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Baby name inspiration: Celebrities who go by their middle names

Diane Ashoff has a background in mathematics and a keen eye for baby name trends. She lives with her husband and three children in Florida.

Find out which celebrities ditched their first names and went by middle names

During my pregnancies, I would guess I spent 23 out of every 24 hours looking for the right baby name. (I spent the rest of the time peeing.) I read street signs and checked out name tags every place I shopped. My very favorite baby naming game involved trying to see how many names I could absorb as movie credits flew past my eyeballs.

It's no secret celebrities use stage names, but it can be kind of shocking to see how many of the ones with perfectly ordinary monikers aren't exactly the names they were born with. At least, not in that order.

Famous men who go by their middle names

Brad Pitt? Not a Brad. Sean Connery? Not a Sean. And Alex Trebek's first name is George. Is everything a lie? Try to imagine these authors and leading men going by their given first names — some of them might break your brain.

Famous women who go by their middle names

Most of the ladies on our list made the right call, dropping common names in favor of catchy middles. Baby girl names in particular tend to connect women to a particular generation — Nicole Lilly is a lady trapped in the 1980s. But Evangeline Lilly sounds ageless, glamorous and just a bit edgy.

Choosing a baby name worthy of the stage

For starters, stay far away from celebrity baby names. Unlike celebrity children, yours will probably need a day job. Don't wreck their résumés. You don't have to ditch all the flair, but find a good balance between the classic and the obscure. If you have your heart set on an oddball first name, choose a timeless, safe name for the middle. If your first name favorites skew toward baby names that top the charts, let a bit more of your character shine through with your middle name choice.

More celebrity baby names

The best and worst celebrity baby names of 2014
Celebrity baby middle names: Monroe and Rose are the trendiest picks
Can you steal a baby name? Mila and Ashton reportedly did

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