Netflix’s upcoming That ’90s Showa sequel to the successful early 2000s sitcom That ’70s Show, will reunite most of the original series’ main cast. This, of course, includes Wilmer Valderrama as Fez, the foreign exchange student whose background remained a mystery throughout the show’s eight-season run.
Fez’s last name was also a mystery that the show never revealed. Like Fez, many other television characters spent the entire duration of their hit shows without a last name, and the mystery remains to this day. They come from comedy, drama, and even sci-fi, but they have one thing in common: a lack of a full name.
Fez – That ’70s Show
Played by Wilmer Valderrama, Fez is a foreign exchange student from an unknown country. He is close friends with Eric, Hyde, and Kelso and harbors a crush on Jackie. He lives with Matthew and Rebecca Erdman, a pair of Christian fundamentalists hosting Fez until he finishes high school.
Fez isn’t actually his name. Rather, his name is unpronounceable to his friends, so they resort to calling him “FES,” an acronym for “foreign exchange student.” His actual name remains a mystery, and it’s unlikely that That ’90s Show will reveal it. It’s better this way, honestly.
Spock – Star Trek
For years, Spock remained single-named. Characters referred to him as either “Spock” or “Mr. Spock,” with no clear indication of whether it was his first or last name. Later projects revealed Spock is, in fact, his last name, and his first name remains unknown.
Charles – Charles In Charge
Charles in Charge followed nineteen-year-old college student Charles, a live-in housekeeper, first for the Pembrooks and then for the Powell family. He juggled his duties as a student with the responsibilities of caring for the household and its three children and the misadventures appropriate for a young man his age.
Charles’ name remains unknown throughout the show’s five seasons, although the children sometimes refer to him as “Charles Salamander.” His mother, Lillian, played by Ellen Travolta, also remains last-name-less, preserving the mystery of Charles and his family.
Gilligan – Gilligan’s Island
Widely considered one of the best sitcoms of all time, Gilligan’s Island followed the misadventures of a group of castaways trying to survive on a deserted island. Their efforts to escape always backfire, often because of the titular character, Gilligan, the hapless yet well-meaning first mate of the SS Minnow.
It’s unclear whether “Gilligan” is the character’s first or last name or if it’s even his name at all. Other characters use nicknames when referring to him, including “little buddy,” so it might be possible that Gilligan is another term of endearment.
Niles – The Nanny
Fran Drescher’s star vehicle The Nanny is one of the best and most iconic sitcoms from the ’90s. The plot centered on Fran Fine, a highly fashionable nanny taking care of a Broadway producer’s children in an upscale Manhattan townhouse. Daniel Davis played Niles, the house’s sarcastic butler and Fran’s friend.
Niles is highly loyal, having known Maxwell Sheffield for most of his life; his father worked for Maxwell’s father, confirming his fierce commitment to the family. However, the show reveals little about Niles’ background, including his last name. In fact, his sole hobby seems to be torturing CC Babcock, who he eventually marries.
Jeannie – I Dream Of Jeannie
I Dream of Jeannie follows the bizarre relationship between a 2000-year-old female genie and a US astronaut who fall in love after he releases her from her bottle. The show went on for five seasons and featured storylines centered on her devotion to him and her misguided attempts to please him.
Jeannie – a homophone of the word “genie” – never receives a proper name, much less a last name. However, it never becomes much of an issue because the show’s entire premise revolves around Tony’s efforts to keep Jeannie hidden. After marrying Tony, Jeannie takes his surname, although it never becomes official.
Endora – Bewitched
Arguably the most iconic sitcom of the ’60s, Bewitched followed Samantha, a witch who vows to lead a conventional suburban life after marrying a mortal man. Elizabeth Montgomery starred as the witch Samantha, with Dick York and Dick Sargent as her husband, Darrin Stephens.
Agnes Moorehead played Samantha’s mother, Endora. Openly antagonizing Darrin, Endora often caused trouble for the couple because she disapproved of her daughter marrying a mortal. Endora had no last name, but the show never bothered to address the matter. Technically, Samantha has no last name either, but she takes Darrin’s surname after marrying him.
Angel – Buffy The Vampire Slayer & Angel
Angel debuted in Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, acting as Buffy’s ally and lover. He later received a spin-off show, which followed his adventures as a private detective working in Los Angeles.
A two-hundred-year-old vampire, Angel took the name “Angelus” after being turned, becoming a sadistic and remorseless killer. However, he did not have a last name even in his human form, with the show referring to him only as “Liam.” He adopts the name “Angel” after receiving his human soul again, with characters referring to him as such throughout his tenure in Buffy and Angel,
Ned – Pushing Daisies
Pushing Daisies was canceled far too soon. The show centered on Ned, a man with the ability to revive the dead with one touch. A second touch, however, will kill them for good. After reviving his recently-deceased childhood crush, Charlie, he must struggle with his desire to keep her alive and be with her.
Ned never receives a last name in the show. Characters refer to him as either Ned or “the pie-maker,” The mystery of his last name plays little to no role in the show, with the episode’s plots centering on Ned using his powers to solve crimes and his ongoing relationship with Charlie.
Penny – The Big Bang Theory
Penny is the female protagonist of The Big Bang Theory. Played by Kaley Cuoco throughout the show’s twelve seasons, Penny is a struggling actress working as a waitress to make ends meet. She later abandons her acting career and becomes a successful sales representative.
The show never reveals Penny’s last name. An episode seemingly hints that it might be “Teller,” making her “Penny Teller,” but it’s never confirmed. Instead, Penny takes the Hofstadter surname after marrying Leonard in season ten, with Sheldon referring to her as “Penny Hofstadter” during his Nobel Prize speech.
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