The curious name Clu first surfaced in the U.S. baby name data in 1962:
- 1964: unlisted
- 1963: unlisted
- 1962: 5 baby boys named Clu [debut]
- 1961: unlisted
- 1960: unlisted
After that it never came back, making it a one-hit wonder.
Where did it come from?
William Martin “Clu” Gulager, an actor who appeared primarily on television during the early ’60s. Most notably, he co-starred in the NBC series The Tall Man (1960-1962) as a very fictionalized version of Billy the Kid. He could also be seen on shows like Wagon Train and The Virginian around that time.
Clu Gulager was born in Oklahoma in 1928, and was a member of the Cherokee Nation. “Clu” wasn’t a stage name — it was an inherited childhood nickname. He was named directly after his father’s older brother, William Martin “Clu Clu” Gulager, who served in the Oklahoma State Senate from 1922 to 1930.
The nickname “Clu Clu” came from the Cherokee word clu-clu or tlu-tlu, which referred to the purple martin (a type of bird).
What do you think of the baby name Clu?
- Conley, Robert J. A Cherokee Encyclopedia. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007.
- Gulager, William Martin (1928- ) – Oklahoma Historical Society
P.S. One of Clu’s distanct relatives was fellow entertainer Will Rogers.