The Baby Name Kaleena

Kaleena in Love, Sidney
Love, Sidney characters Laurie, Sidney, and Patti
In October of 1981, NBC began airing a sitcom called Love, Sidney. It was the first show on American TV with a gay lead character (although Sidney’s homosexuality was largely downplayed).

Actors Tony Randall, Swoosie Kurtz and 8-year-old Kaleena Kiff played the three main characters Sidney, Laurie and Patti. Despite the ground-breaking nature of Randall’s character, it was Kiff who made the biggest impression on TV viewers (if you go by the baby name charts, at least).

The baby name Kaleena went from being given to fewer than 5 baby girls in 1980 to being given to dozens, then hundreds, of baby girls over the next few years:

  • 1986: 79 baby girls named Kaleena
  • 1985: 82 baby girls named Kaleena
  • 1984: 101 baby girls named Kaleena
  • 1983: 341 baby girls named Kaleena
  • 1982: 270 baby girls named Kaleena
  • 1981: 41 baby girls named Kaleena [debut]
  • 1980: unlisted (fewer than 5 baby girls)

The name Kalina also got a boost in the early ’80s.

Kaleena was fifth-highest debut of 1981, after Fallon, Toccara, Nastassia and Falon. Sixth through tenth were Yalitza, Natassia, Yuliana, Shiona, and a 5-way tie between Dynasty, Jadyn, Laiza, Shambrica and Tijwana.

What are your thoughts on the name Kaleena?

P.S. A name-related tweet from Kaleena Kiff herself: “Everyone on our set is called Fergus, Angus, or Fraser. I must be shooting in Glasgow. #LegendofBarney” That hashtag refers to the upcoming movie The Legend of Barney Thomson, which is set in Scotland and features a character by the name of Cemolina (played by Emma Thompson).


One thought on “The Baby Name Kaleena

  1. I know this is a very traditional name in Bulgaria, Russia, and other Slavic countries. I like the nicknames of both Kallie and Lena, but the Kalina I know goes only by Kalina or Kalinka (the diminutive version).

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