The Arrival of Laryssa

laryssa, tv, the doctors, karen werner, baby name
Laryssa Lauret as Dr. Karen Werner

The name Laryssa debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1968, when it was suddenly given to nearly 70 baby girls:

  • 1971: 12 baby girls named Laryssa
  • 1970: 7 baby girls named Laryssa
  • 1969: 22 baby girls named Laryssa
  • 1968: 67 baby girls named Laryssa [debut]
  • 1967: unlisted
  • 1966: unlisted

It was the name that debuted most impressively that year, and it went on to rank as one of the biggest girl-name debuts of all time.

The less-common variant Lyrissa debuted the same year, and the more-common variants Larissa and Larisa both saw higher around the same time. (Larissa jumped into the top 1,000 for the first time in 1967, in fact.)

What’s the reason?

An actress featured on the popular TV soap opera The Doctors (1963-1982). Laryssa Lauret played character Dr. Karen Werner, who was introduced in 1967 and had a heavy German accent. One writer later described the character as “the resident Teutonic trouble-maker.”

Laryssa Lauret, an American actress of Ukrainian descent, was born Larysa Kukrycka in Warsaw in 1939. She was raised in Austria for a time, then finished her schooling in New York. She shares her name with a martyr, a nymph and various ancient Greek cities. According to this Greek-English Lexicon, the meaning of the name is “citadel.”

The Doctors also influenced the usage of at least two other baby names:

  • Carolee saw a jump in usage in 1968, the year after actress Carolee Campbell originated the role of like-named character Carolee Simpson, R.N.
  • Sindee re-entered the data in 1963, the year actress Sindee Ann Richards appeared on the show for 5 sequential episodes as “Jennie.”

But getting back to Laryssa…do you like the name? How do you prefer to spell it?

Source: “Ukrainian Actress to Appear in TV Show.” Ukrainian Weekly 15 Jan. 1978: 4.

P.S. Sindee was put on the onomastic map in the 1950s by a baby-related news story.

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