.
- The fae boy from An Encounter And An Offer is renamed Arthur, after being put under Sir Kay's care. Ironically, he has no idea why.
Live Action TV
- Multiple characters in LOST are named after philosophers. There's John Locke (who for some time goes by another philosopher, Jeremy Bentham), Danielle Rousseau, Desmond David Hume, and Mikhail Bakunin, among others.
- Locke's father is named Anthony Cooper, after Lord Shaftesbury, patron of John Locke the philosopher.
- Also, Daniel Faraday and Eloise Hawking are both named after physicists, which becomes important when it's revealed that Hawking is Faraday's mother.
- Charlotte Staples Lewis.
- In Thunderbirds ex-astronaut Jeff Tracy's sons are named Scott, Virgil, Alan, Gordon and John — all of which happen to be the names of the Real Life Mercury Program astronauts.
- In real life, Virgil Ivan Grissom was better known to the public as "Gus".
- The three male leads in the UK detective drama New Tricks are Jack Halford, Brian "Memory" Lane, and Gerry Standing. The writer is a supporter of West Bromich Albion football (soccer) team, and Halford Lane Standing is the oldest stand at their grounds.
- The TV show based on Maniac Mansion has three kids named Ike, Tina and Turner.
- Some of the Tenctonese on Alien Nation are named after famous people, usually dead ones like Eleanor Roosevelt, Albert Einstein, and Betsy Ross.
- Supernatural: Sam and Dean's Character Name Aliases
- Their real last name, Winchester, is part of a firearms-theme in the show as a reference to Oliver Winchester of repeating-rifle fame. Though they're not so much "named after" as actually descended from the family of Oliver and Sarah Winchester, with plotlines showing that the family has been hunting for at least as long as the name has been associated with the signature firearm.
- It might be better to say it's a reference to Oliver's daughter-in-law Sarah Winchester, making it not only a firearms reference but a supernatural one: Sarah believed she had to appease the spirits of victims of Winchester rifles by continuing construction on her home, and the "Winchester Mystery House" remains a paranormal landmark.
- There is a demon named Alistair and a demon named Crowley. This refers to Aleister Crowley, an early 20th century British occultist.
- One or both of them may be the actual man behind the myth of the famed occultist, Crowley especially is shown as being fond of showing up in human guise and making his bargains without any pretense that he's anything other than a supernatural creature... just to make sure the bargainers have no room to loophole their way out of damnation.
- The dying president on the Geena Davis show Commander In Chief was named Teddy Roosevelt Bridges.
- Lampshaded (of course) in the naval expedition sketch from episode 32 of Monty Python's Flying Circus: "Why does the senior personnel all bear the names of Hollywood film stars of the forties, and female ones at that?"
- Gavin and Stacey has a subtle one that eventually gets lampshaded; the two central families are the Wests and the Shipmans, while the latter's neighbours are the Sutcliffes.note The other main characters are called Smith and Jenkins.
- Parodied in an episode of The Daily Show discussing the White House gatecrashing incident where the "Senior Correspondent" turns out to be a random crasher calling himself "Edward R. Brokaw-Amanpour"
- Jefferson Davis Hogg of The Dukes of Hazzard. note
- And his brother Abraham Lincoln Hogg, the "white sheep" of the family.
- The Sheriff of Twin Peaks is Harry S. Truman. FBI Agent Cooper says that he should remember it, this time.
- Agent Cooper himself is named after the very mysterious D.B. Cooper
- Ryan Howard of The Office. The writers swear that the name, shared by the All-Star first baseman of the Philadelphia Phillies, is a coincidence, but consider that the American adaptation was in development in 2004, the same year Howard, a big-time prospect since he was drafted, played for the Phillies Triple-A affiliate in Scranton, which is where the show is set.
- Franklin Mumford on My Wife and Kids, although you really can't tell until you learn he has a sister named Aretha.
- Liam Gallagher from Shameless shares his name with the singer of Oasis, something clearly intentional as he is also from Manchester. Jokes are made on the subject on several occasions.
- Alfred Bester from Babylon 5. At first the name was just a Shout-Out, but then the Expanded Universe revealed he was also named after the author in-universe.
- The X-Files:
- One of The Lone Gunmen is John Fitzgerald Byers, as he was born on the day JFK died.
- Scully's name is taken from Dodgers broadcaster Vin Scully (in "Irresistible" a character even says "I don't remember his name, but she was Scully, like that baseball announcer.")
- John Doggett comes from Vin's partner Jerry Doggett.
- CSI: Crime Scene Investigation franchise likes this. Grissom was last-named after Gus Grissom, the aforementioned Mercury astronaut, courtesy of William Petersen.
- Grissom makes a joke of this once, naming his beetles from a crime scene "John,Paul,George and Ringo".
- Apparently, 'Diebenkorn' Russell was named after a famous artist. It's still no wonder he prefers 'D.B.'.
- CSI: Miami Horatio, named after Horatio Alger.
- Due South: Stanley (Ray) and Stella Kowalski.
- Wilson Welsh and his brother Harding were named after the two American presidents with those last names. (Woodrow Wilson and Warren G Harding)
- And of course, Fraser's senior inspector, Margaret "Meg" Thatcher.
- Bernard Black from Black Books got his middle name (Ludwig) from Beethoven. (Discussed in-universe.)
- In the Sons of Anarchy episode "Caregiver", Stephen King guest stars as a "cleaner" named Bachman. "Richard Bachman" was an alias King used to publish stories early in his career.
- Another episode has two minor characters named Luther and Vandross.
- Aaron "Hotch" Hotchner from Criminal Minds is, quite possibly, named after a real Aaron Hotchner, who also just happened to be a lawyer before finding his true calling, which isn't too far off from Hotch's- the real Hotchner became a biographer, famously penning one for Ernest Hemingway meaning, in real life, Hotch is just as much a profiler as the one on TV is (only that the real one doesn't use it to catch criminals).
- M*A*S*H had a double with Hawkeye. His full name is Benjamin Franklin Pierce, so he's named after both a Founding Father (Benjamin Franklin) and a U.S. President (Franklin Pierce).
- Though never revealed in the series, Fanon gives Colonel Sherman T. Potter the middle name "Tecumseh", which would make Potter named after Civil War general William Tecumseh Sherman.
- Josiah "Jed" Bartlet in The West Wing says he was named after his ancestor Josiah Bartlett (despite the spelling difference), who was a real-life signer of the Declaration of Independence.
- Oliver Wendall Douglas from Green Acres is named after 19th century supreme court justice Oliver Wendall Holmes.
- Orphan Black names several characters and places after scientists famous for championing evolution.
- Similar to Alien Nation, the Zabronians in The Neighbors name themselves after famous athletes in an attempt to blend in. Thus the community leader is Larry Bird, his wife is Jackie Joyner-Kershee, and their sons are Reggie Jackson and Dick Butkus. (Notice that none of them share a surname, a concept that is apparently too foreign for them.)
- The two main characters of The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon and Leonard, are named after writer Sheldon Leonard, creator of Gilligan's Island and The Brady Bunch. Their last names are Cooper and Hofstadter, respectively, which they share, aptly enough, with famous physicists: Leon N. Cooper and Robert Hofstadter (whose son Douglas is best known for the book Gödel, Escher, Bach). Leonard's middle name is Leakey, after the famous archaeologist Louis Leakey and his anthropologist wife Mary.
- In the Stargate Verse about half of Earth's starships are named for historical figures (the others are figures from Greek mythology not known to be Goa'uld). The Russian-crewed Korolev was named after one of the lead engineers of the Soviet space program, and the Chinese-crewed Sun Tzu was named after Sun Tzu. The fourth American-crewed 304 was supposed to be USS Phoenix, but was renamed George S. Hammond after the first CO of Stargate Command, who had recently died.
- British series Skins had a character named Naomi Campbell, no relation to the famous singer, and very much not played for laughs as the show is set in the British equivalent of High School. The mocking is merciless.
- Calvin and Hobbes, named after 16th-century theologian John Calvin and 17th-century philosopher Thomas Hobbes. In a similar vein, Calvin's teacher, Mrs. Wormwood, is named after a character in C. S. Lewis' The Screwtape Letters. It's unlikely the principal Mr. Spittle is another literary reference.
- The newspaper comic strip Ink Pen parodied this, with a duo of a boy and his stuffed lion called "Luther and Locke" (after Martin Luther and John Locke).
- Foxtrot once had a parody strip coincidentally also named "Luther and Locke"
- Irregular Webcomic! also made a parody/homage strip titled "Wittgenstein and Nietzche" (after Ludwig Wiggenstein and Friedrich Nietzsche)
- In Leisure Suit Larry 7, all of the girls have names that reference female Hollywood stars, such as Drew Baringmore and Jamie Lee Coitus.
- In Chrono Trigger, the Edible Theme Naming of Soysauce, Vinegar, and Mayonnaise were turned into Ozzie (Osbourne, although he's Ozzy), Flea (of Red Hot Chili Peppers) and Slash (of Guns N' Roses). This raised issues with the sequel, which introduced a new character named Slash, while containing the old ones as a Bonus Boss, so the new character was renamed Nikki (presumably after Mötley Crüe's Nikki Sixx).
- Every one of the eight maverick bosses in Mega Man X5 have names derived from the rock band Guns N' Roses. Grizzly Slash (Slash), Axle The Red (Axl Rose), Squid Adler (Steven Adler), Dark Dizzy (Dizzy Reed) and the list goes on. (except The Skiver, which might be a reference to Michael "High in the Sky" Monroe, who recorded a song with GNR)
- From the original series, there's Dr. Thomas Light and Dr. Albert Wily, named after Thomas Edison and Albert Einstein, respectively. The former might be questionable, but the latter does have some resemblance to his namesake (the Einstein Hair).
- Mega Man Zero's Big Bad Dr. Weil is named after Ray Kurzweil, an author on several books about transhumanism and technological singularity, things that Weil is a master of.
- Both Vagrant Story and Final Fantasy IX contained many a Shout-Out to Shakespeare. The former had Rosencrantz and Romeo Guildenstern, while the latter had both characters and fictional characters named Puck, Cordelia, and King Leo/Lear.
- In Quest for Glory II, characters of the thieving persuasion can break into a certain house at night where a man lives with his three sons, Kareem, Abdul, and Jabbar, respectively.
- How many real-life Zeldas can you think of? Word of God states that the eponymous princess is indeed named for Zelda Sayre Fitzgerald, wife of F. Scott Fitzgerald.
- Robin Williams named his daughter after the princess. Yo dawg, I heard you like naming people after other people...
- Also the recurring enemies known as Poes, likely named after the famous Edgar Allan Poe. Another possible source of the name, however, is the Chinese philosophy of "hun" and "po", similar to yin and yang. "Hun" is the part of the soul that strives for heaven and is associated with life, and "po" is the part of the soul that stays with the corpse and is associated with death.
- Further, the Poe sisters are named Amy, Beth, Joelle, and Meg after the sisters from Little Women.
- F. Scott himself was named after Francis Scott Key, a distant relative and the lyricist for the national anthem of the US.
- In .hack//G.U. Redemption, the AIDA-infected weapon wielded by Taihaku is called Maxwell. This is a reference to Maxwell's Demon theory. The game self-confirms the reference by naming the identical-looking sword Haseo obtains after defeating Taihaku as Szilard (mistranslated as Silad), the person that solved (or at least offered an explanation to) Maxwell's Demon.
- Speaking of theoretical demons, the online game Ace Online threw a reference to Laplace's demon, by the item called "Soul of Laplace". The item is used to upgrade Legendary Weapons, which is in turn created by merging a weapon with Gematria Scripture, referring it as "being possessed by demonic souls".
- The Koopalings in Super Mario Bros. are named after real life musicians and other celebrities. As is possibly the boss Reznor in Super Mario World.
- Tony Delvecchio of Backyard Sports is named after wrestling announcer Tony Schiavone. Marky Dubois, from the same series, is named after Marky Ramone, a member of the Ramones. The developers were originally going to give Marky the full name, but then decided against it.
- Kingdom of Loathing has Linnell the Booze Giant, named for John Linnell of They Might Be Giants. There's also a town called Flangeburgh, a play on the name of John Flansburgh, another member of TMBG.
- In the fourth world of Mystic Ark, there are several NPCs scattered about that are named after famous inventors and musicians such as Edison, Einstein, Ludwig, and Picasso.
- Isaac (Asimov) (Arthur C.) Clarke from Dead Space - which was mocked by Zero Punctuation.
- Many characters in the Guilty Gear series are named after Western bands or musicians, including A. B. A. (ABBA), Axl Low (Axl Rose), Chipp Zanuff (Chip Z'nuff), Johnny (Johnny Winter), Ky Kiske (Kai Hansen and Michael Kiske), Slayer, Testament, Venom, and Zappa (Frank Zappa).
- Some characters are also named after famous fictional characters, like Zato-1, his symbiote Eddie (Eddie the Head), and Faust.
- The Zork games take this Up to Eleven (literally) with Lord Dimwit Flathead's eleven siblings: John D., T.J. "Stonewall", Johann Sebastian, J. Pierpont, Thomas Alva, Leonardo, Lucrezia, Ralph Waldo, John Paul, Frank Lloyd, and Babe.
- Sid Meier’s Alpha Centauri provides us with Provost Prokhor Zakharov, leader of the University of Planet faction, who invented the fusion drive that made the journey to Alpha Centauri possible. He seems to be named after Soviet nuclear physicist and peace/human rights/democracy activist Andrei Sakharov, who was famous for his brilliance (like Zakharov) and his involvement in politics (it's possible he would have become President of post-Soviet Russia had he not died in 1989). To put the icing on the cake, Arthur C. Clarke names the fusion engine in the Leonov in 2010...the Sakharov Drive. Clearly, the Firaxis team read its science fiction.
- In Donkey Kong Country 3, the twin bears of Razor Ridge are named Benny and Bjorn, after ABBA songwriters Benny Andersson and Bjorn Ulvaeus.
- In Dragon Quest I, there are two characters named Howard and Nester, after the Nintendo Power comic characters.
- In Mass Effect, Systems Alliance carriers are named for great leaders, artists, and intellectuals in human history. One mentioned by name is SSV Einstein.
- In EV Nova, the Kania system and its Space Station Port Kane, as well as the Kane Band (Earth's equatorial docking ring), are named for Omata Kane, the physicist who developed Faster-Than-Light Travel in the setting.
- Team Fortress 2: In the "Meet The Medic" short, it's revealed that Medic keeps a flock of pet doves. In the operating room, no less. His favorite is named Archimedes, which is fitting for an eccentric bird who follows after his master.
- Dr. Salvador in Resident Evil 4 may be named after Dr. Salvador Allende, the Chilean president who was deposed by Pinochet in 1973.
- In Perfect Dark Zero, Chandra Sekhar (her last name isn't given in-game) is likely named after Subrahmanyan Chandrasekhar, a famous astrophysicist.
- The Zeppelin/Sepperin family from RosenkreuzStilette is named after Count Ferdinand von Zeppelin, the Prussian brigadier-general responsible for the dirigible airship which shares his name.
- One of the technicians in Quake IV is named after the German-Austrian composer Johann Strauss.
- The Amarcians in Tales of Graces are all named after famous scientists and mathematicians — names such as (Blaise) Pascal, (Siméon Denis) Poisson, (Joseph) Fourier, (Pierre de) Fermat, (Carl Friedrich) Gauss, and so on. Also, Fermat's husband is named after astronomer Carl Sagan.
- Colonel Sanders in Fallout 2 takes his name from the Kentucky Fried Chicken founder and mascot.
- In the Sword of the Stars novel The Deacon's Tale, one human character is called Margaret Thatcher.
- Fallout: New Vegas has Samuel Cooke, the founder of the Powder Gangers, who is named after Sam Cooke, the singer of "Chain Gang".
- Ulysses named himself after Ulysses S. Grant, the general who, in his words, turned two flags into one.
- The Pokémon Hitmonlee and Hitmonchan are named after Bruce Lee and Jackie Chan. As a double bonus, their Japanese names, Ebiwalar and Sawamular, are after Japanese martial arts stars.
- Psycho Nauts: Mikhail Bulgakov, the foreign student at Whispering Rock Camp, takes his name from the Russian playwright who wrote The Master and Margarita.
- Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney: Justice for All has the name Laurence Curls, and people call him Moe. He is named after The Three Stooges.
- In Little Busters!, all of Rin's cats are named after famous people. That is to say, whatever random famous people Kyousuke comes up with off the top of his head at the time, as he believes that it's important to give them a name but that the name itself doesn't matter. This leads to cats with names like Lennon, Gates, Einstein, and Hitler.
- Umineko no Naku Koro ni has Dlanor A. Knox, named after Ronald Knox, and Willard H. Wright, named after S. S. Van Dine. Both figures created rules that codified detective fiction.
- Police in The Inexplicable Adventures of Bob! are named after ice cream. The two feds are Ben and Jerry, and the two local cops are Baskin and Robbin.
- A rare one-person example in The Wotch: When Sonny Leo Harper got permanently ka-girled, he became Cher Lita Harper. This new identity also counts as a Punny Name, as Cher Lita is a cheerleader.
- The original two members of Penny's Girl Posse were named Sara and Michelle. There is no Gellar. Nick and Charisma are also named after Nicholas Brendon and Charisma Carpenter (aka Xander and Cordelia), and Stan and Jack after Stan Lee and Jack Kirby.
- Ciem: The Human Centipede, and its sequels, mention rather explicitly that Dolly Malestrom was named after Dolly the Cloned Sheep. Given that it takes place in the 2020s, this reference actually makes sense. It places Dolly's birth some time between 1996 and 1998, making her just slightly older than Candi.
- There Ain't No Rule that the "someone" can't be an animal, right?
- In Penny Arcade, Tycho Brahe is named after an astronomer.
- Times Like This: Cassie's last name is Wells. Matt's last name is Gahan. (Indirectly, though... according to Word of God on the FAQ page: "Matt Gahan originally had the last name of 'Gahane' and that was based on a good friend of mine whose last name used the same letters, but I decided to leave off the last 'e' so he'd have the same last name as the lead singer of one of my favorite bands.")
- Lampshaded in an episode of Aqua Teen Hunger Force, where the monster that lives in the Aqua Teen's attic is named "Willie Nelson" as a reference to the fact that the original Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode "Baffler Meal" which served as the pilot to ATHF featured Willie Nelson as a guest star.
- Each of the titular Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles are notably named after famous Renaissance artists.
- Mr. Oskar Kokoschka from Hey Arnold! is named after an Austrian expressionist painter.
- Amethyst van der Troll from Trollz appears to be named after Anneliese van der Pol.
- In The Replacements, the main characters go to "George Washington Middle School"
- One episode of Avatar: The Last Airbender has the heroes encounter a group of spacey, stoner-esque fantasy hippies with a leader named Chong.
- Aang's father figure Gyatso is named after Tenzin Gyatso, the fourteenth Dalai Lama.
- In Sequel Series The Legend of Korra Aang's son Tenzin repeats the motif (although Tenzin is a fairly common Tibetan name), while Korra's friend Mako is named after Mako, the prominent Japanese-American actor and voice artist who voiced the original series' Iroh until his death. The Big Bad Amon may also be named after Nazi war criminal Amon Goeth (made famous by Schindler's List).
- Francesco Bernoulli, the Italian racecar from ''Cars 2'', is actually named after Dutch/Swiss mathmetician Daniel Bernoulli, who actually came up with the law of conservation of fluid dynamics.
- Michael Jordan Mackenzie, usually referred to as "Mack", a supporting character in Daria is named after famous basketball player Michael Jordan, and mocked for that by short-lived jerk of the week Tommy Sherman.
Mack - It was Michael James Mackenzie, but Dad went to a Bulls playoff game when I was 12 and then he changed it.
Tommy - That's sick, man. [...] Make sure your father doesn't go to any Whoopi Goldberg movies!
- In The Secret Show, Victor's full name is "Victor Thomas Jefferson Volt".
- Though now more or less abandoned, the naming system of the US Navy had destroyers named after naval heroes. Currently they're named after admirals. Still in use is the trend of naming aircraft carriers after former presidents: most recently USS George H.W. Bush (which is rather fitting, as Bush had been a naval Ace Pilot during World War II). The new class of supercarriers currently under construction is to be called the Gerald R. Ford class, as work on the ship was started shortly after his death.
- Uniquely, Jimmy Carter asked if, rather than an aircraft carrier, he could have a nuclear submarine, as he had been trained as a nuclear engineer but left the Navy a year before USS Nautilus came online. Sure enough, USS Jimmy Carter is a Seawolf-class nuclear attack sub, launched in 2005.
- Many of the US Army's armored vehicles (tanks, AP Cs, etc.) are named after American generals. This practice was actually adopted from the British Army, after they purchased a batch of tanks, which the US Army had creatively dubbed "Medium Tank, M3," and renamed them as "General Lee", with an improved version being called the General Grant. The next American tank to see widespread use was thus named the M4 Sherman.
- There's quite a few porn stars who do this for Porn Names - usually a name that's similar, rather than identical (such as Dru Berrymore), although there is one young lady out there performing in hardcore under the stage name of Cindy Crawford.
- As the supermodel of the same name found out when she took legal action, the young lady's birth name really is Cynthia Crawford. Fair use prevailed.
- Chris Columbus
- US Senator John Little McClellan, named by his parents after a former governor named John Little.
- Winfield Scott (1786-1866) served as an officer in the United States Army from 1806 through 1861, as a general from 1814 until his retirement in 1861 at the rank of a Major General. "The Grand Old Man of the Army" played a prominent role in the War of 1812, the Mexican-American War, and various Indian campaigns, and designed the basic strategy which the Union used in the Civil War. Two other individuals born during Scott's tenure as a general officer were named after him, and also rose to command rank in the armed forces: Major General Winfield Scott Hancock, who served in the Army of the Potomac in the Civil War (And served under the original General Winfield Scott as a newly minted Lieutenant in the Mexican-American War), and Rear Admiral Winfield Scott Schley, who commanded the U.S. squadron at Santiago in the Spanish-American War.
- Egyptian novelist Naguib Mahfouz was named for a famous doctor of his time, Naguib Pasha Mahfouz.
- David Tennant's real name is David McDonald, but uses the last name Tennant after Pet Shop Boys singer Neil Tennant professionally because there was another David McDonald in the Actors Guild.
- Many places, people and monuments in real life are named after famous people, making this...
- Very popular in space exploration. Features on other planets, such as impact craters, are frequently named after famous people, usually from the sciences or arts.
- Brazilian soccer player Roberto Carlos is named after an eponymous singer from that country.
- It is remarkably common in Brazil to name your son after a famous American- both Ronaldo and Ronaldo Gaucho (Ronaldinho) are named after Ronald Reagan, and then there's Creedence Clearwater Couto...
- Albert Brooks's real name is Albert Einstein. His parents thought it was funny.
- Siegfried Sassoon owes his German first name to his mother's love for Wagner's Ring of the Nibelung.
- A Romanian couple wanted to name their son Osama Bin Laden for this specific purpose. They eventually settled on Stefan (Steve), after the legendary Moldavian lord Stephen III.
- In 2010, the most popular names for babies born in the U.S. were Jacob and Isabella. Both names had been decently popular beforehand; Jacob, in fact, is undergoing a slight lull in popularity. Isabella, however, only made the top five in 2006, right after a certain uber-popular teen vampire book series hit the shelves. One cannot help but wonder if fans are letting their preferred couple influence their Theme Naming just a tad...
- Similarly, a number of too-obsessed Potters have named their sons Harry.
- George Washington Carver and Martin Luther King Jr. take things a step further than usual by bearing their namesakes' full name.
- Serial Killer John Wayne Gacy was named after John Wayne, who was his mother's favorite movie star. One has to wonder how the Duke would have reacted if he had been alive at the time of Gacy's arrest.
- Diane Keaton (born Diane Hall) took her last name from Buster Keaton. Micheal Keaton (born Michael Douglas) didn't have to change his name until AFTER his time period working as a stagehand for "Mr. Rogers' Neighborhood" (during which time Diane was establishing herself in Woody Allen comedes), but when he did (for obvious reasons) he got HIS inspiration from Diane Keaton's name.
- Bette Midler was named after Bette Davis, although she's pronounced her name with one syllable, instead two like Davis. Considering the fact that Bette Midler was the multitalented diva's real birth name, of course it was her mother who named her (after Mrs. Midler's favorite movie star), but it was also her mother who thought "Bette" was pronounced as per the single-syllable word "bet", instead of Ms. Davis's pronunciation (which is the same as the more traditional spelling of "Betty").
- Joan Crawford loved to state that in the 1940s, which is when her fame hit its ultimate peak, there was a massive influx of baby girls named Joan, half for Joan of Arc and half for Ms. Crawford herself.
- Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton named their daughter Chelsea after the Joni Mitchell song "Chelsea Morning", which itself got its name (and was basically about) the bohemian New York City hangout called the Chelsea Hotel.
- On the periodic table, elements 95 through 112 are mostly named after famous scientists, though a couple are named after famous laboratories instead.
- Cryolophosaurus was dubbed 'Elvisosaurus' for its unique, curled crest before being given a formal name.
- A genus of ferns have been named Gaga, after, of course, Lady Gaga, because its young, unfurled stalks tend to look like claws, similar to Gaga's "paws up" gesture. Going further, one species is named Gaga germanotta, taken from her maiden name (Stefani Germanotta), and another has species name monstraparva, which pretty much translates to Little Monsters, Gaga's Fan Community Nickname