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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.


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...)


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). To muddy the issue further, some names that are commonly used as first names nowadays originated as surnames (e.g. Carter, Mason, Clark, Parker, Scott, many names ending in -son, etc).

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



    open/close all folders 

  • 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 to 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).
  • 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 

    Fictional examples outside comic books 
  • Campbell Alexander from Jodi Picoult's My Sister's Keeper.
  • Jimmy James, "the man so nice they named him twice," in NewsRadio.
    • Also Dave Nelson, Matthew Brock, and Max Louis.
  • Izumi Sakurai from Nichijou. This is Lampshaded in-story.
  • 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 and Angela Martin.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Parks and Recreation has Ben Wyatt.
  • The Pendragon Adventure: Andy Mitchell
  • In Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney – Justice for All, Max Galactica's real name is revealed to be Billy Bob Johns. Nick hangs a lampshade on it in one inner monologue. "Yikes! The poor guy's got three first names! I guess that is pretty odd."
  • Carol Anne Freeling from Poltergeist since "Anne" is her middle name.
  • Homura Akemi from Puella Magi Madoka Magica. Many of the other characters, such as Madoka Kaname, Sayaka Miki and Kyoko Sakura, have last names that sound and/or can be used as first names, but are still valid last names.
  • From Pretty Cure: all the females of the Kurumi family, Mana and Ayumi Aida, Alice Yotsuba, and Aguri Madoka. Interestingly, neither Aida nor Aguri doesn't seem to be common female names in Japan — there are a few Aguris in fiction, but they're both male.
  • Psych: Shawn Spencer
  • 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.
  • Rumbling Hearts:
  • Yukiko Maya of Saki.
  • Scamalot gives us Mary Gary. James acts as if Mary and Gary are two different people, much to her frustration.
  • 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.
  • The Simpsons has Lenny Leonard and Herman Hermann.
  • Sliders: Quinn Mallory.
    • Quinn's brother Colin Mallory, and his father Michael. Also 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.
  • Star Wars features Luke's uncle Owen Lars.
  • The Super Mario Bros., Mario Mario and Luigi Mario. Maybe. Definitely the case in the 1993 movie, though.
  • 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.
  • Sweeney Todd
  • Ricky Bobby, the eponymous NASCAR prodigy from Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby. This is lampshaded early on, when his team's owner states, "He's got two first names!"
  • Ann Marie was the main character of the 1960s show That Girl and actually complained about her name at times.
  • 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?)
  • Thunderbirds: Jeff Tracy and his sons.
  • Touhou: Miyako Yoshika. Or Yoshika Miyako. Miyako is the family name.
  • The Venture Bros.: Brock Samson
  • 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).
  • Asuka Sakura from the movie Welcome to the Quiet Room. Lampshaded when someone jokingly points out that her name sounds like something from a comic book.
  • 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.
  • 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.

    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).
  • Alison Brie (... Schermerhorn).
  • Angelina Jolie (...Voight).
  • 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).
  • Gypsy Rose Lee (born Louise Hovick) was a three first name example.
  • 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).


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