It is safe to say that ever since the arrival of accessible pop culture into the home, parents have been finding ways to incorporate their fandom into their everyday lives. According to Nielsen’s National Television Household Universe Estimates, a whopping 119.6 million homes in the U.S. had television sets during the 2017–2018 TV season. The figures, taken from the U.S. Census Bureau, were combined with information from the national TV panel to examine the country’s ongoing love affair with TV and find out how the popularity of television has progressed throughout history. The study also found that the percentage of total U.S. homes with televisions that receive signals via broadcast, cable, DBS, Telco, or broadband internet connection increased by 0.5% from the prior year’s estimate up to 96.5%.
That being said, it's no surprise that many Americans have continued to take inspiration from their favorite TV show characters when it comes to important life choices, such as choosing the perfect baby name—whether it is on purpose or subconsciously.
Stacker looked at 50 baby names shared by classic TV show characters and used 2018 data from the Social Security Administration (released in 2019) to determine their popularity today. We dug even deeper and investigated each character's significance on the specific television show, the etymology of the name, where it comes from, and the history behind it. We also examined anything significant about the show or the actor portraying the character to give our readers even more background and context.
Read on to find out if your name made the list, and which famous character you share it with. Compare the years or generation that the show or characters were active with your birth year, and you may even discover that you were named after a TV star after all!
You may also like: Most popular baby names for boys the year you were born
- TV Show: "Taxi"
- Character: Alex Reiger
- Today's rank: #153 (2,505 babies born)
Played by American actor Judd Hirsch, Alex Reiger was the name of a fan-favorite taxi driver on the hit show, “Taxi” (on air from 1978–1983). Besides the obvious gender-neutral convenience, the name Alex is from English origin and means “Defender of the People”—not a bad way to come into the world if you ask us.
- TV Show: "The Andy Griffith Show"
- Character: Andrew "Andy" Taylor
- Today's rank: #43 (7,234 babies born)
Everyone remembers “The Andy Griffith Show,” created by Andy Griffith, who also played the main character of the same first name. The family-friendly program ran for eight seasons and captured the hearts of viewers all throughout the United States along the way. The name Andrew is of Greek origin meaning “manly” and can be found in many historic texts.
- TV Show: "The Sopranos"
- Character: Anthony "Tony" Soprano
- Today's rank: #38 (8,003 babies born)
Popularized in the early 2000s and headlined by late actor James Gandolfini who played New Jersey mob boss Anthony “Tony” Soprano, there isn’t a fan without an opinion about this controversial series’ finale in 2007. The name Anthony comes from Latin origin, but the exact meaning of the name is unknown.
- TV Show: "All in the Family"
- Character: Archibald "Archie" Bunker
- Today's rank: #2,052 (69 babies born)
Archibald comes from English origin and means “truly bold,” with stars such as Archibald Leach (aka Cary Grant) helping to raise the unique name to popularity in the States. The hit show “All in the Family” ran from 1971 to 1979, with Carroll O'Connor at the helm playing bull-headed family man, Archie Bunker.
- TV Show: "The Facts of Life"
- Character: Blair Warner
- Today's rank: #432 (723 babies born)
Lisa Whelchel played the part of Blair Warner from 1979–1988 on “The Facts of Life,” a spin-off of the NBC comedy “Diff'rent Strokes.” Blair was blonde, preppy, and one of the main students at the boarding school where the show took place. The name Blair is unisex and of Scottish origin, meaning “plain” or “field,” so it’s safe to say that most parents didn’t choose the name for the meaning.
You may also like: How Pride is celebrated around the globe in 25 photos
- TV Show: "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
- Character: Carlton Banks
- Today's rank: #2,177 (63 babies born)
The lovable, often-flustered cousin of Will Smith’s character in “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air,” Carlton Banks was an instrumental character to the popular ‘90s sitcom. Played by Alfonso Ribeiro, Carton had a relationship with his cousin that could only be described as wildly entertaining. Carlton comes from the English “From the town of the free men.”
- TV Show: "Punky Brewster"
- Character: Cherie Johnson
- Today's rank: #7,042 (16 babies born)
The show mainly responsible for the 1990s classic “Family Matters," "Punky Brewster” was a comedy set in Chicago. Cherie Johnson played Punky's best friend, also named Cherie Johnson, before going on to play Maxine Johnson in “Family Matters” years later. Cherie is a French-originated name meaning “dear,” and is most often used for female babies.
- TV Show: "Hawaii Five-O "
- Character: Chin Ho Kelly
- Today's rank: N/A (Less than 5 babies born)
The name Chin spanned decades on television as the name of detective Chin Ho Kelly in the original “Hawaii Five-0” from 1968 to 1980 and again on the show’s reboot starting in 2010. The name itself originates in the Chinese language, meaning "golden.”
- TV Show: "Three's Company"
- Character: Christmas Noelle "Chrissy" Snow
- Today's rank: #13,693 (06 babies born)
It’s not hard to guess the origin of the name “Christmas,” literally meaning “Christ-feast” and of English origin. Christmas Noelle Snow, aka "Chrissy,” was a character on “Three’s Company” (1977–1984) played by Suzanne Somers. And, according to fans of the show, the reason why Chrissy’s parents gave her such a festively unique name is up for debate.
- TV Show: "Six Feet Under"
- Character: Claire Fisher
- Today's rank: #49 (4,379 babies born)
Actress Lauren Ambrose played the character of Claire Fisher on the show “Six Feet Under” that ran from 2001 to 2005. The character was the youngest child and only daughter in the Fisher family, who ran a funeral home in Los Angeles that the show was based around.
You may also like: 50 endangered species that only live in the Amazon Rainforest
- TV Show: "Walker, Texas Ranger"
- Character: Cordell Walker
- Today's rank: #1,762 (86 babies born)
Resulting in eight seasons and several movies, “Walker, Texas Ranger” tells the story of a Texas Ranger who kicks and punches his way through Dallas’ criminals. The title character of Cordell Walker is played by Chuck Norris, an avid martial artist and the modern subject of some pretty great memes. Cordell comes from English origins and means “rope maker.”
- TV Show: "Twin Peaks"
- Character: Dale Cooper
- Today's rank: #1,385 (126 babies born)
Television audiences were first introduced to FBI Special Agent Dale Cooper (Kyle MacLachlan) in David Lynch’s 1990–91 cult-classic show; followed by the prequel film “Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me” in ‘92 and the show’s 2017 reboot. Eater writer Melissa Buote described Agent Cooper as a “Jungian Sherlock Holmes” (“Jungian” refers to the thought of Swiss psychiatrist Carl Jung). The name Dale is derived from an English surname describing one who resides close to a valley, or dale.
- TV Show: "The Office"
- Character: Dwight Schrute
- Today's rank: #1,683 (93 babies born)
In October 2019 it was revealed—which came as no surprise to fans—that the NBC show “The Office” was the most-watched licensed show on Netflix, beating the likes of “Friends” and “Grey’s Anatomy.” Actor Rainn Wilson played the character of Dwight on the hit show, whose hilarious love-hate relationship with deskmate Jim quickly became one of the popular show’s major highlights. The name Dwight, meaning “devotee of Dionysos,” has English origin.
- TV Show: "30 Rock"
- Character: Elizabeth "Liz" Lemon
- Today's rank: #13 (8,513 babies born)
Though fans of literature may first think of Elizabeth Bennet from Jane Austen’s “Pride and Prejudice,” more contemporary TV fans can’t help but imagine quirky Elizabeth "Liz" Lemon from “30 Rock.” Created and headlined by “Saturday Night Live” alum Tina Fey, the character is witty, sarcastic, and almost too-relatable. The name Elizabeth comes from the Hebrew for “oath to God,” and has biblical origins.
- TV Show: "The Beverly Hillbillies"
- Character: Elly May Clampett
- Today's rank: #1,602 (133 babies born)
The TV series “The Beverly Hillbillies” was on air from 1962 to 1971, telling the story of an uneducated family who practically become rich overnight, with Donna Douglas playing pretty daughter Elly May Clampett. The name Elly is a diminutive of Eleanor, which originates in the Greek language and means "sympathy” or “compassion.”
You may also like: Most popular baby names for millennials
- TV Show: "That '70s Show"
- Character: Eric Forman
- Today's rank: #160 (2,389 babies born)
Set in 1970s Wisconsin, “That '70s Show” ran from 1998 to 2006 and catapulted the careers of stars such as Mila Kunis and Ashton Kutcher. The lead, however, was awkward Eric Forman played by Topher Grace, whom the show followed as he attempted to get through adolescence unscathed. The name Eric originates in Old Norse language and means "king forever.” It first became popular among Scandinavian royalty.
- TV Show: "The Jeffersons"
- Character: Florence Johnston
- Today's rank: #970 (269 babies born)
Yet another spinoff to “All in the Family," "The Jeffersons” ran for an impressive 11 seasons from 1975 to 1985. Florence Johnston, played by Marla Gibbs, was the name given to the family’s quick-witted housekeeper. Florence, a Latin-derived name, means “thriving” and is also known as the name of one of Italy’s most iconic cities.
- TV Show: "The Jeffersons"
- Character: George Jefferson
- Today's rank: #127 (3,059 babies born)
Actor Sherman Hemsley played wise-cracking George Jefferson on “The Jeffersons” for all 11 seasons, as well as in “All in the Family” from 1973–1978. The name George has always been popular among royalty, despite its rough translation into “farming man.”
- TV Show: "Gilligan's Island"
- Character: Ginger Grant
- Today's rank: #2,816 (59 babies born)
The glamorous movie-star character Ginger Grant on “Gilligan’s Island” was played by actress Tina Louise from 1964 to 1967. The name was also popularized by actress, dancer, and singer Ginger Rogers and is taken from the name of the ginger plant.
- TV Show: "Modern Family"
- Character: Gloria Delgado-Pritchett
- Today's rank: #584 (521 babies born)
Gloria Delgado-Pritchett is everyone’s favorite curvaceous step-mom on the show “Modern Family,” and the show truly wouldn’t be the same without her. Gloria is played by American-Colombian actress Sofia Vergara, a former-model-turned-actress and producer. The name Gloria simply means “woman of glory,” and is widely used across various languages including English, Italian, Latin, Polish, Portuguese, and Spanish.
You may also like: The 52 women who have won the Nobel prize
- TV Show: "Will & Grace"
- Character: Grace Adler
- Today's rank: #24 (6,724 babies born)
The popular show “Will & Grace” first aired in 1998 and ran up until 2006. Due to demand, the show returned with all of the original cast in 2017, including Debra Messing who plays Grace Adler, an interior designer in New York City. The name Grace is popular among Christian families and can be traced back to Latin origin. It means "elegant and graceful woman.”
- TV Show: "21 Jump Street "
- Character: Sergeant Harry Truman "H.T" Ioki/Vinh Van Tran
- Today's rank: #620 (427 babies born)
Sergeant Harry Truman, played by actor Dustin Nguyen alongside Johnny Depp, was one of the police officers chosen for the division on the 1987 show “21 Jump Street '' for his ability to go unnoticed as an undercover student. The name Harry is a Germanic medieval variation of Henry, meaning "ruler of the house.”
- TV Show: "The Simpsons"
- Character: Homer Simpson
- Today's rank: #3,427 (32 babies born)
Currently on its 32nd season in 2020, the cartoon series “The Simpsons” tells the story of bumbling Homer Simpson and his family living in the town of Springfield. Voiced by actor Dan Castellaneta, Homer has been a popular part of American television since 1989. The name Homer comes from a version of the Old Greek name Homeros, meaning “hostage.”
- TV Show: "24"
- Character: Jack Bauer
- Today's rank: #28 (8,834 babies born)
“24” follows Director of Field Ops for the Counter-Terrorist Unit of Los Angeles, Jack Bauer, who spends his days thwarting terrorist plots. The character is played by Kiefer Sutherland, who went on to reprise his role in a mini-series and television film after the show ended in 2010. The name Jack is a diminutive of the Hewbrew name John, which means "God is merciful.”
- TV Show: "The Jamie Foxx Show "
- Character: Jamie Foxx
- Today's rank: #721 (328 babies born)
While most of us know Jamie Foxx from his role in movies such as “Django Unchained," "Dreamgirls,” and “Ray,” Foxx’s early acting career included playing Jamie King, an aspiring actor from Texas attempting to support a budding career in Los Angeles. The name Jamie originated from the Hebrew language, meaning "one who supplants,” and is a variation of the names James and Jacob.
You may also like: Origins of the 50 most popular dog breeds
- TV Show: "Jane the Virgin "
- Character: Jane Villanueva
- Today's rank: #291 (1,123 babies born)
By far one of the most popular names throughout American history, Jane itself originates in the Hebrew meaning for "God is merciful,” and has the same origin as others such as Joan and Hannah. “Jane the Virgin” aired from 2014 to 2019 and follows Jane Villanueva (played by Gina Rodriguez) in her telenovela-inspired life and writing career.
- TV Show: "I Dream of Jeannie"
- Character: Jeannie
- Today's rank: #5,965 (20 babies born)
Jeannie, or Genie, is a diminutive of Eugenia, which originates from the Greek language meaning "woman well-born." Barbara Eden played the title role on “I Dream of Jeannie” from 1965 to 1970. The story of an astronaut who finds a female genie in a bottle, the show rivaled “Bewitched” and “Gilligan’s Island.”
- TV Show: "Seinfeld"
- Character: Jerome "Jerry" Seinfeld
- Today's rank: #868 (250 babies born)
Comedian Jerry Seinfeld starred in the TV comedy “Seinfeld” as himself from 1989 to 1998. The show depicted a group of friends living their lives in New York. Jerry, or Jerome, is a Medieval English name from the Greek name “Hieronymus,” meaning “sacred.”
- TV Show: "The Wonder Years"
- Character: Kevin Arnold
- Today's rank: #125 (3,124 babies born)
Fred Savage played young Kevin Arnold in this series set in the late '60s and early '70s. The name Kevin comes from the Celtic names Caemgen and Caoimhin, which mean “kind, gentle.”
- TV Show: "Living Single"
- Character: Khadijah Jame
- Today's rank: #1,587 (134 babies born)
“Living Single” tells the story of several single roommates and friends set in 1990s Brooklyn. Queen Latifah plays Khadijah James, a magazine publisher and main character in the show. Khadijah is an important name in the Arabic language, meaning "early child.”
You may also like: U.S. Army by the numbers
- TV Show: "I Love Lucy"
- Character: Lucille "Lucy" Ball
- Today's rank: #295 (1,115 babies born)
The iconic Lucille Ball headlined the popular show “I Love Lucy” from 1951 to 1957, which follows a family and their neighbor friends through a wide range of antics. The name Lucy originates from the Latin language and translates into "light of the day.”
- TV Show: "The Brady Bunch"
- Character: Marcia Brady
- Today's rank: #4,327 (32 babies born)
“The Brady Bunch” ran for five seasons between 1969 to 1974, with actress Maureen McCormick stealing viewers' hearts as eldest daughter Marcia Brady. The name Marcia comes from the Latin translation for "dedicated to Mars,” referencing Mars the Roman god of war.
- TV Show: "The Simpsons"
- Character: Marjorie "Marge" Simpson
- Today's rank: #1,164 (205 babies born)
Alongside her husband, Homer, Marjorie "Marge" Simpson is an animated character on “The Simpsons,” a show that has been running for over 30 years. Marge is voiced by Julie Kavner, who also voices the character’s sisters, Patty and Selma. Marjorie, a diminutive of Margaret, comes from the Greek word for "pearl.”
- TV Show: "Martin"
- Character: Martin Payne
- Today's rank: #272 (1,286 babies born)
The “Martin” sitcom follows radio and television personality Martin Payne, played by Martin Lawrence. The male form of Marcia, Martin is also derived from Martinus, the Latin meaning for "rendered to Mars."
- TV Show: "Mary Tyler Moore"
- Character: Mary Tyler Moore
- Today's rank: #126 (2,327 babies born)
“The Mary Tyler Moore Show” was headlined by Mary Tyler Moore, telling the story of a single woman in Minneapolis balancing her life and career. Mary, an English form of Maria, is derived from the Hebrew name Miryam from the New Testament.
You may also like: How communities are dealing with invasive species across the U.S.
- TV Show: "Grey's Anatomy"
- Character: Meredith Grey
- Today's rank: #523 (595 babies born)
The name Meredith derives from the Welsh surname that means "ruler of battle.” It was more widely used as a boy’s name up until the 20th century, and the name didn’t start becoming popular for girls until the 1920s. By 2020, the show “Grey’s Anatomy” was on its 16th season, with Ellen Pompeo portraying the character of Meredith Grey since the beginning.
- TV Show: "The Office"
- Character: Michael Scott
- Today's rank: #14 (11,620 babies born)
Steve Carell played fun-loving boss Michael Scott in the NBC show “The Office” from its inception in 2005 until 2013. The name Michael is derived from Hebrew meaning "which man is like God?"
- TV Show: "Full House"
- Character: Michelle Tanner
- Today's rank: #263 (1,239 babies born)
Mary-Kate and Ashley Olsen shared the role of little Michelle Tanner in the series “Full House” from 1987 to 1995, giving viewers the opportunity to watch them grow up before their eyes. Michelle originates from Hebrew and is the French feminine form of Michel. The name used to be popular primarily in France before English-speaking countries began adopting it in the 1940s.
- TV Show: "The Mindy Project "
- Character: Mindy Lahiri
- Today's rank: #1,999 (97 babies born)
The creator of “The Mindy Project,” Mindy Kaling, starred in the series for six seasons. The show told the story of a young doctor on a mission to find love while balancing her successful professional life. The name Mindy comes from Melinda or Melanie, which originates from the Greek "woman of gloom.”
- TV Show: "Moesha"
- Character: Moesha Denise Mitchell
- Today's rank:
Brandy Norwood plays the title character in this coming-of-age sitcom about a teenager in Los Angeles. Moesha is a name of Hebrew origin and means “drawn out of the water.”
You may also like: Iconic products released the year you were born
- TV Show: "Family Guy"
- Character: Peter Griffin
- Today's rank: #211 (1,812 babies born)
One of the longest-running animated shows on television, “Family Guy” was created by Seth MacFarlane, who also voices Peter Griffin, the oafish husband and father on the show. The name Peter originates from the Greek word for “rock,” and has declined in popularity over the past century.
- TV Show: "Friends"
- Character: Phoebe Buffay
- Today's rank: #320 (1,018 babies born)
A show that likely needs no introduction, “Friends” follows the lives of a group of friends living in 1990s Manhattan, with Phoebe (Lisa Kudrow) as the free-spirited, guitar-playing blonde. The name originates from Greek mythology and means "brightest of women.”
- TV Show: "Friends"
- Character: Rachel Karen Green
- Today's rank: #198 (1,544 babies born)
Rachel Karen Green, played by Jennifer Aniston, was as iconic a character on “Friends” as any. Rachel was also known for her haircut, which became just as popular as any figure on the show during the 1990s. Rachel translates into “sheep’s friend” in the Hebrew language.
- TV Show: "The Golden Girls"
- Character: Rose Nylund
- Today's rank: #123 (2,432 babies born)
“The Golden Girls” tells the story of four older women sharing a house in Miami Beach. The character of Rose Nylund is played by none other than Betty White, whose career has spanned over 80 years. The name Rose originates from the Latin language, and its popularity dates back to the 19th century.
- TV Show: "Bewitched"
- Character: Samantha Stephens
- Today's rank: #60 (3,897 babies born)
A sitcom about a young witch (played by Elizabeth Montgomery) who marries a mortal and uses her powers to solve everyday problems, “Bewitched” ran from 1964 to 1972. Samantha originates from Hebrew, translates to "Lord has heard,” and has been used widely since the 18th century.
You may also like: U.S. Air Force by the numbers
- TV Show: "Family Matters"
- Character: Steven Quincy Urkel
- Today's rank: #198 (2,022 babies born)
Steven Quincy Urkel, played by Jaleel White, was an unforgettable character from the show “Family Matters.” The nerdy character was featured on the show from 1989 to 1998 and was responsible for most of the antics that the Winslow family had to endure. Steven comes from the Greek language meaning "man with crown.”
- TV Show: "Home Improvement"
- Character: Timothy "Tim" Taylor
- Today's rank: #165 (2,330 babies born)
“Home Improvement,” a 1990s show about TV host Tim Taylor juggling his hardware show with family life and raising three boys, was created and headlined by Tim Allen. The name Timothy is an Anglicized form of the Latin name “Timotheus,” meaning “honoring God" or "honored by God.”
- TV Show: "Leave It to Beaver"
- Character: Wallace "Wally" Cleaver
- Today's rank: #879 (246 babies born)
Wallace "Wally" Cleaver was a character on “Leave it to Beaver,” a 1950s and ‘60s sitcom about a mischievous little boy and an all-American family, the Cleavers. Wally was played by Tony Dow, also known for his role in “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” The name Wallace comes from the Celtic word “waleis,” meaning “foreign.”
- TV Show: "Breaking Bad"
- Character: Walter White
- Today's rank: #271 (1,303 babies born)
“Breaking Bad” follows Walter White, a high school chemistry teacher diagnosed with cancer who turns to making and selling drugs to support his family. The show ran from 2008 to 2013, and the main character was played by Oscar nominee Bryan Cranston. The name Walter combines the words “wald” meaning “to rule” and “hari” meaning “army or warrior,” from the Germanic name “Waldhar.”
- TV Show: "The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air"
- Character: William Smith
- Today's rank: #3 (14,516 babies born)
Arguably the most iconic show of the 1990s, “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air” followed the exploits of Will, played by Will Smith, and his transition from Philadelphia to preppy Bel-Air to live with his extended family. The name William is derived from the Germanic languages and means "resolute protection.”
You may also like: Most popular dog breed the year you were born