Baby Names

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Baby Names Popular Because Of Movies & TV Shows

Could these jumps in popularity be any more obvious?

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Baby name trends tend to ebb and flow with time, but these nine names seem to have jumped up several numbers on the Social Security Administration's popular baby name list right as they were being used for characters on some of our favorite TV shows and movies.


Everyone's favorite second-biggest brother in Party of Five, the name Bailey — played by Scott Wolf — went skyrocketing after the show premiered in the fall of 1994. In 1994, the name only hit #769 on the most popular names list, but by 1995, it was #277.


She's not exactly an inspiration, but the character of Mia — played by Uma Thurman — influenced some baby name lists after Pulp Fiction was released in 1994. The name was number #316 in the top 1000 list, but after the movie, it hit 255 and kept growing.

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The name Xander was short for Alexander in Buffy the Vampire Slayer — played by Nicholas Brendon, he was one of Buffy’s BFFs — but the full name Xander hit the Social Security Administration popularity charts in 1999, just two years after the show premiered in 1997.


I would argue that there wasn't one woman not obsessed with Brad Pitt as Tristan in 1994's Legends of the Fall, but the baby name list speaks for itself. Tristan was just a mediocre 452 on the list, but after the movie, bam: it hit 121.
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Could this name be any cuter? 1994's Friends changed culture in a lot of ways (hello, Rachel haircuts), but Matthew Perry's character Chandler changed the baby name business. The name jumped over 170 spots in 1994, and stayed in the top 200 baby names for boys until 2001.

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Before Tom Cruise ever thought about jumping on a couch with Oprah, he starred as race car driver Cole in 1990's Days of Thunder, and the moms swooned. The name jumped 87 spots on the Social Security top baby names list, and was in the top 100 for 15 years.

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Pretty Woman's Vivian, played by Julia Roberts, made some bad choices, but her courage and tenacity were pretty worthwhile. Parents apparently thought a lot of sweet Viv's moniker, because after the premiere in 1990, the name went up 132 spots on the Social Security list.

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Another Buffy the Vampire Slayer character, the name Willow wasn't even on the top 1000 baby names list until 1998, a year after the show's spring 1997 premiere. It came in at #854, and continued growing. (It was the 46th most popular baby name for girls in 2019.)

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I guess you could argue people were naming their baby after Wyatt Earp and not Kurt Russell's portrayal in 1993's Tombstone, but I disagree. The name was at #375 on the most popular baby names list until 1994, when it jumped to #197. They called down the thunder.