‘Bill O’Reilly stole my name’


Would you believe it? My name is actually Bill O’Reilly, but I had to change it to W J O’Reilly so I could have an identity online.

W J O'Reilly (former Bill O'Reilly)

Speaking of the other Bill O’Reilly, I don’t think you could find two more different people, philosophically, than the two of us. But we share the same name. That’s kind of mystical and weird to me.

When I was a little kid, my name was Billy, which has an endearing sort of ring to it. When I reached puberty, I became Bill, which coincidentally is my father’s name. Sometimes people would call the house and ask for Bill and there was always some confusion about it. So, when it comes right down to it, my name has given me great enjoyment — as Billy, then a pretty good dose of confusion when I became Bill — and finally, when this other Bill O’Reilly was roaring up in the media business, well, let’s say my name didn’t even belong to me anymore. I’m happy for W J O’Reilly, though; he knows who he is and he has a meaningful and positive place in the world.

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