The name game: The new celebrity baby naming rules

As Sunday Rose Urban Kidman is born, John Walsh explains the new rules of celebrity monikers

So, a big welcome to Sunday Rose Urban Kidman, six-and-a-half pounds, born (perversely) on Monday 7 July 2008, first child of Nicole Kidman, formerly Cruise (41) and country singer Keith Urban (40). You, Sunday Rose (0) join a starry cast that includes Suri, Fifi, Shiloh, Poppy and Heavenly – celebrity infants who've been saddled, right from the birth canal, with lovely but perhaps ill-advised names.

Sunday Rose Urban Kidman. Charming but slightly wrong, isn't it? Too many Ns. Too many trochees (bisyllables with the emphasis at the front). Remember Tuesday Weld, the movie star (The Cincinnati Kid, Looking for Mr Goodbar)? There used to be a Hollywood joke: if Fredric March's son, Fredric March II, married Tuesday Weld, would she be Tuesday March the Second? In the same spirit, I fear that Sunday Kidman will never be able to marry Calum Best, nor any male relatives of Minnie Driver, nor anyone called Morning, or Papers, or Lunch.

When the celebrity world has exhausted the possibilities of naming their children after countries (India, China, Ireland), cities (Slash's son is London Emilio, and I think we know Brooklyn Beckham) and fruits, flowers and plants (Apple Paltrow Martin, Bluebell Halliwell, Sage Moonblood Stallone), days of the week might just be the way to go. They sound familiar but brusque ("Don't pick your nose, Thursday!"). And of course, you can't call anyone Wednesday, because that was the name of the daughter in The Addams Family.

Names derived from movies are becoming popular in the birthing pools of celeb-land. U2 guitarist The Edge and his first wife Aislinn O'Sullivan called their third daughter Blue Angel, after the 1930 Marlene Dietrich film about a man-eating cabaret singer called Lola Lola (gee, thanks Mum and Dad.)

Another Dietrich movie, Destry Rides Again (1939), lies behind Steven Spielberg and Kate Capshaw's decision to name their son Destry Allyn. Rock personage John Cougar Mellencamp named his son Hud after the Paul Newman character in Martin Ritt's 1962 movie Hud, while the tennis player Arthur Ashe called his daughter Camera. Will his other children be christened Lights! and Action!? How will it sound when he shouts for them in the park?

Heaven knows what was flickering in the brains of Jason (My Name is Earl) Lee and Beth Riesgraf when they called their son Pilot Inspektor; did they hope he might later star in a TV show? Did the same logic inspire the US magician Penn Jillette to saddle his daughter with Moxie Crimefighter?

Musical names tend towards the freeform. Steffi Graf and Andre Agassi called their daughter Jaz, the late Joe Strummer named his daughter Jazz Domino (of course, Jazz Strummer will always be misheard as "Jazz Drummer") and both Spike Lee and Woody Allen named a son Satchel, in homage to Louis "Satchelmouth" Armstrong.

Literature doesn't get much of a shout in the naming game. Pierce Brosnan and Keely Shaye Smith called their son Dylan Thomas (asking for trouble), and Bruce Willis and Demi Moore have a daughter called Scout, after the kid in To Kill a Mockingbird.

Eddie Murphy's daughter is the sweet Zola Ivy. It takes some nerve to yoke the scandalous master of the 19th-century French realist novel with the name of an Edwardian parlourmaid. Gary Oldman coolly called his son Gulliver, perhaps failing to realise that, in the Travels, it's Lemuel's surname. Sting and his first wife Frances Tomelty had a daughter they named Fuchsia, possibly a reference to Lady Fuchsia in the Gormenghast trilogy. Fuchsia Sting?

Lastly, there are the crackpot names, the what-were-you-thinking names for which children will never forgive you. The actress Shannyn Sossamon bestowed on her child the gift of Audio Science – not so much a name as a degree course. Frankie Lampard, the footballer, had a moment of madness about his daughter Luna Coco Patricia, a name fatally redolent of both clowns and breakfast cereal.

Donovan, the folkie troubadour, turned his children, Oriole Nebula and Astrella Celeste, into stars from birth. Don Johnson and Kelley Phleger saddled their daughter with Atherton Grace without explaining why they'd named her after two (male) English cricket captains. Simon and Yasmin Le Bon continued their campaign to call all their children after air-freshener scents: Tallulah Pine and Amber Rose were joined by Saffron Sahara.

And can we all stop right now calling our children Rain? Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith decided that Willow Camille Reign had a nice ring. (WC Reign? I don't think so.) Vanilla Ice, the white rapper, himself christened Robert Van Winkle, settled on Dusti Raine for his daughter. And Ving Rhames, who played the scary gang boss in Pulp Fiction, ensured a lifetime of misery for his little sweetheart by calling her Reignbeau.

Yes, spelt like that. When she grows up, I hope she'll get medieval on his ass.

PROMOTED VIDEO
Arts and Entertainment
Judd Apatow’s make-it-up-as-you-go-along approach is ideal for comedies about stoners and slackers slouching towards adulthood
filmWith comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
Arts and Entertainment
booksForget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment
Off set: Bab El Hara
tvTV series are being filmed outside the country, but the influence of the regime is still being felt
Arts and Entertainment
Red Bastard: Where self-realisation is delivered through monstrous clowning and audience interaction
comedy
Arts and Entertainment
O'Shaughnessy pictured at the Unicorn Theatre in London
tvFiona O'Shaughnessy explains where she ends and her strange and wonderful character begins
Arts and Entertainment
The new characters were announced yesterday at San Diego Comic Con

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhino Doodle by Jim Carter (Downton Abbey)

TV
Arts and Entertainment
No Devotion's Geoff Rickly and Stuart Richardson
musicReview: No Devotion, O2 Academy Islington, London
Arts and Entertainment
Christian Grey cradles Ana in the Fifty Shades of Grey film

film
Arts and Entertainment
Comedian 'Weird Al' Yankovic

Is the comedy album making a comeback?

comedy
Arts and Entertainment
While many films were released, few managed to match the success of James Bond blockbuster 'Skyfall'
film
Arts and Entertainment
Jamie Dornan as Christian Grey in the first-look Fifty Shades of Grey movie still

film
Arts and Entertainment
Sue Perkins and Mel Giedroyc, centre, are up for Best Female TV Comic for their presenting quips on The Great British Bake Off

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Martin Freeman as Lester Nygaard in the TV adaptation of 'Fargo'

TV
Arts and Entertainment
A scene from Shakespeare in Love at the Noel Coward Theatre
theatreReview: Shakespeare in Love has moments of sheer stage poetry mixed with effervescent fun
Arts and Entertainment
Dwayne 'The Rock' Johnson stars in Hercules

film
Arts and Entertainment
Standing the test of time: Michael J Fox and Christopher Lloyd in 'Back to the Future'

film
Arts and Entertainment
<p><strong>2008</strong></p>
<p>Troubled actor Robert Downey Jr cements his comeback from drug problems by bagging the lead role in Iron Man. Two further films follow</p>

film
Arts and Entertainment

theatre
Arts and Entertainment
Tycoons' text: Warren Buffett and Bill Gates both cite John Brookes' 'Business Adventures' as their favourite book

books
Independent
Travel Shop
the manor
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on city breaks Find out more
santorini
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on chic beach resorts Find out more
sardina foodie
Up to 70% off luxury travel
on country retreats Find out more
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

    A new Russian revolution

    Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
    Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

    The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
    Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

    Standing my ground

    If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
    Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

    Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
    Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

    Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

    The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
    The man who dared to go on holiday

    The man who dared to go on holiday

    New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

    Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

    For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
    The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

    The Guest List 2014

    Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
    Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

    Jokes on Hollywood

    With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

    Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

    Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

    Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
    Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

    Edinburgh Fringe 2014

    The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

    The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried