The Quick 10: George George and 9 Other Reduplicated Names

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When people with first name surnames (Aaron, Thomas, etc.) have a child and decide to basically name that child their surname for a first name as well, is it because they think it’s funny? Do they think it has a nice ring to it? Or are they just unimaginative? Whatever their reasoning is, here are 10 guys who have really similar first and last names.

1. George W. George has a pretty interesting story. He was born George Goldberg, as in Rube Goldberg, who was his dad. Rube received a lot of hate mail because of his political cartoons and asked his two sons to change their last names so if some crazed person decided to retaliate against him, they would be unable to locate his family. His sons agreed, and Thomas Goldberg chose the last name George to honor his brother. George wanted to keep the family together at least a little bit, so he too took the surname of George. George W. George was a Broadway and film producer.

2. William Williams. There are quite a few William Williamses, actually – there’s the artist who painted the official portraits of George Washington, John Adams and Thomas Jefferson; there’s William Williams the ex-surgeon general; there’s William Williams the Pulitzer Prize winner; and there’s William Williams the Lando Calrissian (Billy Dee Williams’ full name is William December Williams). And that’s just to name a scant few. Perhaps naming your child William Williams ensures a great career?

3. John Johns was the 15th president at the College of William and Mary and was also the fourth Episcopal bishop of the state of Virginia.

4. Gordon Gordon was one half of a novel-writing duo; the other half consisted of his wife, Mildred Gordon. They wrote mostly crime fiction, which was appropriate since Gordon also served as an FBI counter-intelligence officer during WWII. While their bibliography is quite extensive, you might know them best for Undercover Cat - it was retitled when Disney bought the rights and filmed it as That Darn Cat.

5. Khaled Khaled. Perhaps better known as DJ Khaled, this musician has put out five albums and worked with the likes of Akon, T-Pain, Ludacris, Snoop Dogg, Lil Wayne (and about a million more). Anyway, he was born Khaled Khaled, which makes his professional name pretty tidy – you could be referring to his first name or his surname and it doesn’t really matter.

6. Edward Edwards is a character actor who has been in pretty much everything. House, CSI, Criminal Minds, Boston Legal, Without a Trace, Desperate Housewives, NYPD Blue, JAG, Monk, Judging Amy, 24, Buffy the Vampire Slayer, and the list goes on. I guarantee he’s one of those, “Hey, it’s that guy!” guys to many people.

7. Robert Roberts was the first commercially-published African American in the U.S. His book? The House Servant’s Directory. Roberts later became a well-known abolitionist in Boston, famous for his fervent lobbying for equal school rights for children.

8. James James was a musician who wrote the music for the Welsh national anthem. He was also a politician aspiring to be the governor of Wisconsin up until last week.

9. Thomas T. Thomas, who also went by Thomas Wren, is a science fiction author. Other Thomas Thomases include a boxer, a thoracic surgeon and a Welsh cleric.

10. Richard Richards is a former NASA astronaut who commanded the Space Shuttle Discovery. Another Richard Richards was the Chairman of the Republican National Party from 1981-1983.

An extra fun fact for you: Wilson from Home Improvement was Wilson Wilson. So, are you someone with a reduplicated name? Do you know someone with one? What’s your take on the whole thing?

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November 8, 2010 - 12:33pm
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