The Unusual Name Olympe

olympe bradna, radio and movie guide
Olympe Bradna, 1940

Actress Olympe Bradna started appearing in bit parts in Hollywood movies in the mid-1930s. When she moved up to lead roles a few years later, the marketing campaign around Olympe emphasized her birth story and name. Here’s what Photoplay said in 1938, for instance:

Well then, on August 12th, 1921, not more than eight blocks from where the widely bally-hooed Eiffel Tower in Paris thrusts its snoot to the sky, the vaudeville couple known as Jean and Joseph Bradna clapped hands for a chubby little newcomer — and worried about their act, then running at the Olympic Theater. It was a routine with trained dogs and the young mother fretted about what the puppies might think of her desertion of them. Papa Joe went on himself that night and the act must have gone along smoothly for it wasn’t cancelled.

The little girl was christened Antoinette but because she was born while the act was at the Olympic, Papa and Mama Bradna added the name of Olympia in honor of the theater and a few months later euphonized it to Olympe, pronounced O-Lamp — and it has been that ever since.

Olympe Bradna retired from acting after getting married in 1941.

Source: Sobol, Louis. “Here is Bradna.” Photoplay Aug. 1938: 14.

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