The Katina Spike – Caused by a Soap Opera?

The baby name Cotina was a top debut name in 1972, coming out of nowhere to be given to an impressive 109 baby girls that year:

  • 1978: unlisted
  • 1977: 6 baby girls named Cotina
  • 1976: 5 baby girls named Cotina
  • 1975: 13 baby girls named Cotina
  • 1974: 33 baby girls named Cotina
  • 1973: 65 baby girls named Cotina
  • 1972: 109 baby girls named Cotina [debut]
  • 1971: unlisted

But that’s not all. The popularity of similar names — most notably Katina — spiked in ’72 as well:

Name 1971 1972 1973 1974 1975
Katina 96 2,747 2,469 766 506
Catina 15 1,370 1,236 329 174
Contina 209 124 36 27
Cotina 109 65 33 13
Katena 27 28
Kateena 22 13 5
Cantina 17 15 7
Catena 15 8 5
Kattina 15
Kotina 12 8
Katyna 11
Cateena 10 9
Kontina 10
Kantina 9 6 5
Katinna 7 6
Cattina 6 9
Catinna 11

Why?

It took me a while to come up with a decent theory for this one, as the only person the search engines kept directing me to was Greek actress Katina Paxinou (1900-1973).

where the heart is
Katina’s mother, Christine
Where The Heart Is
I was stuck until, in a decades-old Village Voice article, I spotted a reference to a fictional soap-opera baby named Katina. She was “born” in early 1972 on the CBS soap Where the Heart Is (1969-1973).

Expectant parents tend to pay particular attention to TV babies, and soap operas have historically influenced baby name rankings quite a bit, so the double-whammy of a baby born on a soap opera must have had some sort of impact.

Then again, I can’t explain why the variant “Contina” jumped so much higher than, say, “Katena” or “Kateena,” which are much more Katina-like. So perhaps I’m missing something.

Does anyone out there remember Where the Heart Is? Do you think the soap was popular enough to have started a short-lived Katina craze in the early ’70s?


19 thoughts on “The Katina Spike – Caused by a Soap Opera?

  1. i was born 1972 and the receptionist where my doctor is also named katina and born in the 70’s we both have been told by our mithers that they got our name from a soap opera.

  2. My name is Catina and I was born 72. My mom told me I was named after a character in a soap oper. She is no longer with us but not sure which soap opera. It was either Dark shawdows or the doctors. I can’t recall anybody know?

  3. Hi, I came across this site as I was searching where my mother may had gotten my name from, since she past away when I was only 4 I may never know. I was born in 1964 & have yet to find someone my age named Katina.

  4. Katina here as well – born in 1973. Mom said it was because of the soap opera “Where the Heart Is”. Apparently Katie and Christina were friends. Christina became pregnant and named the baby Katina (a mixture of Katie and Christina). Of course, Christina went on to have a nervous breakdown….well, you get the point. Nice to see other Katina’s here. I’ve only run into one in my life and I hated the name growing up – my nickname is Katie.

  5. I love this story! My mama named me after the character on Where the heart is!! And yes, I was born in 1972 :)

  6. I remember Where the Heart Is very well. It is the soap opera which was replaced by The Young and the Restless in the same time slot on CBS. Unlike most of staid, conservative soaps of the era, WTHI was irreverent and fun. CBS canceled it in part because it was attracting a younger, cultish demographic instead of the married housewives who appealed to advertisers. The Village Voice covered it quite often, which should give you some idea of its youth appeal.

    Katina was the product of an affair between Christine Cameron and Dr. Hugh Jessiup. Christine was a nice girl whose weakness was a proclivity for affairs with married men. A graphic artist, Chris first had an affair with Tony Monroe, a journalist for the Mnahattan magazine where they both woked. Tony was shipped off to Asia, so Chris turned her attention to Hugh, himself saddled with a snobbish manipulative wife named Alison. Hugh divorced Alison and started living with Chris in suburban Northcross, CT. After Katina was born, Chris became the target of a stalker who tormented her with vulgar phone calls in the middle of the night. The caller taunted Chris as a Jezebel and fallen woman of Babylon. Everyone thought the culprit was Alison, since she ran all over town referring to Chris as “that Hester Prynne of Northcross”.

    Alison’s sister Kate was Chris’ best friend, and steely Alison became enraged when Kate sided against her with Chris. However, it turned out that Will Watts, a deranged lab technician at Hugh’s hospital, was Chris’ stalker. Will’s own wife had jilted him years earlier and became pregnant by another man. Will murdered her, and now envisioned Chris as the image of his late wife. Will kidnaped Christine and held her prisoner at a deserted cabin. Hugh later saved her.

    While Christine was hospitalized with physical and mental collapse, Alison stopped by often, and soon she and Hugh were having an affair behind Chris’ back. Alison even enjoyed taking care of little Katina, spoiling her with gifts, fussing over her, and dancing her around the room to Patsy Cline records. When Chris discovered her boyfriend cheating with his wife, she vowed to keep Hugh away from Katina and instigated a custody battle with the help of ace attorney John Rainey. Alison tricked Hugh into remarriage by suggesting that as a married couple, they would be a cinch to win the custody case over Chris, a single mother. Meanwhile, Chris fell in love with John, and they too became lovers.

    Chris started seeing Dr. Adrienne Harris, a psychiatrist, to help her deal with all the drama in her life. Unknown to Chris, Adrienne was actually married to John Rainey! The couple were separated, but Adrienne desperately wanted him back. She subtly manipulated Chris’ therapy sessions to make Chris even more emotionally unbalanced. During the custody trial, Chris experienced a nervous breakdown on the witness stand and ended up losing custody of Katina to Hugh and Alison. Chris was then confined to a mental hospital.

    When the show was suddenly canceled in February 1973 with only a few weeks to wrap up the plots, Adrienne’s schemes were quickly exposed, freeing Chris to marry John, and Hugh and Alison offered to share custody of Katina with Christine.

  7. My daughter was born in 1972 and I named her Katina after the baby on WTHI soap opera. It was a unique name and she still uses the full Katin, no nickname. I know of 2 other girls that are likewise named Katina and thier Mothers saw the same soap opea.

  8. I named my daughter CaTina (now deceased)after the soap opera because I thought I was having a boy and I didn’t have a girl name. The soap opera was going off the air that week (Mar 1973)and CoTina was crying at the same time the nurse was bring my baby in the room. All this time thought they called her Catina not Cotina.

  9. I was born in 1973, and my mom definitely named me Katina after the WTHI soap opera. All of the other Katinas I’ve ever met have been born between 1971 and 1975.

  10. My name is Katina and I was born in 1972 as well! I was always told by my mom I was named after a soap opera character. It was so nice to stumble upon this site and read other people’s stories! My neice, who is in her early 20’s had a roommate in college named Katina so it’s not just for the 70’s kids ;0)

  11. Yep I too am named Katina, after the character on the soap opera.
    Born in February, 1973

  12. I am one of those babies that was named after the baby Katina from the soap opera Where the Heart is.
    I was born in ’73. And just a coincidence, I am illegitimate. (Lol).
    My mother knew she got it from a soap opera, but couldn’t remember the name.
    I just did a Google search.

  13. I’m also a Katina named after the baby on WTHL. I was born 7/73. And on a side note, I’m also illegitimate.

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