A dismally small proportion of the Forbes list are women, and most of them have fairly serious, old-style names such as Fidelity's president Abigail Johnson. Abigail was the Old Testament wife of David, renowned for her beauty and wisdom, and also the name of two First Ladies. Abigail has been a Top 10 name since 2001 and has been seen on screen in everything from Mad Men to The Lovely Bones.
Namesake: Abigail Pierrepont Johnson, President of Fidelity Investments
The name of the richest woman in the world—Wal-Mart heiress, Alice Walton—Alice has that sweet Alice-in-Wonderland aura. It's a neglected classic that has recently begun to feel stylish again, in part because of Tina Fey, who chose it for her daughter, and thanks to the Twilight series. Bonus: There are an unusual number of acclaimed women writers named Alice, from Adams to Walker.
Namesake: Alice Walton, an heiress to the Wal-Mart fortune
Since the 1980's The Facts of Life era, Blair has been seen as the snooty rich girl—an image perpetuated by wealthy socialite Blair Waldorf on Gossip Girl—which could be just right for your own future Billionairess. A Scottish surname, Blair was one of the first upwardly mobile unisex names to catch on here, though it fell off the Top 1000 in 2001.
Namesake: Blair Parry-Okeden, a Cox Enterprises heiress who raises cattle in Australia
An upscale surname name like Cargill looks great on a Harvard Business School application, and could be the first step on your child's ladder to fiscal success. So shake every branch and twiglet of your family tree to see if there you can find an Astor, a Huntington, a Rockefeller, a Vanderbilt, a Mellon or a De Pont. If not, you can always fake it.
Namesake: Cargill MacMillan, a holder of Cargill, the largest privately held US corporation
The name of one of the current generation of the powerful Ziff publishing family, Dirk had some popularity from the 50s to 80s, along with cousin-name Kirk, but has hardly been heard from since. It was popularized in the English-speaking world by British actor Dirk Bogarde, who was actually christened Derek. Dirk has been out of circulation for so long that it now feels like a fresh choice, in tune with other current short, strong, one-syllable boys' names like Chase, Cole, and Cash.
Namesake: Dirk Ziff, a son of publishing magnate William Ziff
In Los Angeles, billionaire developer and art world titan Eli Borad is often referred to by his first name alone. More energetic Old Testament names like Levi and Eli have been shooting up in popularity, with Eli entering the Top 100 for the first time this year, no doubt helped by the football Giants superstar Eli Manning (whose brother Peyton's name has also taken off). Some parents prefer the longer forms Elijah, Elias, or Elisha, or variant spelling Ely.
Namesake: Eli Broad, LA developer, philanthropist, and art collector
One of the most modern sounding of the billionaire appellations, Forrest is a green and woodsy nature name, with a sensitive, down-to-earth yet strong and distinctive image. Distinguished bearers include newsman Sawyer, actor Whitaker, football Hall-of-Famer Gregg and—oops!—Forrest Gump.
Namesake: Forrest Mars, Jr., of the vast Mars candy empire
For decades, this strong Scottish surname has been overtaken by the trendier Jordan, but in our view a Gordon would have a better chance for CEO-dom. Famous Gordons have included British PM Gordon Brown, chef Gordon Ramsay, and astronaut Gordon Cooper; an infamous one is Gordon Gekko, symbol of Wall Street greed.
Namesake: Gordon Moore, co-founder and Chairman Emeritus of Intel
Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy Onassis, who was born into an upper-class family but whose wealth reached stratospheric proportions with her marriage to Aristotle Onassis, imbued her first name, the feminine form of the French Jacques, with a sophisticated gloss that clings to it even though it reached its peak of popularity back in the Camelot 1960s. In can be pronounced either with three syllables, or as the French jak-LEEN.
Namesake: Jacqueline Mars, another member of the Mars Bar conglomerate, one of the wealthiest women in the world
Sometimes billionaires are born and not made, as in the case of Marion McMillan Pictet. Her name, a medieval French offshoot of Marie, has had a diverse image over the years: as Robin Hood's love object, as a Top 50 name in the early decades of the 20th century, a Mom name on Happy Days, Olympic athlete Marion Jones, Academy Award–winner Marion Cotillard, and, most recently, the name choice of stylish Sarah Jessica Parker for one of her twin girls.
Namesake: Marion McMillan Pictet, heiress to the Cargill family agricultural fortune
The name of another billionaire Cargill family heiress, the soft but strong Pauline was hot 100 years ago, in the era of the silent serial The Perils of Pauline, but now sounds more modern than the poodle-skirted Paula or faux French Paulette. It was the name of Napoleon's sister, Super Mario's original video-game gf, was chosen by Monaco Princess Stephanie for her daughter, and was glamorized by Czech supermodel Paulina Porizkova.
Namesake: Pauline MacMillan Keinath, another Cargill heiress
If you're taking this seriously, you should definitely consider Rupert, as there are not one but two multi-billionaires with this name. A little stiff and stodgy, it does have a certain sophisticated charm, à la British actor Rupert Everett. Though it sounds so veddy British, Rupert is actually a German form of Robert, and was the name of the hero of D. H. Lawrence's Women in Love.
Namesakes: Rupert Murdoch, Australian-American media magnate and Rupert Johnson, Jr., runs Franklin Resources
Net Worth: Rupert Murdoch, $7.6 billion (Forbes) and Rupert Johnson, Jr., $3.8 billion (Forbes)
Sam Zell, billionaire head of Equity Group Investments, is known professionally by the short form of his name, as are many of the other members of the Club. His full name, Samuel, is one of the few Biblical names in the group, and has long been a popular Old Testament favorite. It was propelled into current popularity via that friendly nickname Sam, which came back into favor along with one-time pinochle partners Jake and Max. Celebrities who have chosen Samuel for their sons include Jack Black, and Naomi Watts and Liev Schreiber.
Namesake: Samuel 'Sam' Zell, chairman of Equity Group Investments
Warren may not strike you as the most baby-friendly of names, and, indeed, even when Warren Beatty was a young, sexy heartthrob, and Warren Zevon an appealing rocker, the name still conjured up a serious, golf-playing executive with rimless glasses. But recently such names as Warren, Walter, Arthur, and Ernest have infiltrated name possibility lists—perhaps by parents who wouldn't mind giving birth to a serious, golf-playing CEO.
Namesake: Warren Buffet, Chairman of Berkshire Hathaway
Whitney is a name that reeks of Old Money—just think of art patron Gertrude Vanderbilt Whitney, founder of the New York museum named after her, and her husband, wealthy sportsman Harry Payne Whitney and all his prominent ancestors. Our advice, though, is to save it for a girl, as Whitney made a gender switch in the 1980s.
Namesake: Whitney MacMillan is Chairman of Cargill, Inc.
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