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"Two first names, two first names, if you only got one name, it's like having no names, baby get two names."

Many superheroes and their associates have surnames that are also common given names. This is almost as common as the Alliterative Name, and, in fact, many heroes qualify in both categories. This is a side effect of the American habit of using common first names as last names, possibly in an attempt to make them sound as non-ethnic as possible, so British readers might not recognize some of these surnames as first names.

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In Real Life, this practice was particularly common among Jewish-American entertainers for much of the 20th century. In a time of widespread antisemitism, they would often replace their distinctive Germanic surnames with innocuous Anglo-Saxon given names when choosing stage aliases. This is how Moses Horwitz became "Moe Howard", how Stanley Lieber became "Stan Lee", how Allan Konigsberg became "Woody Allen", how Robert Zimmerman became "Bob Dylan" and how Jonathan Leibowitz became "Jon Stewart".

This usually works better with men as most surnames are of male origins (thus why no one is named "Johnsdaughter"... well, unless they're Icelandic). However, due to the old trend of parents giving their daughter a masculine name eventually turning said name into a female one, some surnames also become feminine with time (This includes Kendall, Stacy, Shelby, Nicole, Ashley, Lindsay and more...)

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Additionally some surnames are patronymic in origin but for one reason or another lack the usual affixes that would clearly identify them as such rather than a first name, particularly if it's a name that ends in -s (e.g. Thomas, Ross, etc).

Note: It has become a habit of giving last names as forenames, making the lines between the two a bit blurry. Keep in mind that names such as Clark, Stewart, Scott, Carter, Donovan, Ryan, McKenzie, Clinton and more, were surnames before becoming first names, and are still prominent as the former. Meaning that a character with one of these last name might not be an intentional example of this trope. This trope is about having two common enough first name, if so character has a unusual case of a last name as his first (ex: Holloway Robert) then this is not this trope.

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This can make a Last-Name Basis difficult to realize at first.


Examples

    open/close all folders 

    Superheroes 
  • Clark Kent.
  • Bruce Wayne.
  • Barry Allen and Bart Allen.
    • Jay Garrick as well. With Barry and Bart, at least, it really only makes sense when you realize that their full first name is actually a Patronymic (it's still very rare as a first name, though, apparently because people can't be bothered with saying anything quadrisyllabic).
  • Peter Parker, though "Parker" has only recently become common as a given name.
    • Eddie Brock, the original Venom.
    • Flint Marko, Marvel's Sandman.
  • Charles Xavier (although this is pronounced differently from the first name, which is generally pronounced "zavv-ee-ay" rather than "ex-ay-vee-er"; the last name is also generally pronounced this way, but Middle America wouldn't have noticed it started with an X). The pronunciation is actually more slippery than this, as it has changed since the time of St. Francis Xavier (Which is pronounced Zay-Vee-Er, by the by). Javier is a phonetic respelling of the name in modern Spanish. However, the Portuguese pronounce the name with a sh sound.
  • It's a requirement for a Green Lantern from Earth:
    • Alan Scott.
    • Hal Jordan.
    • Guy Gardner. (Named after famed Silver Age DC scribe Gardner Fox.)
    • John Stewart. (No, not that one.)
    • Kyle Rayner (though as a first name it would typically be spelled Rainer).
    • Jade AKA Jennifer-Lynn Hayden.
    • Simon Baz. (Baz is a nickname for "Barry" in the UK.)
  • Bobby "Iceman" Drake.
  • Steve Rogers. He even used the alias "Roger Stevens" at least once.
  • Sam Wilson. Like Steve, he once came up with the alias "Willie Samuels". Even better, his full name is Samuel Thomas Wilson.
  • Donald Blake.
  • Cain Marko is an odd example, where a given name that doesn't make a particularly good surname is pressed into service to make a Meaningful Name. Could be completely avoided by calling him "Marco Kane" or something along these lines.
  • Kent "Doctor Fate" Nelson.
  • Ronald Raymond, the first Firestorm.
  • Rex "Hourman" Tyler.
    • And his son, Rick Tyler. And the Hourman from the 853rd Century, an android who went by the name Matthew Tyler.
  • Crispus Allen, one host of the Spectre.
  • Ted "Wildcat" Grant.
  • James Jesse, the first Trickster. To be fair, he chose this name after Jesse James. His birth name is Giovanni Giuseppe (which is itself an example of this trope).
  • Both versions of Captain Atom: the Charlton version is Allen Adam, while DC's is Nathaniel Adam (actually a case of Three First Names, as his full name is Nathaniel Christopher Adam).
    • This seems to be a rather popular trope for the writers of the DCU and Marvel, as well as alliterative naming. Justified in that this may be a way to help the writers remember the names of several characters. Stan Lee himself has said that this is why so many of Marvel's characters have an Alliterative Name — it helps him remember.
  • Garfield Mark Logan, AKA Beast Boy.
  • Power Rangers has plenty:
    • Zack Taylor. (Black Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger)
    • Jason Scott. (Red Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger/Gold Zeo Ranger)
    • Tommy Oliver, who gets double points for being played by Jason David Frank. (Green/White Mighty Morphin' Power Ranger/Red Zeo Ranger/Red Turbo Ranger/Black Dino Thunder Ranger)
    • Justin Stewart. (Blue Turbo Ranger)
    • Kendrix Morgan. (Pink Lost Galaxy Ranger)
    • Dana Mitchell. (Pink Lightspeed Rescue Ranger)
    • Chad Lee. (Blue Lightspeed Rescue Ranger)
    • Ryan Mitchell. (Titanium Lightspeed Rescue Ranger)
    • Jen Scotts comes close. (Pink Time Force Ranger)
    • Wes Collins comes close. (Red Time Force Ranger)
    • Lucas Kendall. (Blue Time Force Ranger)
    • Cole Evans comes close. (Red Wild Force Ranger)
    • Shane Clarke comes close. (Red Wind Ranger)
    • Hunter Bradley. (Crimson Thunder Ranger)
    • Blake Bradley. (Navy Thunder Ranger)
    • Ethan James. (Blue Dino Thunder Ranger)
    • Bridge Carson. (Green/Blue/Red S.P.D. Ranger)
    • Sydney Drew. (Pink S.P.D. Ranger)
    • Nick Russell. (Red Mystic Force Ranger)
    • Theo Martin. (Jungle Fury Blue Ranger)
    • Robert "RJ" James. (Jungle Fury Purple Ranger)
    • Scott Truman. (RPM's Ranger Series Operator Red)
    • Kevin Douglas. (Blue Samurai Ranger)
    • Chase Randall. (Dino Charge Black)
    • Kendall Morgan. (Dino Charge Purple II)
    • Calvin Maxwell. (Ninja Steel Yellow Ranger)
    • Devon Daniels comes close. (Red Beast Morpher Ranger)
  • All Fall Down has Sophie Mitchell.
  • Michael Bruce - Also his father Matthew Bruce, who later renames himself Ulysses David.
  • Francisco Ramon, AKA Vibe.
  • Rip Hunter.
  • Alex James Murphy, AKA RoboCop.
  • Violet Paige, AKA Mother Panic.

    Non-costumed Heroes and Associates 

    Female Examples 

Examples outside comic books

    Anime and Manga 

    Films — Live-Action 

    Literature 
  • Jane Austen has at least one example in each of her novels:
    • Emma has the Rev. Philip Elton and his wife Augusta. There's also Robert Martin, Elizabeth Martin, and their unnamed mother and sister. Also Harriet, after she marries Robert near the end.
    • In Mansfield Park, Sir Thomas Bertram and his wife and children.
    • In Northanger Abbey, Mr. and Mrs. Allen, although their first names are not mentioned.
    • In Persuasion, Anne Elliot, as well as her father and sister.
    • In Pride and Prejudice, anyone in the Lucas family, such as Sir William Lucas and his daughter Charlotte Lucas.
    • In Sense and Sensibility, Colonel Brandon, though his first name is never given. This also applies to Marianne after she marries him.
  • In The Babysitters Club, there's Kristy Thomas and her three brothers, Charlie, Sam, and David Michael (who has three first names).
  • Dean Thomas of the Harry Potter series.
    • Viktor Krum is another, albeit probably unintentional, example.
  • Johanna Mason from The Hunger Games.
  • Jack Ryan
  • Campbell Alexander from Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper.
  • The Pendragon Adventure: Andy Mitchell
  • Lloyd Martin in the book They Melted His Brain. Naturally, nearly everyone thinks his name is Martin Lloyd. (Or was it the other way round?)
  • In Wuthering Heights, Linton Heathcliff has two last names (or maybe a last name first and first name last): "Linton" was his mother's maiden name, while "Heathcliff" is his father's Only One Name that his wife and son take as their surname.

    Live-Action TV 
  • 24: Charles Logan and George Mason.
  • Doctor Gordon Gordon Wyatt from Bones.
    • Also Vincent Nigel-Murray.
  • Boy Meets World: Shawn Hunter
  • Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Rupert Giles]
  • Charmed (1998) has Leo Wyatt, Darryl Morris, and Victor Bennett. Chris Perry appears to be this at first, but it's eventually revealed to be a case of Real Name as an Alias.
  • Veronica and Velma Kelly of Chicago and its film adaptation.
  • Criminal Minds: Derek Morgan, Spencer Reid. Since almost everyone on the show in on Last-Name Basis, some fans even forget that Reid isn't his first name.
  • CSI NY: Mac Taylor. Probably also Lindsay Monroe, until she became Lindsay Messer.
  • For another Morgan, let's look at Dexter Morgan, although, technically, he was adopted by Harry Morgan, so it's not his birth surname (his biological parents' surnames don't really fit the pattern: Driscoll and Moser).
  • Rose Tyler and Clara Oswald.
    • Also Old School Doctor Who producer John Nathan Turner specifically said that (4th-5th Doctor companion) Tegan Jovanka's surname came about specifically because when trying to choose between Tegan and Jovanka as the character's first name, he wrote both down on a piece of paper, someone else assumed that Jovanka was meant to be the surname and he reckoned what the heck.
  • Played for Laughs on The Drew Carey Show when Mimi remarks, "Drew Alison Carey? Geez, all three of your names are girl names."
  • ER:
    • John Carter
    • Also Doug Ross
    • Carol Hathaway
    • Susan Lewis
    • Carla Reese (She uses the name Reese for her son)
    • Maggie Doyle
    • Harper Tracy
  • Highlander: Richie Ryan
  • James Wilson, Alison Cameron and Robert Chase from House.
  • Patrick Jane of The Mentalist, though his surname is common to women, not men.
  • Jimmy James, "the man so nice they named him twice," in NewsRadio. Also Dave Nelson, Matthew Brock, and Max Louis.
  • Seems to be a theme on The Office when it comes to the regional managers (not counting those who didn't stay in the manager's chair for more than three episodes) :
    • The main character of the UK original is named David Brent.
    • His counterpart in the US version is named Michael Scott.
      • After Michael left, a number of candidates applied for his job, among which were Fred Henry, Nellie Bertram, and the aforementioned David Brent. The one to eventually get the job was Andy Bernard.
      • Other (non-manager) characters include David Wallace, Ryan Howard, Angela Martin, Gabe Lewis and Jo Bennett.
  • One Tree Hill revolves around brothers Lucas and Nathan Scott and their family. One of the main characters is their friend Haley James, who marries Nathan in the third season and had a child named Jamie born in the Season 4 finale.
  • Orphan Black's Rachel Duncan, ditto her surrogate parents Ethan and Susan.
  • Parks and Recreation has Ben Wyatt.
  • Psych: Shawn Spencer
  • From the Scrubs episode "My Occurrence":
    Hematopathologist: Call me Dr. Bob.
    J.D.: You go by your first name?
    Hematopathologist: No, first name's Fred.
    J.D.: Fred Bob?
    • Also J.D. stands for John Dorian.
  • John Curtis and Nick Bradley of Secret Army.
  • Sliders:
    • Quinn Mallory.
    • Quinn's brother Colin Mallory, and his father Michael.
    • Professor Max Arturo.
  • Stargate SG-1:
    • Jonas Quinn. (What's even more amusing is that he's an alien, but his name sounds less alien than that of his actor, Corin Nemec.)
    • Cameron Mitchell (a man who has two first names that are also two last names).
  • James Kirk from Star Trek: The Original Series. (Which becomes Three First Names when counting his middle name, "Tiberius."note ). Also Montgomery Scott and Christopher Pike.
  • Ann Marie was the main character of the 1960s show That Girl and actually complained about her name at times.
  • Thunderbirds: Jeff Tracy and his sons.
  • In later seasons of The Waltons, Mary Ellen's husband is Curtis Willard. Their son is John Curtis Willard, who has three first names (he's always called John Curtis).
  • In the novelisation of Yes, Prime Minister, Bernard, recalling a letter from a BBC producer named Crawford James, considers this trope a warning sign:
    Secondly, I have always had an instinctive distrust of people whose Christian names and surnames are reversible.

    Professional Wrestling 

    Roleplay 
  • From Survival of the Fittest: Mason Lucien, Chance Burton, Thom Chuck, Waldo Woodrow, Blake Ross, Matthew Drew, Horace Malcolm, Jack Russell, Ryan Gilbert, and at least 20 more in V4 alone.

    Theatre 

    Video Games 
  • BioShock:
    • Invoked with Andrew Ryan and Jasmine Jolene. In their case, the former changed his birth name, Andrei Ryanovski, to conceal his Russian roots while the latter is using it as her Stage Name.
    • Gilbert Alexander. In his case, he asks to be called "Alex the Great" since he descended into madness.
  • The The Legend of Heroes: Trails in the Sky games have Kevin Graham, who is a supporting party member in the second game and the protagonist of the third.
  • Jacob Taylor from Mass Effect 2.
  • Overwatch has Reinhardt Wilhelm, whose first and last names are both valid first names in German, though Reinhardt is more commonly seen as a surname. As a result, less informed fans of the game get confused and mistakenly think his first name is Wilhelm.
  • Arle Nadja from Puyo Puyo. Arle is a French name derived from a play called L'Arlésienne (The Girl from Arles), while Nadja is a German name meant to be a reference to the French novel Nadja.
  • The titular Super Mario Bros. - Mario Mario and Luigi Mario. These names were originally used in the Live Action Movie, but after years of Flip-Flopping on it in the Games' continuity, the names were canonized during the series' 30th Anniversary.
  • Touhou: Yoshika Miyako.

    Visual Novels 

    Web Original 
  • Scamalot gives us Mary Gary. James acts as if Mary and Gary are two different people, much to her frustration.

    Western Animation 
  • The Fairly OddParents discusses this with Mark Chang. While disguised on Earth, he takes the form of a teen heartthrob named Justin Jake Ashton. Whenever he or someone else introduces himself, they always mention he has three first names.
  • In Life with Louie, it's pointed out that the bullies in the show always seem to have two first names, such as Craig Erik, Paul George, and the worst of them all, Glen Glenn.
  • The Magic School Bus features among the Friz Kids one Dorothy Ann. Her last name is Rourke, but it's rarely mentioned.
  • The Simpsons has Lenny Leonard and Herman Hermann.
  • The Venture Bros.: Brock Samson

    Real Life 
All the examples in this entry so far have been situations in which people have given names to characters. In that spirit, please limit entries here to people who have given themselves names (stage names, pen names, pseudonyms, etc.) consisting of two common first names. Many people have a first name as a family name in real life, but this section should be reserved for people who have made an intentional choice to do so.

  • Jon Stewart from The Daily Show. Inevitable, since Stewart is a showbiz adaptation of his middle name. He was born Jonathan Stuart Leibowitz.
    • He even makes jokes about it:
    "Tonight's guest, Congressman Ron Paul, a proud member, with me, of the Two First Names Club. We, uh, we meet every Thursday for cocktails with Ron Jeremy and Barney Frank."
  • Tim Allen (born Timothy Alan Dick).note 
  • Rose Marie was a supporting player on The Dick Van Dyke Show and a panelist on The Hollywood Squares. She seldom used her surname, Mazzetta.
    • Similarly, actress Ann-Margret rarely uses her surname, Olsson.
      • Likewise hyphenated is Terry-Thomas, AKA Thomas Terry Hoar-Stevens.
  • Stan Lee (born Stanley Lieber).
  • Jack Kirby (born Jacob Kurtzberg).
  • John Wayne (born Marion Morrison).
  • Kirk Douglas (born Issur Danielovitch).
  • Cary Grant (born Archibald Leach).
  • Mel Brooks (born Melvin Kaminsky).note 
  • Kevin James from The King of Queens (born Kevin Knipfing).
  • Vera Lynn (born Vera Welch).
  • Radio broadcaster Paul Harvey (... Aurandt).
  • Radio star Jack Benny (born Benjamin Kubelsky).
  • Radio star Fred Allen (born John Sullivan).
  • Danny Thomas (born Amos Yakoob).
  • Moe Howard of The Three Stooges (born Moses Hurwitz).
  • The assassin Jack Ruby (born Jacob Rubenstein).
  • Actor and voiceover artist William Conrad (born John William Cann Jr.)
  • The Webb sisters, Loretta, Peggy, and Brenda, changed their names before becoming famous country singers, renaming themselves, respectively, Loretta Lynn, Peggy Sue and Crystal Gayle.
  • Jason Alexander (born Jay Greenspan).
  • Huey Lewis (born Hugh Cregg).
  • Jerry Lewis (born Joseph Levitch).
  • Ray Charles (... Robinson).
  • Dennis Franz (... Schlachta).
  • Toby Keith (... Covel).
  • Paul Stanley (born Stanley Eisen).
  • Randy Travis (born Randy Traywick).
  • Lea Michele (... Sarfati).
  • Shannon Elizabeth (... Fadal).
  • Sheldon Leonard (... Bershad).
  • Psychic John Edward (... McGee).
  • Porn star Ron Jeremy (... Hyatt).
  • Kendrick Lamar (... Duckworth). Lampshaded in the music video for "DNA":
    Two first names, huh? What the fuck is up with that?
  • Michael Anthony (... Sobolewski).
  • Rick James (born James Johnson).
  • Travis Scott (born Jacques Webster).
  • Sid James (born Joel Cohen).
  • Tony Curtis (born Bernard Schwartz)..
  • Bob Dylan (born Robert Zimmerman).
  • Lenny Bruce (born Leonard Schneider).
  • Elton John (born Reginald Dwight).
  • Buck Henry (born Henry Zuckerman).
  • Gilligan's Island’s Tina Louise (born Tina Blacker, she later chose Louise as a middle name).
  • Joey Lawrence (...Mignogna).
  • Woody Allen (born Allen Konigsberg).
  • Eddie Albert from Green Acres, (born Edward Albert Heimburger)
  • George Michael (born Georgios Kyriacos Panayiotou).
  • Dirk Benedict, the actor of Faceman from The A-Team (born Dirk Niewoehner).
  • Serial arsonist Peter Dinsdale changed his name to Bruce George Peter Lee.
  • Talent agent William Morris (born Zelman Moses).
  • John Gilbert (born John Pringle).
  • Dean Martin (born Dino Crocetti).
  • Tony Martin (born Alvin Morris).
  • Butch Patrick, the actor of Eddie Munster (born Patrick Caples).
  • Les Paul (born Lester Polfuss).
  • Sir Cliff Richard (born Harry Webb).
  • Brenda Joyce (born Brenda Dworman).
  • Lewis Carroll (born Rev. Charles Lutwidge Dodgson).
  • George Eliot (born Marian Evans).
  • Cassandra Clare (born Judith Rumelt).
  • Jennifer Lopez's ex-husband Mark Anthony (born Marco Antonio Muñiz).
  • Rachel Zoe (... Rosenzweig).
  • Wynonna Judd (born Christina Ciminella).
  • Meg Ryan (born Margaret Hyra).
  • Katy Perry (born Katheryn Hudson; she originally went by Katy Hudson, but started using her mother's maiden name to avoid confusion with the actress Kate Hudson).
  • Designer Ralph Lauren (born Ralph Lifshitz).
  • Jane Seymour (born Joyce Frankenberg).
  • 70s game show fixture Elaine Joyce (born Elaine Joyce Pinchot).
  • Yakuza boss Shinobu Tsukasa, born Kenichi Shinoda. Doubles as a meaningful name, since Tsukasa (司) can mean "chief", among other things.
  • Nicholas Brendon (... Schultz).
    • As well as his twin brother, Kelly Donovan (... Schultz).
  • Peter Joseph, creator of the Zeitgeist films, whose full name he doesn't reveal for privacy reasons. (Allegedly his surname is Merola.)
  • Lily James (...Thomson)
  • After she came out as transgender, the lead singer of Against Me! changed her name to Laura Jane Grace. Her original last name was Gabel.
  • Filipino-American actress/TV host/VJ Donita Rose (... Ramos Cavett).
  • Aaron Paul (... Sturtevant).
  • One of the members of British boy band Blue is called Duncan James. His real surname is Inglis.
  • In an attempt to moved beyond his flop at the Eurovision Song Contest in 2010 - where he finished last - Josh Dubovie uses the stage name Josh James.
  • Ross Martin (born Martin Rosenblatt).
  • Robert Conrad (born Conrad Robert Falk).
  • Jonah Ray (... Rodrigues).
  • Ruby Rose (... Langenheim).
  • The group Aerosmith has two examples:
    • Steven Tyler (born Steven Tallarico).
    • Joe Perry (born Joseph Pereira).
  • Adrian Paul (... Hewett).
  • The lead singer of Skrewdriver, Ian Stuart (...Donaldson).
  • Maggie Grace (born Margaret Grace Denig).
  • Keith David (... Williams).
  • Samuel Vincent (... Khouth).
  • Baseball broadcasting legend Mel Allen (born Melvin Allen Israel).
  • Trevor Donovan (... Neubauer).
  • A wrestling example: Joey Ryan (Joseph Ryan Meehan).
  • Oscar Isaac (... Hernandez)
  • Portuguese Formula E driver António Félix da Costa (full name António Maria de Mello Breyner Félix da Costa). The "Félix" in his name is not a third first name, but part of his second last name.

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