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Celebrity trends in baby naming
by Susan Harkavy

Celebrities have long been trend-setters in baby names. After Reese Witherspoon and Heather Locklear named their baby girls Ava Elizabeth, the name Ava skyrocketed from 744 to 83 on the popularity charts. And who can forget the Cody crazy of the 90's, begun with Kathie Lee Gifford's son? But in their quest for unusual and unique names, some celebrities seem to have lost sight of the fact that they are in fact naming a real person. As Charlie Sheen recently said, "I just think parents don't think 20 years ahead when they name their kid: 'This is my son Shalamar.' It becomes a curse for the child. It's terrible." He has vowed to use a simple, old-fashioned name like Mary or Bob for the child he and his wife are expecting.

Celebrities are often known for their vanity, and this unfortunately can carry over into baby naming. Take for example George Foreman, who has sons named George Edward Jr., George Edward III, George Edward IV, George Edward V and George Edward VI. He says on his official site that "I was really close to naming all the girls George as well, but I decided that might have been overkill." One can only presume his wife finally came to her senses and intervened. However, she did allow him to name the girls Freeda George and Georgetta. Obviously he served as an inspiration to Michael Jackson, who named his own sons Prince Michael and Prince Michael II, while giving his daughter the middle name Michael (Paris Michael Katherine.)

Sadly parental vanity is the least of the problem for celebrity babies. When the urge to be creative strikes, no baby is safe. John Melloncamp and Elaine Irwin actually named one of their sons Speck Wildhorse. Singer Bono of U2 started out well when naming his son Elijah, but apparently got carried away in the moment and continued his name well past the point of reason: Elijah Bob Patricius Guggi Q. Hewson. Rob Morrow seems to have decided that the humor of naming his daugher Tu was too much to resist. One can only assume that young Tu Morrow is eagerly awaiting marriage so she can change her last name as quickly as possible. Bobby Brown chose the name LaPrincia for his daughter. Ving Rhames looked to nature when naming his daughter but decided to improve upon standard English spelling, saddling the child with the unwieldy Reignbeau. Obviously determined to win the race for most bizarre baby name, actress Shannyn Sossamon recently named her son Audio Science. Actor Jason Lee countered a few months later with a son named Pilot Inspektor.

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However, all of these parental crimes of nomenclature pale when compared with those of Paula Yates. From her union with Bob Geldof came daughters Fifi-Trixibelle, Peaches Honeyblossom and Little Pixie. She later had a child with Michael Hutchence and named her Heavenly Hiraani Tiger Lily.

Fortunately, some celebrities manage to combine the unusual with the melodic and the rational. Brooke Shields chose the unique but pretty name Rowan Francis for her daughter (the Francis was in honor of Ms Shields father.) Actor Ewan McGregor found some lovely, uncommon names for his daughters Clara Mathilde and Esther Rose. Kevin Kline and Phoebe Cates have a daughter named Greta Simone and Jennie Garth co-opted an Italian boy's name for her daughter Luca Bella. All of the above parents prove that it is possible to be unique and unusual without being cruel. We can only hope that more celebrities learn from their example.

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