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Several months ago, I read a baby name blog (can’t recall where) which had re-posted a list of names of the most common names of CEOs around the world. As it often takes a long time to become a CEO, these tended to be slightly dated sounding names such as Don, Janet, Bill and Cheryl.

This particular blogger went on to say that it showed successful people all had “regular” names. Their suggestion was that you utilise this list to give your children solid citizen names like Bruce and Sally to ensure their future worldly success. (The original report made no such claim, I should point out).

Now I’m not going to try to bust this myth, but I did think I might give it a little tweak of my own. It occurred to me that the successful people of the future probably won’t all be named Debra and Ron, but will have names that were current in the year they happened to be born. It also occurred to me that while being a CEO is one measure of success, it isn’t the only one, and that it would really be more interesting to look at people who had gained fame, wealth, and success in a range of careers.

So I took ten Australian men and women who are successful in their chosen fields, noted how popular their name was when they were born, and then looked up what the popularity equivalent was for 2011. To make it slightly more fun, I decided to choose famous Australians who had been mentioned on my blog, and for data gathering purposes, restricted it to Australians born in this country after 1928, but before 1982, who are still living.

And so, just for laughs if you will, here are the names of the famous Australians of the future; the babies born last year who will become celebrities, gain awards, win hearts, and reach the top.

MEN

Father Robert “Bob” Maguire b. 1934 Victoria

  • Claim to fame: Retired Catholic priest with his own charity, also a popular media personality
  • Honours: The Order of Australia, Victorian of the Year
  • Popularity of name when born: #2
  • Current popularity: Stable in the mid 100s
  • Today’s equivalent: ETHAN or “Father Eeth”

Albert “Bert” Newton b. 1938 Victoria

  • Claim to fame: Showbiz icon with a lifetime entertaining people on stage, radio and TV.
  • Honours: Order of Australia, Order of the British Empire, Hall of Fame, four Gold Logies
  • Popularity of name when born: #46
  • Current popularity: Stable in the low 300s
  • Today’s equivalent: MICHAEL or “Mick”

Russell Morris b. 1948 Victoria

  • Claim to fame: Rock musician with ground-breaking hit The Real Thing (1969)
  • Honours: Hall of Fame
  • Popularity of name when born: #29
  • Current popularity: In rare use
  • Today’s equivalent: HARRISON

Kevin Rudd b. 1957 Queensland

  • Claim to fame: Politician for the Australian Labor Party
  • Honours: Elected 26th Prime Minister of Australia in 2007
  • Popularity of name when born: #22
  • Current popularity: Stable in the mid 100s
  • Today’s equivalent: HARRISON or “The Honourable Harrison”

Glenn Stevens b. 1958 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Economist who has held many important government positions
  • Honours: Currently the Governor of the Reserve Bank
  • Popularity of name when born: #40
  • Current popularity: In rare use
  • Today’s equivalent: JACKSON

Hugh Jackman b. 1968 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Singer, dancer and actor on stage and screen
  • Honours: Hollywood Walk of Fame, Tony, Emmy, voted Sexiest Man Alive
  • Popularity of name when born: #175 for that decade
  • Current popularity: Stable in the mid 100s
  • Today’s equivalent: VINCENT (also a classic in the 100s, although I could have used Hugh again)

Anthony Bell b. 1972 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Known as the “accountant to the stars”
  • Honours: Net worth of $70 million, BRW Young Rich List
  • Popularity of name when born: #15
  • Current popularity: #66 and gently declining
  • Today’s equivalent: LIAM

Darren Lockyer b. 1977 Queensland

  • Claim to fame: Former rugby league player, considered the greatest player of all time
  • Honours: Team of the Century, life-sized bronze statue, road named after him
  • Popularity of name when born: #37
  • Current popularity: Gently declining in the low 400s
  • Today’s equivalent: AIDEN

Harold “Harry” Kewell b. 1978 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: International soccer star
  • Honours: UEFA Champions League, Oceania Footballer of the Year
  • Popularity of name when born: #482 for the decade
  • Current popularity: In rare use.
  • Today’s equivalent: WESLEY or “Wes” (also in low 400s)

Hamish Blake b. 1981 Victoria

  • Claim to fame: Popular comedian on radio and television
  • Honours: Logie, Gold Logie, Comedian of the Year, Most Powerful Celebrity, Who’s Who
  • Popularity of name when born: #187 for the decade
  • Current popularity: #50 and rising
  • Today’s equivalent: RORY (also a British-style name in the 100s)

Future famous trends: We can expect to see today’s Irish-influenced boy’s names, such as Liam and Aiden, on tomorrow’s celebrities. Old Testament names for boys are very “in”, but to my surprise Ethan was the only one which turned up on a future famous person. Hugh is apparently evergreen, and romantic Vincent seems like a worthy successor for a Hollywood heartthrob. Harrison was the surprise celebrity success, being used on both a rock star and a Prime Minister. If you named your baby son Harrison last year, you may well see him leading the country one day.

WOMEN

Hazel Hawke b. 1929 Western Australia

  • Claim to fame: Former Prime Minister’s former wife, social advocate, and patron of the arts
  • Honours: Order of Australia
  • Popularity of name when born: #41
  • Current popularity: Rising steeply in the low 300s
  • Today’s equivalent: ADDISON OR MIKAYLA

Barbara Thiering b. 1930 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Historian and scholar who wrote the bestseller Jesus the Man (1993)
  • Honours: Professorship, many government positions, Jesus Seminar fellowship
  • Popularity of name when born: #21
  • Current popularity: In rare use
  • Today’s equivalent: EVA

Ita Buttrose b. 1942 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Journalist, former editor of Cleo and The Australian Woman’s Weekly
  • Honours: Order of the British Empire, Order of Australia, Centenary Medal
  • Popularity of name when born: Not on the charts
  • Current popularity: Not on the charts.
  • Today’s equivalent: AOIFE (a similar-sounding Irish name that is unranked)

Maureen Caird Jones b. 1951 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Olympic athlete specialising in sprint hurdles
  • Honours: World record, Olympic gold medal
  • Popularity of name when born: #29
  • Current popularity: Unranked since the 1980s
  • Today’s equivalent: JASMINE

Eleanor “Elle” Macpherson b. 1964 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Supermodel, actress, producer and businesswoman
  • Honours: Listed by Forbes as having assets of over $60 million
  • Popularity of name when born: #456 for the decade
  • Current popularity: Rising sharply in the mid to low 100s
  • Today’s equivalent: ROSEMARY or “Romy” (another retro-style name in the mid 400s)

Kylie Minogue b. 1968 Victoria

  • Claim to fame: Pop diva and actress
  • Honours: Ordre de Arts et des Lettres, Order of the British Empire, Hall of Fame, numerous awards
  • Popularity of name when born: #48
  • Current popularity: In rare use
  • Today’s equivalent: LAYLA

Mary Donaldson b. 1972 Tasmania

  • Claim to fame: Crown Princess of Denmark and Duchess of Monpezat
  • Honours: Order of the Elephant, Order of Saint Olav, Order of the Polar Star
  • Popularity of name when born: #70
  • Current popularity: Stable in the low 100s
  • Today’s equivalent: INDIANNA or “Her Royal Highess Indianna”

Lucinda Dunn b. 1974 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Principal artist with The Australian Ballet, the company’s longest-serving ballerina
  • Honours: Australian Dance Award, Green Room Award, multiple scholarships
  • Popularity of name when born: #264 for the decade
  • Current popularity: Stable in the low 100s
  • Today’s equivalent: KATHERINE (also in the 260s)

Amelia Farrugia b. 1977 Victoria

  • Claim to fame: Opera singer with the Metropolitan Opera of New York
  • Honours: NSW Young Achiever of the Year, numerous awards
  • Popularity of name when born: #249 for the decade
  • Current popularity: #8 and rising gently
  • Today’s equivalent: SERENA (also in the mid 200s)

Roxanne “Roxy” Jacenko b. 1980 New South Wales

  • Claim to fame: Started her own PR company at the age of 24
  • Honours: Business now worth many millions
  • Popularity of name when born: #270 for the decade
  • Current popularity: In rare use
  • Today’s equivalent: JESSIE or “Jess” (also in the high 200s)

Future famous trends: Much more variety with the names of famous women of tomorrow, but the current trend for plant and flower names will be evident, as well as short forms and the -ayla names. Although there were one or two unisex names, in general the future famous women will have quite feminine names, and you don’t need to fear that the pretty name you have chosen for your daughter will hinder her success. Famous women seemed to be more likely than famous men to have a non-popular name, so you may be better off choosing a name in the 200s to 400s.

In fact, very popular names were rare on the famous of both sexes – bad news for the Jacks and Mias of today. Equally rare were names in the second half of the Top 100 – the #15-#50 bracket seemed to be where the bulk of names of famous people came from.

Now you may be sceptical of a Prime Minister named Harrison, a Governor of the Reserve Bank named Jackson, or a European princess named Indianna. But consider this: it is just as likely as a Prime Minister named Kevin, a Governor of the Reserve Bank named Glenn, and a Tasmanian princess named Mary – and they all happened!

You may also think this whole entry is rather silly – in which case, that means the original theory of using successful people’s names as a guide is too, which possibly means that this myth is … BUSTED.

On the other hand, I can’t refute the blogger’s assertion that all these famous people’s names, past and present, are “regular” names – nearly all of them are on the popularity charts, for example. In that case, you may decide that the blogger’s theory is PLAUSIBLE.

So what do you think? Busted or plausible?

Note: For reasons of space I could only show ten names of each sex, but I did examine perhaps 30-50 famous men and women from my blog, and found the same patterns existing. In other words, I chose typical rather than extraordinary examples. Harrison actually turned up a third time, and I edited it out in case it should stretch credulity. I suggest keeping your eye on that name!

DISCLAIMER: Results entirely for entertainment purposes; has not been tested under lab conditions; giving your child a name which conforms to popularity of famous people’s names may or may not have desired effect. There is no connection between Baby Name Mythbusters and the TV show “Mythbusters”.