Esther Cobb (1887-1970) was an ambitious gossip columnist known professionally, and later legally, as Cobina Wright.
She had her only child, Cobina Carolyn Wright, in 1921.
Cobina Sr. made sure to groom Cobina Jr. “for a film career capped by a spectacular marriage.”
Cobina Jr. ended up becoming one of the glamour girls of her era:
By 1938, [Cobina Jr.] was already under contract with 20th Century Fox while also modelling and singing in nightclubs. The next year, she won the title of Miss Manhattan and was named “most attractive and talented New York girl of the 1939 season.”
She was even wooed by Prince Philip in the late 1930s.
In the early 1940s, she appeared in several films (e.g., Week-End in Havana) and made the cover of Life Magazine (February 17, 1941).
While Cobina was at the height of her fame, her name appeared on the SSA’s baby name list twice:
- 1942: unlisted
- 1941: 7 baby girls named Cobina
- 1940: unlisted
- 1939: 8 baby girls named Cobina [debut]
- 1938: unlisted
In late 1941, at the age of 19, she got married. Several years after that, Cobina Jr. retired from acting.
Update, 6/1/2018: Just discovered something! In the early 1940s, Bob Hope “hired two ladies, Blanche Steward and Elvia Allman, to do parodies of two well-known debutantes of the period, Brenda Frazier and Cobina Wright, Jr.” The characters Brenda and Cobina appeared in several films together from 1940 to 1942. But Bob had to get rid of the characters when the real-life Cobina initiated a lawsuit. This might be a better explanation for the return of the name in ’41. It also might relate to Robin’s comment…
- Eade, Philip. “The romances of young Prince Philip.” Telegraph 4 Jun. 2001.
- Quirk, Lawrence, J. Bob Hope: The Road Well Traveled. New York: Applause, 2000.
Image: © 1941 Life