Name That Bo!
Try to think of an American man called Bo. You can probably name a few, like musician Bo Diddley, Oscar-winning screenwriter Bo Goldman, multi-sport athlete Bo Jackson, or fictional Bo Duke of "The Dukes of Hazzard."
Guess what? None of them were actually named Bo. In fact, until "Dukes of Hazzard" debuted in 1979, almost no Americans were named Bo. It was a pure nickname, all rugged, down-home simplicity. In the case of Bo Duke it was a short form of Beauregard, and others used it as short for Robert, but most often, the nickname Bo bore no relation at all to any given name.
Beauregard "Bo" Duke of Dukes of Hazzard
Bo now stands as an emblem of a bygone nickname era. Today, most nicknames are trimmed-down versions of formal names, but it wasn't always that way. From Jack being "short" for John to nicknames like Bear or Duke that you had to earn, the land of nicknames used to be a much more flexible and creative realm.
To illustrate the change, I've collected every famous male Bo I can find find who was born in the U.S. through 1978. If you already knew the legal first name of even one of them, that's one more than me. Let them be a reminder that nicknames aren't just thumbnail views of full names, they're whatever we make of them.
NAME THAT BO:
Robert "Bo" Belinsky: Major league baseball pitcher
Harold "Bo" Bice: musician and American Idol contestant
Armenter Chatmon "Bo Carter": early blues musician
Robert "Bo" Cornell: NFL football player
Baudilio "Bo" Díaz: Major league baseball player
Ellas McDaniel "Bo Diddley": influential R&B/rock&roll musician
Richard "Bo" Dietl: police detective/media commentator
Robert "Bo" Goldman: screenwriter (One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest, Melvin and Howard)
William "Bo" Hopkins: film actor (The Wild Bunch, American Graffiti, Midnight Express)
Vincent "Bo" Jackson: athlete named as an All-Star in both baseball and football
Gregory "Bo" Kimble: NBA basketball player
Charles "Bo" Outlaw: NBA basketball player
Mark "Bo" Pelini: college football coach
Marquis "Bo" Porter: Major league baseball manager
Robert "Bo" Rein: college football coach
William "Bo" Ryan: college basketball coach
Glenn "Bo" Schembechler: college football coach
Robert "Bo" Welch: film production designer (Thor, Men in Black, Edward Scissorhands)