Junior High isn't easy if you're an Adolf
November 18, 2009 5:16 PM   Subscribe

I'm looking for writings about experiences that arise from having a name similar to a famous individual. Online sources preferred, but a trip to the library would be OK.
posted by jepler to Human Relations (19 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
That sounds like a "This American Life" episode, but I'm not sure if I'm just imagining that.
posted by Frank Grimes at 5:18 PM on November 18, 2009

A friend of mine is named Barak. He talks a little bit about what the last year or so has been like here.
posted by scody at 5:22 PM on November 18, 2009

Mefi's own paladin was profiled in the New York Times for having a famous name in July. There was a whole metatalk thread about it too.
posted by lilac girl at 5:24 PM on November 18, 2009

Well, I have the same name as a person associated with libertarianism/free markets, and, as a result of working in the financial industry, I am sometimes asked if I am the David Friedman with whom they are familiar. (I am not him.)

Is he famous? Well, that depends upon how familiar you are with fringe intellectuals.
posted by dfriedman at 5:38 PM on November 18, 2009

I googled "celebrity name-alikes"—the first result was this article. Not much else for your purposes. (I also tried every combination of "celebrity," "name," "similar," plus variations I could come up with.)

Of course that's not all that's out there. Go to the individual sites for People, Us, etc., and search with similar terms. If you find something, they'll probably want you to pay for online access. Alternatively, you can take the reference info and look up the articles for free via your local library's far more comprehensive online resources. Up to you.

Only slightly off-topic: I swear I recently came across a beautifully shot series of photos of people with famous and incongruous names, but of course I can't find it now.

And now I'm sixteenth-remembering a short story about this situation...

Damn your hide, jepler!
posted by dogrose at 5:47 PM on November 18, 2009

I share a name with a famous Malaysian actress, so much so that growing up people would call me by her name whenever we were introduced. No one ever confused me for her; they just thought they were being clever (yes, after the 100th time!). I knew it was jump-the-shark time when I went to interview the former Malaysian Prime Minister as part of a youth journalist team and he made the same reference.

I met the actress at the opening of a restaurant by a family friend (our friend's sister is a known radio DJ). At first she didn't believe me, so I showed her my ID; she then said "Oh, maybe your parents were inspired by..."

Yeah, no. My dad named me after a character/actress on Mutiny on the Bounty, not someone who wasn't heard of when I was born.
posted by divabat at 6:03 PM on November 18, 2009

Not sure if this kind of trolly stunt-naming qualifies but what the hell, it's only pixels.

If your name is Adolf Hitler Campbell or JoyceLynn Aryan Nation Campbell, the local ShopRite might refuse to make you a personalized birthday cake. (PC standards at the local WalMart were reportedly more flexible.)
posted by dogrose at 6:08 PM on November 18, 2009

Re: sounds like a This American Life Episode...there's a TAL piece about a man who listed his phone number under "Willie Nelson" in the white pages, and the phone calls he got as a result. The man's name was not actually Willie Nelson, though.
posted by needs more cowbell at 6:45 PM on November 18, 2009

My favorite might be "Michael Bolton" from Office Space
posted by mattsweaters at 6:48 PM on November 18, 2009

I share a name with a dead, semi-famous singer songwriter. I get a lot of people dropping his name when talking to me to see if I know his music. Also, back before Facebook's privacy settings were less standard and strict I got a lot of people from around the world messaging me out of the blue to talk to me just based on the name and their love of his music. One of which I even started a friendship with in real life.
posted by Midnight Rambler at 7:08 PM on November 18, 2009

A friend of mine is named Tom Clancy. He'd probably be willing to share some stories with you if you emailed him.
posted by mrbarrett.com at 8:00 PM on November 18, 2009

Do fictional famous people count? Here's a story on a real Harry Potter.
posted by mrsshotglass at 8:49 PM on November 18, 2009

My wife and I (foolishly perhaps) named our daughter after a famous song. People meeting her for the first time tend either to hum the opening bars or say to her, Do you know the song? Her response now is, What song?
posted by TheRaven at 1:00 AM on November 19, 2009

A few years ago I randomly stumbled across an online community of people named Stephen King (and a few Steven Kings). There were a lot of them and they had some funny stories. Unfortunately I have no idea where it is and Google is not helping. Anyone else remember this?
posted by A Thousand Baited Hooks at 3:59 AM on November 19, 2009

I know a man named John (Johnny) Cash, who now goes by a nickname because when he would place orders using his real name, people would think it was a prank.
posted by LolaGeek at 4:49 AM on November 19, 2009

My best friend in High school was named Michael Jordan, he went by Micky to make his life easier. I imagine that's a fairly common one for people born before the mid 80's.
posted by French Fry at 8:20 AM on November 19, 2009

When I went on the Internet for the very first time, I went to AltaVista and typed my name, "Mike Harris", into its search box.

The results were as follows: "The Anti-Mike Harris Page", "Mike Harris Sucks!", etc.

I called the computer lab technician and said, "Do you guys do this to everybody?"

It turns out that Mike Harris was not the most popular of Ontario premiers.
posted by WCityMike at 9:33 AM on November 19, 2009

The New York Times Lens blog is doing a photo series on people with the same name as presidents.
posted by yarrow at 10:58 AM on November 19, 2009

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