Anderson played FBI Agent Dana Scully in the immensely popular TV series X-Files from 1993 to 2002. She also starred in two X-Files films. It became the longest running science fiction series in US TV history.
In 1976, Fawcett had two widespread successes. First, an iconic poster of her in a red bathing suit became the best selling poster in history. She also starred in the first season of the TV series Charlie's Angels. Her co-star Jaclyn Smith also appears on this list. Though she died on the same day as Michael Jackson in 2009, many media outlets still paid tribute to her death including 20/20, Larry King Live, and Dateline NBC.
Lilly's first major role came as she was cast as Kate on the TV series Lost (2004-2010). Since then, she has starred in a number of successful films including Real Steel (2011), The Hobbit series (2013 and 2014), and Ant-Man (2015 abd 2018). She also continued her role in the Marvel Cinematic Universe with her appearance in The Avengers (2019).
Diaz had early acting success with The Mask in 1994. She didn't have much effect on baby names until she began starring in romantic comedies including My Best Friend's Wedding (1997) and There's Something About Mary (1998). She also had roles in Being John Malkovich (1999), Charlie's Angles (2000 and 2003) and Shrek (2001, 2004, 2007, and 2010). Additional romantic comedies later in her career include The Sweetest Thing (2002), In Her Shoes (2005), and The Holiday (2006). She announced her retirement from acting in 2018. We think you'll notice a trend among actresses that star in romantic comedies and their influence on baby names.
Berry was one of the highest paid actresses of the 2000s. She had her breakthrough role was in the romantic comedy Boomerang (1992). She then had a series of successes including The Flintstones (1994), Bulworth (1998), Introducing Dorothy Dandridge (1999), Swordfish (2001), James Bond (2002), and the X-Men series (2000, 2003, 2006, and 2014). She also had roles in the films Cloud Atlas (2012), The Kingsman (2017), and John Wick (2019).
Fisher has starred in a number of films aimed at kids including Scooby-Doo (2002) and Rise of the Guardians (2012). She has also starred in a number of romantic comedies including Wedding Crashers (2005), Definitely Maybe (2008), and Confessions of a Shopaholic (2009). Both genres are highly influential in kids names. Other notable films include I Heart Huckabees (2004), Hot Rod (2007), and Now You See Me (2013). More recent films include Keeping Up with the Joneses (2016) and Godmothered (2020).
Panettiere was a child star in Remember the Titans (2000). She gained widespread attention for her role in the TV series Heroes (2006-2010). Her co-star Milo Ventimiglia also had an influence on baby names. More recently, she plays Juliette Barnes in the TV series Nashville (2012-present).
Knightley's most famous role is that of Elizabeth Swan in the Pirates of the Caribbean series of films (2003, 2006, 2007). Other successes between those releases and her career rise include King Arthur (2004), Pride & Prejudice (2005), and The Duchess (2008).
Witherspoon first gained widespread attention with her role as Elle Woods in Legally Blonde (2001 and 2003). The next year she followed with the very successful romantic film Sweet Home Alabama (2002). Her strong acting abilities were highlighted in the later films Walk the Line (2005), Water for Elephants (2011), and Wild (2014). Her more recent films include Sing (2016) and A Wrinkle in Time (2018). She also starred in the TV show Big Little Lies which released seasons in 2017 and 2019.
The period between 1998 and 2000 has been described as Jolie's breakthrough period where she won many acting awards. She was in films such as George Wallace (1997), Gia (1998) and Girl, Interrupted (1999). In 2000 and 2001, she starred in blockbusters Gone in 60 Seconds and Tomb Raider. She would follow with more successes such as Mr. & Mrs. Smith (2005), Wanted (2008), Salt (2010), and Maleficient (2014). Her personal life has also been the subject of much media attention including a scandal that accused her of being the cause of the end of the marriage of Jennifer Anniston and Brad Pitt in 2005.
Smith is best known for her work in the original Charlie's Angels TV series (1976-1981). She was the only female lead to stay with the entire series. Her co-star Farrah Fawcett also appears on this list. Over the next decade, she would star in many TV miniseries and films including Jacqueline Bouvier Kennedy (1981), Rage of Angels (1983), George Washington (1984), Kaleidoscope (1990), and Nightmare in the Daylight (1992).
Kunis's first significant role was on the TV series That 70s Show. It was not until she made her way into films that she gained widespread attention. Popular films include Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008), The Book of Eli (2010), Friends with Benefits (2011), Ted (2012), Oz (2013), and Bad Moms (2016). Later films include Bad Moms Christmas (2017) and The Spy Who Dumped Me (2018).
Johansson has seen consistent career growth. Her earlier films include Lost in Translation (2003), Match Point (2005), The Prestige (2006), The Other Boleyn Girl (2008), and He's Just Not That Into You (2009). In 2010, she stared in the blockbuster film Iron Man 2 as Black Widow and would later star in The Avengers (2012) and Captain America (2014) - all part of the Marvel Cinematic Universe. During that time, she also stared in smaller films with We Bought a Zoon (2011), Her (2013), and Lucy (2014). In recent years, she has been the world's most highly paid actress and has starred in Marvel movies in 2015, 2016, 2018, and 2019.
Smith had many successes of her own, but a lot of her influence can be attributed to her family. She starred in roles in the TV series A Different World (1991-1993), a spinoff of The Cosby Show, and The Nutty Professor (1996). Her influence on baby names rose sharply in the late 90s and 2000s as her husband, daughter, and son also influenced the naming of children. The influence of her husband Will's blockbuster movies and the country's interest in the entire family can be seen during this time period.
Milano's role in Who's the Boss (1984-1991) established her as a teen idol - a title that is frequently shared with celebrities that have had influence over baby names. She continued her TV career with Melrose Place (1996-1999) and Charmed (1999-2006).
There are far too many to rank them all. Check out some of the other actresses that have had significant impact on names but less so than our top picks. How many others can you find?
Births for first names are taken from births that occurred in the United States after 1879. From 1880 to 1936, all births may not be included in the original data set. Any totals for last names are the number of people with the last name as of the last US census.