In my last post, I wrote about a particular name and nickname. That got me thinking, which isn’t always a good thing. (Just ask my lovely wife, who has to put up with me saying things on a daily basis like, “If you add another S to the end of Saltines, it becomes another word that’s interestingly related to the first.” She’s a good sport.) This time I started pondering the names of certain celebrities and their use or lack of use of nicknames.

First off, let’s look at famous folk who use nicknames and marvel at how strange it sounds to use their proper ones. John Depp sounds pretty weird to me, as does Alfredo Pacino. Then you take someone like Bill Murray and turn it into William Murray, and that’s sufficiently different to me. In fact, if I saw a roster of some sort with “William Murray” listed, it wouldn’t cross my mind that that’s the same name as someone famous. I would with the previously mentioned ones though, or others like Tobias Maguire. I think Edward Murphy would catch my eye, but it’s hard to say since it sounds so very normal.

I actually have a real life example of this that I just thought of. An old friend of ours got married a few years ago to a nice man named James Carter. It took months and a second time seeing them before I realized that we have a former President with that name. It just seemed like a standard, common name to me. Now that I think about it for another few seconds, I’m more struck by the fact that Carter has gone by that nickname for his entire life. I guess only a few people thought, “I like him, but I just feel weird electing a grown man named Jimmy.”  Readers, what other celebrities can you think of whose names sound funny when using the proper ones? Feel free to branch out into sports as well, because things like Peter Rose will surely sound weird to most of us.

Let’s flip this thing around now and look at famous people who do not use nicknames. Off the top of my head, I thought of Katie Hepburn, Johnny Malkovitch, Billy Hurt, Tommy Jefferson, and Bob Loggia. For bonus points, we’ve got Bill Randy Hearst. Who else can you think of?

And now the big question: Which of these two types of name/nickname changes sounds odder to you? Are you more thrown by names like William Crystal or Mike Jackson? Comment away!

Lastly, I’ve mentioned a few times either here or on my old site that it took me decades to find it strange that someone is named Sigourney. The same is true with Chevy, I’ve said. Well I got a new one: Dabney. Really? I just accepted that his name is Dabney without giving it a second thought? It sounds like someone with a bad cold or a speech impediment trying to say Daphne.  Or part of an Elmer Fudd tirade.  Or how one treats a minor wound on his patella.  Or…aw forget it.