I’ve always assumed that Sheldon and Leonard from The Big Bang Theory were named for legendary actor/producer Sheldon Leonard. Now, the other day, I was watching an old Night Gallery episode starring famed B-movie tough guy Cameron Mitchell, and it struck me: were Cameron and Mitchell of Modern Family named after him?
Q1: Does anyone know if these are real homages, or just coincidences?
Dennis the Menace’s neighbors are the Wilsons, George & Martha.
ETA: The Big Bang characters were originally named Penny, Lenny & Kenny. The producers thought that was too corny, changed Lenny to Leonard, and yes, changed the third character’s name to Sheldon as an homage.
Jessie and James of Pokemon are named for, duh, Jesse James. (Their Japanese counterparts, Kojiro and Musashi, have a slightly different reference behind them - famous rival swordsmen Sasake Kojiro and Miyamoto Musashi.) Their rivals in Team Rocket are named Butch and Cassidy, named for, of course, Butch Cassidy (their Japanese names (Kosaburo and Yamato) are just references to Kojiro and Musashi’s, though).
Another one I just ran across today. On Scrubs, Jon Dorian, Chris Turk and Molly Klock (Heather Graham) are named after the medical advisors that helped write the show, Jonathan Doris, Jon Turk, and Dolly Klock.
When Matt Groening created the Simpsons, he named them after his own family: his parents Homer and Marge (Margaret), and his sisters Lisa and Maggie (also Margaret). Bart was an anagram of the word “Brat.” When Grampa Simpson needed a name, he asked the staff writers to come up with one, and they chose “Abraham” – not knowing that was the actual name of Groening’s grandfather!