The Arrival of Allyson

allyson, baby name, movies, 1940s
June Allyson

The names Alison and Allison had been in the U.S. baby name data for decades by the time the names Alyson and Allyson popped up, one after the other, in the mid-1940s:

YearAllyson usageAlyson usage
194862 baby girls24 baby girls
194753 baby girls25 baby girls
194632 baby girls24 baby girls
194518 baby girls [debut]7 baby girls
1944.5 baby girls [debut]

The double-L version was particularly popular. Why?

Because of June Allyson, the actress who “came to personify the perfect screen wife” in the ’40s and ’50s.

Her birth name was Eleanor “Ella” Geisman. She chose her stage name in the late ’30s, when her career was just beginning. June was for the month of June, and Allyson was “derived from the pet form of her first name.”

Fame finally came in the mid-1940s, when she landed her first starring role in a movie: Two Girls and a Sailor. She went on to star in many movies. For a time, she even had her own TV show (from 1959 to 1961).

In the 1980s, Allyson described her unique appeal:

I have big teeth. I lisp. My eyes disappear when I smile. My voice is funny. I don’t sing like Judy Garland. I don’t dance like Cyd Charisse. But women identify with me. And while men desire Cyd Charisse, they’d take me home to meet Mom.

Do you like the name Allyson? (Do you like that specific spelling?)


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