Who Loves Ya, Baby?: Kojak-Inspired Baby Names

The baby name Kojak debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1974.

The TV crime drama Kojak was on the air for five seasons (1973 to 1978). It starred actor Aristotelis “Telly” Savalas as lollipop-sucking, tough-talking, big-hearted New York City police detective Theo Kojak. The series became very popular and, as a result, all of the names in that sentence (Aristotelis, Telly, Savalas, Theo, and Kojak) either debuted or saw increased usage in the baby name data in the mid-1970s:

1973 1974 1975 1976
Aristotelis . . . 5 boys*
Telly 41 boys 293 boys 277 boys 207 boys
Savalas . 30 boys* 26 boys 13 boys
Theo 27 boys 32 boys 57 boys 58 boys
Kojak . 9 boys* 6 boys .
Azuredee . . 10 girls* 7 girls
Azure . . 121 girls* 60 girls

*Debut

The name Savalas is currently tied for 48th-highest boy name debut of all time. The name Telly reached the top 1,000 for the first time in 1974, and variant name Telley debuted the same year. Even Aristotle was affected.

So…where do those “Azure” names come from?

They’re from a specific Kojak episode called “Elegy in an Asphalt Graveyard,” which first aired on February 2, 1975. The episode focused on the murder of a character named Azure Dee (played by Denyce Liston), a Manhattan call-girl who Kojak happened to know. Also, notably, the episode began and ended with a melancholy song called “Azure Dee,” [vid] sung by Telly Savalas himself.

The name Azure is currently the 20th-highest girl name debut of all time. The similar name Azuree debuted the same year, but Azuree was probably influenced as much by the the Estée Lauder perfume as by the Kojak character.

Sources: Kojak – Wikipedia, Telly Savalas, Actor, Dies at 70; Played ‘Kojak’ in 70’s TV Series, Telly Savalas – IMDb, “Elegy in an Asphalt Graveyard,” Kojak (TV Episode 1975) – IMDb

Top Baby Names in Northern Territory (Aus.), 2018

According to the government of Northern Territory, Australia, the most popular baby names in NT in 2018 were (again) Charlotte and Jack.

Here are Northern Territory’s top 10 girl names and top 10 boy names of 2018:

Girl Names

  1. Charlotte, 20 baby girls
  2. Evelyn, 14 (tie)
  3. Isla, 14 (tie)
  4. Olivia, 13
  5. Amelia, 12 (tie)
  6. Ruby, 12 (tie)
  7. Abigail, 10 (6-way tie)
  8. Isabella, 10 (6-way tie)
  9. Matilda, 10 (6-way tie)
  10. Mia, 10 (6-way tie)
  11. Sophia, 10 (6-way tie)
  12. Zoe, 10 (6-way tie)

Boy Names

  1. Jack, 20 baby boys
  2. Oliver, 18
  3. Michael, 17
  4. Noah, 15
  5. Alexander, 14 (tie)
  6. Ethan, 14 (tie)
  7. William, 13
  8. Cooper, 12 (4-way tie)
  9. John, 12 (4-way tie)
  10. Joseph, 12 (4-way tie)
  11. Thomas, 12 (4-way tie)

Evelyn and Isla, tied for 2nd/3rd on the girls’ side, weren’t even in the top 10 the year before. And Michael, ranked #3 for boys, didn’t figure in the top 20 in 2017.

Source: Popular Baby Names – NT.gov.au

Names in the News: Gloria, Google, Pink

Some recent and not-as-recent baby names from the news…

Balfour: A baby boy born in Orkney, Scotland, on June 15 was named Balfour because he was the first baby born in the new Balfour Hospital in Kirkwall. (Press and Journal)

Fani: A baby girl born in Bhubaneswar, India, on May 3 — in the midst of Cyclone Fani — was named Fani. (Outlook India)

Gloria: A baby girl born in St. Louis on June 12 — minutes before the start of Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final, which was won by St. Louis — was named Vivian LeAnne Gloria Moore, second middle name in honor of the Blues’ season anthem, “Gloria.” (St. Louis Post-Dispatch)

Google: A baby boy born in Indonesia in November of 2018 was given the single name Google because his father hoped he would be “useful” to people, as Google is. The father chose not to add a surname so that “the essence” of the name would not be diluted. (Mirror)

Hayes and Jersey: Twins born in Winnipeg to NHL player Dale Weise in April of 2019 were named Hayes (boy) and Jersey (girl). Hayes was named for country singer Hunter Hayes and Jersey was named for the state of New Jersey. (NHL.com)

Lea: A baby girl born in Pittsburgh on May 3 was named Noa Lea, middle name in honor of Lori Gilbert-Kaye (Hebrew name: Leah bat Reuven), who was murdered in a synagogue shooting in California in April. (Chabad)

Narendra Modi: A baby boy born in India on May 23 — the day Narendra Modi’s National Democratic Alliance (NDA) was victorious in India’s general election — was named Narendra Modi. (Khaleej Times)

Pink: A baby girl born at a Pink concert in Liverpool on June 25 was named Dolly Pink. (EW)

Xale: A baby girl born in Belgium on April 19 was named Xale. She has eight older siblings: Alex (age 11), Axel (10), Xela (8), Lexa (7), Xael (6), Xeal (5), Exla (3) and Leax (2). (Tagtik)

Five Name Friday: Girl Name with Double Letter

It’s another Five-Name Friday! Here is today’s baby name request:

My husband and I are on the hunt for a girl’s name that starts with a vowel (E, O, or U) or a soft, vowel-like consonant (H, W, Y, etc.) and contains a double letter somewhere in the name. To avoid repeating initials in the family, we don’t want names that begin with A or I .

Can you come up with five solid baby name suggestions for this person?

Here are the rules:

  • Be independent. Choose your five names before looking at anyone else’s comment.
  • Be sincere. Stick to legit recommendations you would offer a real-life friend.
  • Five names total in your comment. If you go over, I will delete the extras.

Which five baby names are you going to suggest?

[You can also send me your own 2-sentence baby name request using the contact form.]

Name Change: Elda to Hedda

Hedda Hopper was a gossip columnist who came to fame in the early 1940s (when she was in her 50s). But “Hedda Hopper” wasn’t her original name. It was Elda Furry.

She’d been a performer (both on stage and in the movies) as a young woman — long before she wrote for the newspapers. So it’s logical to assume that the name change happened around the time she embarked upon her showbiz career, right?

As it turns out, that wasn’t the case — she made the switch mid-career. Here’s the story:

Elda was working as a chorus girl for DeWolf Hopper’s theater company in the early 1910s…

[DeWolf Hopper] had had four marriages, and was five years older than Elda’s father, but was still a great charmer and anything but jaded. Hopper’s first four wives were named Ella, Ida, Edna and Nella, in that order, and Elda was a natural for the euphonious sequence. So, about a year after their first meeting, Hopper proposed on a train platform in Grand Central and that afternoon they were married in Wading River, N.J.

[…]

Elda shortly became aware of some rather piquant marital complications. Any man with five wives is likely to become confused and, when the wives have such similar names as the Hopper ladies, the situations becomes positively grotesque. Elda discovered that as often as not Hopper would whisper affectionately, “Dear Nella” (or Ella, Ida and Edna) instead of “Dear Elda.” The sensation of being continuously mistaken for someone else became irksome in time, and Elda forthwith visited a numerologist who recommended the name “Hedda.” From then on Hopper never got his lines crossed.

Her marriage to Hopper only lasted from 1913 until 1922, but she retained the name “Hedda Hopper” for the rest of her life.

It’s no coincidence that the usage of the baby name Hedda was highest during the 1940s. Records even reveal that one of the 1944 babies named Hedda was born into a Texas family with the surname Hopper.

Which name do you prefer, Elda or Hedda?

Which name do you like more: Elda or Hedda?

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Source: Wickware, Francis Sill. “Hedda Hopper.” Life 20 Nov. 1944: 63-70.