TV Characters Known by a Single Name

Sure, some of these characters may have last names, but they’re so iconic that most people will recognize them by just a single name. The lead character of PBS’s British import, Inspector Morse, always went by his last name, and when the current prequel series, Endeavour, debuted in 2012, we knew why: His first name is Endeavour. (For the record, superheroes like Superman, Spiderman, Batman aren’t on this list because those are alter egos, not their real names.)


  1. Spock (Leonard Nimoy), Star Trek, NBC, 1966-69—While this Vulcan-Human hybrid was called Spock or Mr. Spock, he never used


    his full name on board The USS Enterprise. That’s because he said his full name was too difficult for humans to pronounce.
  2. Gilligan (Bob Denver), Gilligan’s Island, CBS, 1964-67—Apparently, only the character himself knew if Gilligan was the first mate’s first or last name.
  3. Buffy (Sarah Michelle Gellar), Buffy the Vampire Slayer, The WB, 1997-2001; UPN, 2001-03— With a name like Buffy, you really need a last name. (For the record, hers was Summers.) The slayer surrounded herself with single-named characters including Angel, Spike, and Faith.
  4. Fonzie (Henry Winkler), Happy Days, ABC, 1974-1984—Most people called him Fonzie or The Fonz, but only Mrs. C dared call him Arthur Fonzarelli.
  5. The Doctor (various actors, currently Jodie Whittaker), Doctor Who, BBC, 1963-89; BBC/BBC America, 2005-present—Even after 56 years and 13 Doctors, there’s still no clear idea of The Doctor’s real name. But we do know a couple of characters know The Doctor’s deepest secret—including wife River Song.
  6. Jeannie (Barbara Eden), I Dream of Jeannie, NBC, 1965-70—Prior to marrying Major Nelson late in the show’s run, Jeannie had


    no discernable last name, but she did have an identical, albeit brunette, twin sister who also happened to be named Jeannie.
  7. Mork (Robin Williams), Mork & Mindy, ABC, 1978-82— “Mork from Ork,” introduced the friendly alien and stated the name of his home planet.
  8. Quincy (Jack Klugman), Quincy, M.E. , NBC, 1976-83)—Professionally known as Dr. Quincy, the medical examiner’s friends and colleagues just called him Quincy. His first initial, R, appeared on a business card once, but when Klugman was asked what was Quincy’s first name, he often replied, “Doctor.”
  9. Columbo (Peter Falk), Columbo, NBC, 1971-78; ABC, 1989-2003—The rumpled detective artfully avoided stating his first name, occasionally replying, “Lieutenant” instead. But eagle-eyed viewers claim to have


    spotted the name “Frank” on his ID in an early episode.
  10. Endora (Agnes Moorhead), Bewitched, ABC, 1964-72—It’s a good thing that the witches of Bewitched claimed they never revealed their last names—if they had them at all—since according to Endora hers was impossible for mortals to pronounce.

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