Last summer, while cleaning the house of someone who had been collecting a local magazine called Busted, I learned for the first time that Priscilla King had been arrested for underage drinking.
Obviously, that's not a close relative of the writer known as Priscilla King (and it happened long enough ago that I doubt that the teenager known as Priscilla King, down in Tennessee, is still underage). However, it was quite interesting to note how many other well-known names appeared in Busted. Reportedly these are the legal names of people, nearly all petty offenders, who just happen to share the names of people who are or were famous (even if, in some cases, fictional). At least commenting on these coincidences gives me something to write about that invites lots of book and movie links.
Local police line-ups have recently featured traffic offenders, non-payers of child support, drunks, and other misdemeanants who share the names of...
Bill Bailey, on a traffic charge...possibly trying to get home. (A classic song of the early twentieth century: "Won't You Come Home, Bill Bailey?")
William Bennett, not the one known for writing about virtue.
John Birch, not the one whose life and work are commemorated by the right-wing John Birch Society.
James Brown, not for "saying it loud, I'm Black and I'm proud." The one arrested wasn't even Black.
Laura Bryant, not to be confused with Laura Militzer Bryant.
Robert Byrd, not the late Senator, nor from West Virginia.
Miguel Cervantes...it's been so long that he probably doesn't even know whether he is a remote descendant of the great Renaissance author.
Angela Davis, not on charges connected with political activism.
Jimmy Dean, not the late singer.
John Fox, neither the author of The Little Shepherd of Kingdom Come nor the coach of the Chicago Bears.
Judy Garland, not on charges related to the disappearance of witches.
John Gilbert, obviously no movie star.
Melissa Gilbert, ditto.
Patrick Henry, on petty and unpatriotic charges.
John Holt, not the late educator.
Andrew Jackson, from Tennessee, possibly a proud descendant of our seventh President.
Carol Jackson, no resemblance to Carole Jackson. (It should perhaps be mentioned that it's considered an encouragement to good behavior, in my part of the world, that if you drive recklessly, swear in public, etc., Busted will Color You Ugly with a photo that may look like something from an amusement park's "House of Mirrors.")
Michael Jackson, not the late singer.
Jesse James, not for robbing the Danville train.
Jennifer Jones, not a movie star.
Jim Jones, not the late, unlamented Communist cult leader.
James Jordan, not the Congressman.
Edward Kennedy, probably not a close relative of the late Senator.
Mary Martin , not the actress.
Steve Martin, not the comedian.
Michael Moore. Actually, at least two guys called Michael Moore have appeared in Busted, one Black and one White. Neither of them is likely to be mistaken for the filmmaker.
Terry Nichols, not the conspirator, who was safely in prison at the time.
Timothy Peters, not the truck racer.
Ronald Reagan, not the late President.
Howard Roark...on charges relating to a lawsuit about his alleged failure to perform construction work according to contract. Nevertheless, Ayn Rand didn't make this guy up. The one featured in Busted is real.
Jimmy Rogers, not the late Jimmie Rodgers.
Connie Smith, not the singer.
John Smith. Yes, people do call their sons John Smith.
James Taylor, not the singer.
John Thomas...that seems downright mean.
Charles Williams, not the late writer.
Does sharing a name with a celebrity make it more likely that people will commit misdemeanors? Probably not; the majority of people featured in Busted don't have celebrity names, and many local people who do share celebrities' names, like the James Dean, James Ray, and John Glenn at my school, seem to stay out of trouble. However, sharing a name with a celebrity does make it more likely that people will notice and remember any trouble into which a person gets.