The name Illya double-debuted in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1960s:
|Year||Boys Named Illya||Girls Named Illya|
|1967||55 [rank 980th]||10|
|1966||78 [rank 828th]||11|
|1965||35 [debut]||5 [debut]|
So where did it come from?
The influence wasn’t the movie that gave yesterday’s name Ilya a boost, but the Cold War-era spy show The Man from U.N.C.L.E., which premiered on TV in 1964 and ran until 1968. (U.N.C.L.E. was an acronym for “United Network Command for Law and Enforcement.”)
The main characters were CIA agent Napoleon Solo (played by Robert Vaughn) and KGB agent Illya Nickovetch Kuryakin (played by David McCallum). Illya, a Slavic form of Elijah, was spelled out in the opening credits.
The name Napoleon may have also gotten a slight boost from the show, though it’s hard to tell.
Do you like the name Illya?