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Famous-Named Foreigner

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'Er petticoat was yaller an' 'er little cap was green,
An' 'er name was Supi-yaw-lat - jes' the same as Theebaw's Queen
Rudyard Kipling, Mandalay

A Famous-Named Foreigner is a character hailing from some foreign nation who, due to the authors not knowing anything about local naming conventions and/or thinking it would make their nationality more recognizable and/or just being lazy, is named after some very famous person from the respective nation's history or culture. Which most of the time sounds pretty ridiculous to the local ear, due to those names often being quite rare and primarily associated with those same famous persons.

This trope, as noted earlier, is often the result of Small Reference Pools. If the authors care even less, it often results in As Long as It Sounds Foreign. And of course, names do become popular because famous people have them—for example, "Muhammad" is by far the most common name for Muslim boys (and in fact, is the single most common boys' name in the world).

Compare Named After Somebody Famous, when this is done deliberately as a reference, and not just with foreign characters.


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    Aboriginal Australian 

  • Hoxha. Usually named for Enver Hoxha, the communist leader of Albania for 40 years.
    • The exchange student from the Simpsons episode "The Crepes of Wrath", is named Adil Hoxha. Bonus for also being named after Adil Carcani, Albania's last communist prime minister.
    • One of the Albanian traffickers in Taken is named Marko Hoxha. The sequel has his uncle, Murad Hoxha, as the Big Bad.


  • The Pillars of the Earth: The family Jack stays with in Toledo identify as "Christian Arabs" and have names like Rashid al-Haroun. While this might be possible for Christians in the Middle East, it is evident that Ken Follett confused the Spanish Mudejars (Moors under Christian rule, who kept Arab traditions including names) with the Mozarabs (Iberian Christians who adopted some Arab trappings while under Muslim rule, but were conscious about their Visigothic heritage, had Roman-Visigothic names, and spoke a Latin-derived language). By 1145, 60 years after the conquest of Toledo, the Mozarabs had lost any Arab-Muslim influence and integrated into the dominant Christian society. There was no such thing as a "Christian Arab" in the city, nor any incentive for anyone to identify as one.

  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles:
    • Indy's Belgian friend in the army is named Rémi. Steven Spielberg is a huge fan of the Belgian comic strip Tintin, which was created by Hergé, whose original name was Georges Rémi.
    • Rémi's last name is Baudouin. The series aired in the last years of King Baudouin's reign in Belgium.
  • Another character named after Baudouin is the Belgian mercenary Baudouinix in Asterix the Legionary. In the original French version, he is called Mouléfix (from moule "mussel", because Belgians are stereotyped in France as liking to eat them), and in the German translation he is Mannekenpix (after the fountain-sculpture Manneken Pis in Brussels).

  • The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou: has Pelé Dos Santos, the Brazilian in the movie's Five-Token Band. Named, of course, after perhaps the most prominent Brazilian of all time (complete with the last name, which despite being very common, possibly refers to the team Pelé played for (Santos)).

  • Several members of the Bulgarian Quidditch team in Harry Potter bear the names of notable historical figures; Zograf is a 19th-century painter (as well as a nickname for painters in general), Levski a revolutionary hero. Krum was a king who killed the Byzantine emperor Nikephoros, and is also famous for being the first to introduce written laws. Zograf, being a nickname for a painter rather than a real surname is obsolete today, "Levski" is considered off-limits and "Krum" is outright impossible as a surname (it has to get a suffix to become one), though it has some popularity as a given name.

  • In Rudyard Kipling's poem "Mandalay", the narrator's Burmese girlfriend is named "Supiyawlat", i.e. Supayalat like Queen Supayalat, wife of King Thibaw of Burma.

  • In the English translation of Asterix in Corsica the Corsican warrior is named Boneywasawarriorwayayix, in reference to the only Corsican the British may have heard of: Napoléon Bonaparte.
    • It is justified, however, because the character is a parody of Napoleon as seen by the French (he is a brilliant military leader, but also very paranoid, and he does the memetic hand-in-the-jacket gesture), and his French name (Ocatarinetabellachitchix) is a reference to a Corsican song that is unknown outside France.

    Costa Rican 


  • In one of the Sherlock Holmes cases, "The Adventure of the Creeping Man", Doyle has a Czech character named Dvorak. A. Dvorak. Admittedly, Dvořák is indeed a very common Czech surname, but first names beginning with A not so much.
  • Miss Wenceslas in Sherlock, presumably named for Wenceslaus of Bohemia. Unfortunately for the makers, the Czech version of the name is Václav, which is not used as a family name, and even if it were, would be lacking the "-ová" ending of all female surnames that have a noun root.
  • In the Night Watch series of novels, there is the Czech vampire Vítězslav Hrubín. While "Vítězslav" is a common name, this combination obviously is merging names of two famous Czech poets, Vítězslav Nezval and František Hrubín.
  • At one point in WET, Rubi is put in contact with a Czech woman named Kafka Dvorak. Kafka is a last name! (And the above-mentioned ending convention for female surnames applies as well.)
  • Trinity Blood has a character named Václav Havel, same as the first Czech president.
  • There is another Václav Havel in The War That Came Early by Harry Turtledove, as the Czech soldier viewpoint character in a World War II started over the Sudeten Crisis.


  • The 1945 film Back to Bataan, centred on the Philippine theatre of World War II, has a Filipino guerrilla character whose full name is Andrés Bonifacio—complete namesake, and In-Universe descendant, of the Real Life revolutionary leader who rose up against the Spanish colonisers in the 1890s. (The movie claims the original Bonifacio fought the Americans themselves, but this is Artistic License – History: the real Bonifacio was killed before the American invasion.)
  • The Tekken series has Josie Rizal from the Philippines, a genderbent version of Jose Rizal, the country's national hero.

  • Early in the movie Swordfish, a Finnish hacker is arrested. His first name, Axl, is not a commonly used Finnish name, but his last name is Torvalds - just like a certain other Finnish hacker.
    • Axel, however, is a common enough Scandinavian name (a variant of "Absalom"), and it fits quite well with the Germanic-based surname (akin e. g. to Thorvaldsen, the name of a Danish sculptor).
  • Fate/hollow ataraxia has Luvia Edelfelt, a Finnish Ojou and Rich Bitch extraordinaire. In Finland, Edelfelt is practically a synonym for a noble family whose members are talented architects, painters, writers et cetera. It might well be intended that in the Nasuverse, the Edelfelt line of mages are that same noble family, with those who lacked magical ability having become artists.

  • St Trinians school, in the 2007 film, has a French teacher called Miss Maupassant.
  • Invisible Kid II from the Legion of Super-Heroes was named Jacques Foccart. For added irony appeal, he was also black.
  • The X-Files: Chester Bonaparte in "Fresh Bones". Note that "Bonaparte" is a Francization of Italian and it would be very unlikely for someone not related to Napoleon to have such name.
  • Yu-Gi-Oh! GX has a teacher named Jean-Louis Napoleon (Bonaparte in the English dub).
  • George de Sand from Mobile Fighter G Gundam. George Sand was the Moustache de Plume of a woman. It's meant to sound English - the French form of "George" is Georges and the French word for "sand" is sable.
  • Captain Tsubasa: The two main players of the French team are named El Sid Pierre, and Louis Napoléon.
  • Marvel's Canadian superheroine Murmur alias Arlette Truffaut, rather similar to actress Arletty and film director Francois Truffaut.
  • Star Trek: The Next Generation had Captain Picard, a scientist-explorer, who sounds suspiciously like the (French-Swiss) Piccard brothers, who were scientist-explorers. Or Jean-Felix Picard, a 17th century French astronomer.
    • Captain Picard mentions he comes from a family of explorers, implying he is a distant descendant of said famous Picards.
  • An Arc Villain in Preacher was a Frenchman named Napoleon Vichy.
  • The title character of Athena Voltaire shares a name with the famous Voltaire, but Voltaire actually invented his as a pen name. That said, Athena's father was a well-known performer, and it's quite possible it wasn't his real name either — he may have borrowed Voltaire for the stage, and since Athena became part of his act, she may have become known by it too.
  • Similar to the above, Gaëtan "Mole" Molière from Atlantis: The Lost Empire is named after famous French screenwriter and actor Moličre, despite it being a made-up stage name rather than a proper French surname.
  • JEAN. PIERRE. POLNAREFF. Slightly diminished by the fact that this was done on purpose. Oh, Araki.
  • Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders: In "The Lonely Heart", the first French victim of Serial Killer Paul Mossier is named Alexandra Lafayette. However, the real Lafayette's surname was du Motier. His title was Marquis of Lafayette.

  • Code Geass:
  • The Kindaichi Case Files has a young boy genius called Chris Einstein.
  • Arsenic and Old Lace has a Doctor Einstein. Somewhat lampshaded in that Elaine expresses obvious surprise at hearing his name. The play goes even further when Jonathan clears it up for her by revealing that his first name is Herman, not Albert.
  • Gunbuster has mostly Japanese characters, named after people on the staff, and one foreign character (Toren Smith) named after a well-known manga translator. When it came to the female German pilot, though, they fell headlong into this trap, ending up with Jung Freud, which is... not exactly a name anyone is likely to have: "Jung" is actually a not uncommon German ... family name (it means: "young").
  • Len Wein has gone on record that he came up with Nightcrawler's civilian name in 1975 by combining the first name of Kurt Waldheim (Austria, then secretary-general of the United Nations) with the family name of Richard Wagner. Kurt Wagner would hardly raise as much as an eyebrow with a native speaker, though.
  • Final Fantasy VII has a fat villain named Heidegger, with an annoying laugh. He is in no way to be confused with either the Dr. Heidegger in Nathaniel Hawthorne's short story or the eponymous German philosopher, author of "Being and Time," an inquiry into the nature and meaning of existence.
  • Marvel's Destiny alias Irene Adler, named for the Sherlock Holmes character, although there are a number of famous Austrians and Germans with the same surname.
  • Minor Marvel villain of the Hellfire Club Friedrich von Roehm, quite probably named with Nazi leader Erich Roehm in mind.
  • The current führer of Reich-5 and successor to Viktor Alchsneiss is named Günter Wallraff. In our world, that's the (first AND last) name of a decidedly leftist German investigative journalist. Makes you wonder how much research they did on that.
  • In Frankenstein 1970, the Baron's hulking servant who is doubling as the monster in the Film Within a Film is named Hans Himmler. And his given name is only revealed in the credits. For most of the movie, he is just addressed as Himmler.
  • Italian comic series Legs Weaver has Legs meet an old friend of hers, a woman called Sybil Danning. The exact same name as a real-life Austrian actress.

  • On one episode of American Dad!, a Greek butcher named Hercules is introduced. At only one point is the correlation between his name and the mythological hero pointed out, in the form of a pun in his store signage ("Witness the 7 Meats of Hercules!") Otherwise, the name is treated as perfectly normal name. This is particularly noticeable because Hercules is the Roman name for the Greek hero Herakles, and a Greek having the former name ahead of the latter, if either, is quite odd.
    • Forms of Hercules are actually used in some languages, such as the Italian Ercole and the French Hercule.
  • The owner of the Shelbyville nuclear power station in The Simpsons is named Aristotle Amadopolis, in reference to the most famous Greek shipping tycoon of all time: Aristoteles (English: Aristotle) Onassis.
  • Survival of the Fittest V3's: martial arts "expert" Adonis Zorba, named for both the Greek God of beauty and Zorba the Greek.
  • In the 1960 13 Ghosts, the main character is named Cyrus Zorba, and the uncle who leaves him the house is Dr. Plato Zorba. By the time of the 2001 remake, the names were probably considered too silly and were changed to Arthur and Cyrus Kriticos, respectively.

  • Hadji Singh from the Jonny Quest series. Hadji is an obviously Muslim title, and Singh is obviously Hindu or Sikh. Also, the chances of a guy named Hadji Singh being the prince of Calcutta are rather low.
  • Indian characters named "Mahatma" after Mahatma Gandhi are a particularly egregious example, as "Mahatma" is an honorific, not a first name. Gandhi's actual first name was Mohandas.
  • In the late 1980s sitcom Head of the Class, an Indian-American character is named "Jawaharlal Choudhury." Not only do the given name and the family name unlikely to be paired in a real Indian person because they come from two different ethnicities, but also "Jawaharlal" is obviously taken from the name of India's first prime minister, Jawaharlal Nehru. Also, naming fashions change from generation to generation in India; thus, to an Indian, someone named Jawaharlal should have been born in the late 19th century, not someone who is a teenager in 1986.
  • Mahomet Singh in the Sherlock Holmes novel The Sign of the Four. "Mahomet" is an Anglicization of the Islamic name Muhammad, and "Singh" is a Sikh surname taken by all male members of the faith, making "Mahomet Singh" a highly improbable name combination (akin to "Khan Noonien Singh"). The Penguin Books annotation of The Sign of the Four calls this a solecism, and blandly remarks that "the two names would not be found together." This annotation should be accompanied by bells, whistles, flashing lights, and a maroon. Especially a maroon.
  • The Doctor Who episode Dinosaurs on a Spaceship features the Indian Space Agency, directed by a woman named Indira, after former prime minister Indira Ghandi.
  • Indiana Jones and the Temple of Doom named the Big Bad after the influential Indian painter Mola Ram/


  • Where else but Demi Moore's Striptease, where a (female) stripper "from Israel" is introduced as Ariel Sharon? Admittedly likely a stage name.
  • In the Gabriel Allon novels involving an Israeli spy/assassin, his superior is named "Ari Shamron" which is one letter and an abbreviation away from Ariel Sharon.


  • In the Thomas Harris novel Hannibal Rising, Hannibal Lecter has a Japanese aunt-by-marriage named Lady Murasaki Shikibu. The historic Murasaki Shikibu is best known as the author of The Tale of Genji, one of the world's earliest novels as well as one of the most famous and significant works of Japanese literature. The character in the book is said to be a descendant of the historic author, but this doesn't make the name much more plausible because "Murasaki Shikibu" was the author's pen name. The author's real personal name is unknown, but she was a member of the Fujiwara clan. "Shikibu" isn't even an actual Japanese family name, it was a reference to the court position held by the historic author's father.
  • Pretty much every 'foreign' character in WWF at least through the Attitude Era, what with Mr. Fuji, that sort of thing. To be fair, Mr. Fuji's real name is Harry Fujiwara.
    • Averted with Kenzo Suzuki,note  who originally was going to be called Hirohito and come in as if he was related to the Emperor of Japan.
  • The protagonist of Shaena Lambert's novel Radiance is called Keiko Kitigawa, just one letter different from the name of actress Keiko Kitagawa. Incidentally, "ti" is not a native Japanese syllable and would never show up in any real Japanese name, though it is an entirely legal rendering of a 「ち」 syllable in the official Kunrei romanisation system. (The better known Hepburn system renders it as "chi".)
  • Alan Mendelsohn, the Boy from Mars has Clarence Yojimbo, author of Yojimbo's Japanese-English Dictionary. Subverted by the revelation that he's not actually Japanese but Venusian.
  • On the Angel episode "Players," a Japanese character is named Takeshi Morimoto, doubtless referencing Takeshi Kaga and Masaharu Moriomto from Iron Chef.
  • Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders: Yukio Aito from "Whispering Death" is loosely based on Japanese Serial Killer Hiroshi Maeue, who was executed along with another murderer named Yukio Yamaji.
  • After Japan Takes Over the World, Marty McFly addresses his boss in Back to the Future Part II as Fujitsu-san. The problem is Fujitsu is only the name of a corporation; it is not a Japanese surname. It's a bit like having a character named Mr. Kodak.

  • X-Men:
    • The real name of the Marauders mutant Scrambler is Kim Il Sung, after the communist revolutionary leader.



  • World Heroes: Erick, justifiable in that Erik is still a very common Norse name.
  • Celty Sturluson of Durarara!!, who came from Ireland and now lives in Japan, but ended up with a Scandinavian name along the way. Kind of runs into problems because Sturluson is a patronymic, not a last name.

  • The X-Files, in the episode set in Norway, introduces the Norwegian fisherman... Trondheim (also the name of one of Norway's biggest and most important cities, and a former capital). While naming kids after cities or places is not unusual in the States, it is not a part of Norwegian naming conventions at all, neither as given names or surnames. On the other hand, Trondheim is established as having been born in Pensacola, which is in Florida...
  • Sigrid Nansen, the original Icemaiden in DC Comics, is presumably named after the Arctic explorer Fridtjof Nansen. Note that her first appearance involved an expedition by the Superfriends to Antarctica.
  • In What Remains of Edith Finch, the oldest member of the Finch family was a Norwegian settler named Odin Finch.



  • Dracula could be considered a case of this. Many adaptations make Stoker's Count Dracula and Vlad the Impaler (aka Vlad Dracula) the same person, and there are hints at this in the book, but scholars debate how much of this was intentional on Bram Stoker's part and how much was just him cobbling various bits of Romanian history together.
  • The Antichrist from the Left Behind series is named Nicolae Carpathia. To be absolutely fair, his other name is "Jetty" (?!?!) and this is hardly the only offensive moment in these novels.
  • Perhaps best used in Work Time Fun in the Rock–Paper–Scissors World Tournament mini-game. The Romanian character in the world league championships is named "Mayor Dracula." In fact, just about every opponent in that minigame falls under this trope, including "Victoria Potter" from England and "George Spielberg" from America.
  • The Monk, a vampiric foe of Batman, shares his names with possibly the two most famous Romanians who have ever lived: Nicolae Ceaușescu (albeit in an alternate Romanisation of the first name) and Vlad the Impaler. And at least one of these has very strong connections to vampirism.
  • One of the most common Fanon names for Romania of Hetalia: Axis Powers is “Vlad”. Though there are a few people who dislike the name due to being so blatantly derived from a specific historical figure, as the name is hardly common in Romania.
  • The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles episode "Masks of Evil" has Indy travelling to Transylvania to investigate a general named Mattias Targo, and his local link being an inkeeper named Nicholas Hunyadi. Both identify as Romanian and want independence from Austria-Hungary, even though Hunyadi is a Hungarian surname.



  • De Leon, often used for noblemen and/or conquistadors, after Juan Ponce de León. Notice that "Ponce de León" is actually just one surname in this case, although "Ponce", "León", and "de León" also exist. Also, that Juan Ponce de León and his supposed search for the Fountain of Youth is much more known in Puerto Rico and the United States for obvious reasons, while in other Spanish-speaking countries people are likelier to think of other members of the Ponce de León family or the family at large when they hear "Ponce de León".
    • Soul Series: Cervantes de Leon.
    • Age of Empires III has Francisco Delgado de León, a loose mix of Hernán Cortés, Francisco Pizarro, Hernando de Soto, and Juan Ponce de León.
    • Family Guy: Peter Griffin's conquistador ancestor, Ponce de Leon Griffin (obviously a parody of Juan Ponce de León).
    • Poncito de Leon, a fictional son of Juan Ponce de León in a Pocahontas' comic, arrives in Virginia while still searching for the Fountain of Youth as an old man.
  • Vega is neither nearly as common a surname in Spain as it would seem from American fiction. Only some 65,000 had it as their first surname in 2019, and only 5,000 had "de la Vega."note  However, it keeps popping in media because of Zorro's real name, Don Diego de la Vega. The only famous living Spaniard with the surname Vega, actress Paz Vega, chose it as a stage name (her real surname is Campos).
  • For some reason, two Spanish generals in Op-center: Balance of Power are named after Argentinian visual artists, the Big Bad Amadori and a fleetingly-referenced Americo Hoss. However, the real Amadori was born in Italy, and the real Americo Hoss was born in Hungary. You would never expect a Spaniard to have the surname Amadori or Hoss, let alone some supposed "Castilian nationalist". The third general is named Aguirre.
  • Dragon Quest IV: Pisarro.
  • Several characters called Cortez, although it is a rather common Spanish surname.note 
  • Sealab 2021: Marco's full name is Marco Rodrigo Diaz de Vivar Gabriel Garcia Marquez. Note that this is a horrible mangling of actual Spanish naming practices, but then, Rule of Funny.
  • Sunset Riders: El Greco, though the character appears to be Mexican. (Greco-Mexican?)
  • Sidney Sheldon's The Sands of Time:
    • The merry band of Lovable Rogue Basque terrorists are named J. Miró, Felix Carpio, and R. Mellado. However, none of these names are actually Basque in origin, and they're uncommon in the Basque Country.
    • The evil Spanish prime minister Leopoldo Martinez's physical description is a dead-ringer for Leopoldo Calvo-Sotelo, the only notable Leopoldo in 1980s Spain.
    • The Starscream Rubio Arzano may be named after the leader of the now forgotten hostage takers at the Barcelona Central Bank, which happened shortly after the failed 1981 coup (notice the references to the latter in the use of Leopoldo and Mellado). If so, Sheldon failed to notice that "El Rubio" was a nickname (meaning "The Blonde One") and not a given name; the real guy's actual name was José Juan Martínez. Rubio is a common last name in Spain, but it is unheard of as a first name.
  • Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders:
    • The Serial Killer in "El Toro Bravo" is named Xavi Alonso. Alonso is a rather common name in Spain, but Word of God is that he was named after the Basque footballer. However, this choice rather works against the show: Xavi (or Xabi) is actually short for Xavier (or Xabier), not a full given name as used in the show; and Alonso, while found in the Basque Country, is not originally Basque, yet the Alonsos are supposed to be local celebrities and possibly small nobility. In such case Alonso would probably have a more uncommon or compound last name, like the real Alavese surname Alonso de Mezquía.
    • The same episode has a Spanish priest named "Consolmango". Given all the references to Jesuits, he is probably named after Guy Consolmagno, who is actually American (and his surname, Italian).
  • The Spaniard in Narcos is named Efram Gonzales after a Colombian 20th century bandit, even though he's supposed to be a Spaniard (unsurprisingly, the name isn't Spaniard-sounding at all).
  • The Mission: Given the story's setting in colonial Río de la Plata, it is hard to not see the surnames Mendoza and Cabeza being based on some of the first Spanish governors of the region, Pedro de Mendoza and Cabeza de Vaca.
  • Lope de Vega's Pointy-Haired Boss in Ruled Britannia is named Baltasar Guzmán. De Vega wonders if he got the position from being related to Alonso Pérez de Guzmán, the conqueror of England in the Alternate History.
  • Adalia Cansino Montes in the episode "Soft Kills" of The Agency, who shares a name with Margarita Cansino better known as Rita Hayworth.
  • In The Cheetah Girls sequel the girls befriend a rising Spanish pop star named Marisol. In reality no 21st-century Spanish audience would take such name seriously, because of a child singer named Marisol in The '60s who was infamously Not Allowed to Grow Up.
  • The Benengeli family in the anime Nasu: Summer in Andalusia is Spanish but is named after Cide Hamete Benengeli, a fictional Arab author in Don Quixote.

  • The Doctor Who serial The Abominable Snowmen, which was set in a Tibetan monastery, had characters with the names of prominent historical figures in Tibetan Buddhism.
  • As did Thief of Time, set in a Fantasy Counterpart Culture version.
    • There's also "Lobsang Dibbler" in Witches Abroad. Since this is an example of a conman using the same name as a probable conman, it could be described as authentically inauthentic.
  • Tenzin, the Tibetan villager that helps Nate in Uncharted 2: Among Thieves, was most likely named after Tenzin Gyatso, the religious name of the 14th Dalai Lama.
    • Although, to be fair, Tenzin is a very common first name in Tibet.
  • Gyatso from Avatar: The Last Airbender and Tenzin from The Legend of Korra are both named after Dalai Lama Tenzin Gyatso.
  • The Tibetian bicycle repairman reincarnated as a supercomputer in The Long Earth is also named Lobsang. As Sir Terry Pratchett once said, in regard to Lobsang Dibbler:
    I know all kindsa Tibetan names... Kelsang, Jambel, Tsong, Tenzin, Tupten (drops Tibetan reference book on foot)... but Lobsang is, thanks to Mr Rampa, probably the best known.

  • Pearls Before Swine once used Ataturk as a name for a Turkish diplomat. It's uncertain whether the author realized that this was the nickname of the Republic of Turkey's founder.
    • It's actually his official surname, but everybody else is prohibited by law to use that particular surname. So yes, that seems like a major mess up, unless it was deliberate.
  • In season one of Downton Abbey, the family is visited by the Turkish gentleman Mr. Kemal Pamuk, a combination of two famous Turks: Mustafa Kemal (a.k.a. Atatürk), founder of the Turkish Republic and the Nobel-prize winning autor Orhan Pamuk. This is a specially poor choice because besides having a name made of two surnames, the episode takes place in 1913, and Turkish Muslims didn't have surnames until Atatürk's "Surname Law" in 1934. Mustafa's own "Kemal" ("Perfection") was a nickname originally given to him by his school teacher.

  • When asked about possible names the Nations as People cast of Hetalia: Axis Powers might have as humans, many of the ones given by author Hidekazu Himaurya were these, though he at least tried to derive some of them from more obscure historical figures. Some are plausible, others not as much:
    • North Italy's name is "Feliciano Vargas"; bizarrely, Feliciano is a Renaissance man's surname (while there are some notable people with that first name, none of them are Italian), and Vargas is not an Italian surname (it is a Spanish one).
    • Russia, AKA Ivan Braginsky. This is despite the fact Braginsky is a Jewish surname derived with mostly Polish suffix from a toponym of Belarus. Well, for Japan, it's Russian enough.
    • Greece is named "Herakles".
    • Hungary is named "Elizabeta", presumably after Elizabeth Bathory, despite the fact that that's not how it's pronounced in Hungarian.
    • Sweden is named "Berwald Oxenstierna." Both of which just happen to be surnames.
    • Finland's surname is "Väinämöinen," the name of a hero from Pre-Christian Finnish mythology.
    • Switzerland's surname is "Zwingli".
    • Norway got a list of possible names, which includes the likes of "Sigurd", "Knut", and the surname "Bondevik."
  • Jerry Jenkins has admitted to consistently using a variant of this to name foreign characters: first name of a famous foreigner, then a notable location in their country as a last name. When this fails, it really fails (e.g. Nicolae Carpathia.)
  • Apparently Jerry Jenkins and Ann M. Martin took the same creative writing class. Mallory of The Baby-Sitters Club gets a boyfriend in Australian Ben Hobart.
    • Although that name would pass entirely unremarked in Australia. It helps that the city was named for Robert Hobart, 4th Earl of Buckinghamshire. Had she picked a different a different state capital, like Adelaide or Perth, it would have been a lot odder.
  • Harry Potter has the WronskiFeint, named for a Polish Seeker. Wronski is pronounced the same as Vronsky, Anna's lover in Anna Karenina.
    • Although in this case there is also a "Wronskian" in math. (Yes, invented by some guy named "Wronski". Jozef Hoene-Wronski, in fact.) It's pronounced "Vronsky" as well.
  • According to Word of God, Survival of the Fittest character Clio Gabriella was originally going to be named Ava Gardner. Yes, that Ava Gardner.
  • Major General Abraham Lincoln in Fantasy Mission Force might be a case of this. (Though it's possible he is meant to be the historical Lincoln; it's that kind of movie.)
  • Enforced by the random generator that names the explorer unit in Age of Empires III. The first name and the last name are drawn from separate lists, both of which are based on historical European explorers and conquerors. You can end playing with Cristóbal Cortés or Francis Smith.
  • Examples of German names mixed with names from other languages, as this seems especially common with German:
    • Emile Zola, writer of J'Accuse was the best-known Dreyfusard and French voice against antisemitism, so it's weird that Jack Kirby named a Nazi Mad Scientist and enemy of Captain America Arnim Zola. The chosen first is the surname of a German noble family that included, among others, the romantic poet Achim von Arnim and his wife, Bettina von Arnim, née Brentano; the latter was a well-known liberal with social reform tendencies during the decades leading up to the Revolution of 1848.
    • The Castafiore Emerald has Igor Wagner, whose name is quite fitting for an accompanist to an operatic prima donna. Quite probably inspired by Igor Stravinsky as well as Richard Wagner.
    • In BloodRayne you have to kill Dr. Bathory Mengele.
  • For a fictional example, while Middle-earth: Shadow of Mordor and its sequel did extensive research on the various conlangs invented by J. R. R. Tolkien, the names of Gondorian original characters seem to have all been pulled from the ones already mentioned in The Lord of the Rings with mixed results as to their meanings. For instance, while protagonist Talion has a very appropriate translation as "Man of the Valley", his wife Ioreth (who is still fairly young) means "The Old One", which in LOTR was probably the nickname "Granny" for an elderly nurse.
  • In a bit of an odd real life example, the man who went to the moon (but didn't walk on it) with Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin was named Michael Collins, which is very odd for someone from Ireland as it's the exact same name as revolutionary leader Michael Collins who won the country's independence.

Alternative Title(s): Famous Name Foreigner