There's an evil organization in the Marvel Universe called AIM (Advanced Idea Mechanics), no relation to the Internet service (AOL Instant Messenger). This can lead to very funny reactions when your friends who don't read comics find sentences in your fan-fics like "We suspect AIM of involvement in the deaths of the astronauts."
Then there's the conservative media watchdog group AIM (Accuracy In Media).
Or the initials of the title of the Outkast song Bombs over Baghdad?
Barbie is widely known as a long-running line of dolls. One of the more notorious Nazi officials in occupied France during World War II was named Klaus Barbie. And he was there first too, since the toys weren't made until 1959. This is spoofed in Rat Race when a traveling family decides to visit a Barbie Museum in Nevada, only to realize too late that they walked into the wrong one. The Barbie doll was named after creator Ruth Handler's daughter Barbara, while Ken was named after her son.
Sam(uel) Beckett: Hero of Quantum Leap or famous playwright?
Probably meant as a homage, and lampshaded several times on the show.
In addition, one of the shows that ran opposite Quantum Leap during its run was China Beach, which ALSO had a regular character named Sam Beckett (and just to make it even more confusing, Michael Boatman, the actor who played the China Beach Sam Beckett, made a guest appearance in the final season).
Ryan Bingham: The award-winning singer/songwriter, or George Clooney's character in Up in the Air? Coincidentally, non-fictional Ryan Bingham won an Academy Award for songwriting the same year George Clooney was nominated for playing fictional Ryan Bingham in Up in the Air.
A minor character in Shakespeare'sRichard III is referred to as Sir James Blunt. The real person the character is based on was actually named James Blount. James Blunt the musician/soldier was also born James Blount.
Frank Black is the second stage name taken by Pixies frontman Black Francis (real name Charles Thompson) and the main character in Millennium.
A Troy Bolton was beaten to death by ex-fugitive Raymond Ross, as told on the Discovery Channel's I Almost Got Away with It.
All of the aforementioned Boltons and many other people sharing this last name are very annoyed at George R.R. Martin, who gave this last name to a family of serial murdering psychopaths in A Song of Ice and Fire.
Although the comic character never got to kick the football, there have been a Chicago Bears defensive back, a New Orleans Saints running back, a Washington Redskins wide receiver, and a USC offensive lineman named Charlie Brown.
Charlie Brown is also the civilian identity of DC Comics supervillain Kite Man, which raises some questions about that round-headed kid who struggles with the Kite-Eating Tree.
Naomi Campbell is not a supermodel. She is quite super, though. And rather beautiful. (The show does refer to the confusion - once, in one of those "yeah yeah, Never Heard That One Before, can we get on with our lives now"-type scenes.)
Mike Evans was a co-creator of the TV series Good Times. Michael Evans was the name of the younger son on that series. However, the real-life Evans was not the basis for the fictional Evans. According to The Other Wiki, the series was actually based on the childhood of the series' other co-creator, Eric Monte.
Emma Frost, a well-established screen-writer, or one of the X-Men? What makes this even more amusing is that the fictional Emma Frost's alias was The White Queen, and the real Emma Frost wrote several of the scripts for the BBC's The White Queen. One imagines she got the job through a hilarious misunderstanding.
There was also a Jim Gordon who worked as a session drummer for numerous rock albums in the '60s and '70s, later became a member of Eric Clapton's band Derek and the Dominos, and still later became a schizophrenic who stabbed his mother to death.
Sergei Gurlukovich, the former GRU colonel from Metal Gear Solid 2, is one letter off from Sergei Gorlukovich, the Russian soccer player. In the Japanese version of MGS, his name was actually pronounced Gorlukovich, so it's possible they changed his spelling on purpose.
Happy Burger, the Burger King knockoff in the Silent Hill franchise starting with the second game, used to be the name of a real-life hamburger stand in Edmonds, WA, which has since become a Herfy's Burgers & Teriyaki.
Roy Harper: Speedy. Arsenal.Red Arrow or English folk singer?
Cole Hauser is either an American actor or the fake human name used a few times by Cole on Tracker
Richard Haydn, the actor who played Max Detweiler in the film adaptation of The Sound of Music, should not be confused with Richard Hayden, David Spade's character from Tommy Boy.
Michael Hayes: Title character of a short-lived TV series with David Caruso, or a member of the Fabulous Freebirds nicknamed "P.S."?
Speaking of wrestlers named Michael Hayes, there is a paraplegic war veteran wrestling in OVW bearing that name. Notably, his name is actually Michael Hayes, while the NWA legend is named Michael Seitz. The Wrestling Observer Newsletter lampshades this all the time; every week when they post an OVW wrestling report, they say (not P.S.) whenever he is brought up.
Heavy D is both the pseudonym of an influential rapper/singer/actor, and a playable character in two entries of the King of Fighters franchise. This probably isn't a coincidence, given some of the latter's early musical influences.
Housepets! has The Adventures of Spot, a Show Within a Show comic. In real life, The Adventures of Spot is a British children's animated show from the 80s that's based on a series of children lift-the-flap books by Eric Hill. And on the topic of Eric Hill, there's a news anchor named Erica Hill, too.
Hugh Jass the one-off Simpsons character, and Hugh Jarse the programmer for 1980s British software house Bug-Byte.note "Ass" in American English is "arse" in British English, so these are effectively the same name.
Billie Jean: A character in an eponymous Michael Jackson song, and a Las Vegas hoarder found dead under clutter piled to the ceiling. Not to be confused in any case with Billie Jean King - which was actually something that concerned producer Quincy Jones quite a bit, to the point that the song almost didn't get released.
Boris Johnson is Mayor of London. Boris Johnson is also head of the Democratic League and a major character in Norman Spinrad's science fiction novel Agent of Chaos; in fact, the first two words in the book are his name (Agent of Chaos was published three years after the mayor's birth).
Kevin Johnson: Former NBA player and Mayor of Sacramento, or Michael's alias on LOST? (The show has a large number of characters and aliases named intentionally after real people or fictional characters. This one seems to be unintentional.)
Helen Fielding's fictional character Bridget Jones should not be confused with the Bridget Jones who was a writer and occasional actress on Mystery Science Theater 3000 (and eventual wife of fellow MSTer Michael J. Nelson.)
Davy Jones is a singer with The Monkees; a turn-of-the century baseball player; the real name of the singer whose stage name is David Bowie; a villainous undead pirate in the Pirates of the Caribbean films; and the personification of the sea in nautical folklore.
There's also a recurring character with the name in the Bloody Jack novels.
January Jones an actress born in 1978 or a female US-adventurer and pilot in the 1930's with a brother who is a famous archeologist and a sidekick from Rotterdam, sharing a universe with Agent 327 and Johnny Goodbye, whose adventures have been published since 1988 in Dutch comics?
Mike Jones once said on a Missy Elliott song that he "can't be cloned". He probably never met the pro wrestler known as Virgil/Vincent, whose real name is also Mike Jones. To add to that...Mike Jones is also the name of a character from StarTropics.
Tom Jones is the stage name of a Welsh pop singer as well as the eponymous protagonist of Henry Fielding's novel. This wouldn't be an example, as the singer took his name from the book, except that a third Tom Jones wrote The Fantasticks and other musicals with composer Harvey Schmidt.
David Manning: Fictitious movie critic, former British Ambassador to the United States, or World Class Championship Wrestling referee?
Stanley Marsh is the Only Sane Man from South Park. His girlfriend's name is Wendy. Stanley Marsh III (whose father was Stanley Marsh II, and who has a son named Stanley Marsh IV) is an artist and philanthropist. His wife's name is Wendy.
Stan's Father Randy, has the same name as a well known retired MLB Ump.
Ichiro Mihara is either the president of the Piffle Company, or the vice president of Arika. At least twofans of Arika have made note of this.
The classic Western film High Noon has a villain named Frank Miller. It's just a coincidence, since the film was made while Frank Miller the comics author wasn't even born, but the film's theme song about "shooting Frank Miller dead" is quite entertaining regardless.
One character in One Piece is a harpy named Monet, like the French painter Claude Monet. While the author of the series has been known to draw inspiration from real life people to make some of his characters, it's much more likely to be a mere coincidence in this case, as the character Monet is more inspired by the Yuki-Onna (A monster from Japanese folklore) than impressionism.
There's Michael Myers, a crazed serial killer who was institutionalized for the murder of his sister when he was six, then there's "Mike" Myers, who is best known for Wayne'sWorld, Shrek, and the Austin Powers'' series.
A different Mike Myers was a Major League reliever from 1995 to 2007, winning one World Series as a member of the 2004 Red Sox.
There's Willie Nelson the country singer and Willie Nelson the onion-spider monster from Aqua Teen Hunger Force. The latter introduces himself to the Aqua Teens saying that he's not the Willie Nelson, but that his name is Willie Nelson.
Alfred Newman was a legendary Hollywood composer who created the 20th Century Foxfanfare and scored countless films from the 1930s to the '60s. Alfred E. Neuman, on the other hand, is a legendary "What, Me Worry?" mascot for MAD.
Ed Norton is the name of an actor from such films as Fight Club and The Incredible Hulk, as well as Art Carney's character from The Honeymooners. Carney says he got "To the moon, Alice!" jokes all the time, especially before he became famous (though it was Ralph's catchphrase in The Honeymooners, Norton never said it).
There's also an "Ed Norton Music" that turns up in the credits of such programs as The Mary Tyler Moore Show and Taxi. Not sure whether it's named for a real person or just an homage to the Carney character.
The protagonist in British author John Christopher's Sword of the Spirits trilogy is named Luke Perry. They were published when the actor of the same name was five years old.
Then there's Matthew Perry, a murder victim in the low-budget 1985 drama Belizaire The Cajun. He shares his name with both an 1850s commodore famous for opening up Japan to the world in 1853 and a 1990s sitcom star.
Robby Reed is a goofy teenager with an alien rotary dial. Robert Reed was a man named Brady. This is mentioned in H-E-R-O, where the warden of the prison an adult Robby is staying in mentions with amusement that he shares a name with the actor who played Mike Brady. Robby says he's heard it before. A third Robert Reed is a science-fiction writer.
Marco Rossi is not only the name of two fictional characters (one of them being a playable character in the Metal Slug video games, the other the protagonist of the anime series 3000LeaguesInSearchOfMother), it is also named of several Italian people (including two football players and sexologist), since "Marco" and "Rossi" are both common Italian names.
Still another Roger Smith was one of the stars of 77 Sunset Strip.
Fantasy novel Fall of the Kings by Ellen Kushner has a minor character named Will Smith. But he's not the actor, obviously. Nor the defensive lineman for the New Orleans Saints.
Nor one of the staff members of Whiskey Media tech site Tested. Although Ryan Davis used to joke that him and the actor were one and the same.
Jon Snow is one of the main characters of A Song of Ice and Fire/Game of Thrones and a British newsreader, a fact that the British newspapers got a lot of comic mileage out of when Game of Thrones premiered. The similarly named John Snow was president of CSX Transportation before becoming Secretary of the Treasury under President George W. Bush. Another John Snow was a 19th century British doctor who founded the sciences of epidemiology and anasthesia, and got a pub named after him in London for stopping a cholera outbreak.
In Eraserhead, Jack Nance plays a man named Henry Spencer. Henry's infant child, played by a bizarre puppet, was given the nickname "Spike" by Nance. That means that the Eraserhead baby is Spike Spencer. There's also a band in the Philippines named Eraserheads.
Green Lantern is good for this, actually. There's also an astronaut named Guy Gardner. And, had an editor at National not thought it was a bit too on-the-nose, Alan Scott would have been named Alan Ladd (in reference to Aladdin, not to the actor who would debut a few years later. It's a good thing they decided against this, because at the end of the decade the real Alan Ladd got his own comic.).
Bill Finger, the in-house co-creator of the Golden Age Green Lantern, used to tell the story that way. But after he died, Martin Nodell, who came up with the idea freelance and pitched it to DC, said he just flipped through the New York phone book with a pin that landed on "Alan" and "Scott". It's possible that Finger tried to talk him into changing it (and was talked out of the change by the editor). All the same, Alan Scott ended up with two middle names: "Wellington", from a Golden Age story in which he thwarts a latter-day Napoleon, and "Ladd", because Roy Thomas forgot the first story and remembered the Finger anecdote.
1958 Boris Karloff film The Haunted Strangler had the murder of a woman named Martha Stewart as a major plot point.
Stephen Stills plays in a band with either Scott Pilgrim or David Crosby and Graham Nash (and sometimes Neil Young).
Another musician by the name of Stephen Stills was mentioned in Prometheus.
Dean Stockwell is either an American actor, known for his work on Quantum Leap or a character in a Step by Step episode.
Additionally, Brian George, who portrayed the dean, participated in a Quantum Leap episode.
There have been three famous musicians called James Taylor; the one who was a member of John Mayall's Bluesbreakers before going solo, another who (as J.T. Taylor) was lead singer of Kool and the Gang, and another one about 20 years later, who in an interview said he'd got fed up with people asking why he'd "changed his style".
Jim Taylor of the Green Bay Packers was the NFL leading rusher in 1962, the only time that Jim Brown (see above) did not lead the league between 1957 and 1965.
Chuck Wagon: Name of Dave Seville's second cousin, twice removed on his father's side or the stage name of American musician Robert 'Bob' Davis, an original member of Los Angeles punk rock band The Dickies or even the long-running radio show The Chuck Wagon Gang, a Southern Gospel musical group.
Elizabeth Warren is a Democratic senator from Massachusetts and former assistant to President Obama. Another Elizabeth Warren is a Funny Foreigner in Softenni.
Jagged Alliance mercenary Vicky Waters shares a name with a real life Atlanta reporter.
Windam is either the name of a Earth Alliance mass-produced mobile suit from Mobile Suit Gundam SEED Destiny (GAT-04 Windam), a Rune God, or, up until the introduction of Toyota's Lexus brand back into Japan, the Japanese market name for the Lexus ES sedan (sold as the Toyota Windam).
While we're on the subject of computers, "Mac" is quite a common name for chracters in fiction, including the same movie as Windows the radio operator.
MAC (this time in all-caps, meaning Media Access Control) is also an unchangeable hardware address assigned to all networking equipment at a firmware level. This has caused confusion as several DRM schemes (most notably those used by Pop Cap) depended on it.
There are two unrelated Star Records in both Camp Rock and Austin & Ally (The former mentioned in the The Final Jam sequel by name and the latter spelled with two R's), but both are not related to a real-life record company in the Philippines (Now renamed to Star Music) that's owned by a TV station Mega Corp. (ABS-CBN, to be exact).
Volbeat is either a Pokemon or a famous rock band.
Jason and Paige are one sibling pair from the comic FoxTrot. Jason Paige on the other hand is a musician who regularly works with Nintendo of America and performed the Pokémon anime's English theme song and the cover of Steriogram's Walkie Talkie Man on Elite Beat Agents, among other things.