How popular is the baby name Gene in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Gene.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Gene


Posts that Mention the Name Gene

The Revitalization of Laura

Laura movie poster, 1940s

In the early 1880s, Laura was a top-20 name in the United States. From the mid-1880s onward, though, the name slowly sank in popularity. It even slipped out of the top 100 for a decade. But then, in 1945, Laura suddenly changed directions and started rising:

  • 1947: 5,051 baby girls named Laura [rank: 74th]
  • 1946: 4,478 baby girls named Laura [rank: 75th]
  • 1945: 3,589 baby girls named Laura [rank: 77th]
  • 1944: 2,243 baby girls named Laura [rank: 119th]
  • 1943: 2,391 baby girls named Laura [rank: 117th]
  • 1942: 2,409 baby girls named Laura [rank: 115th]

What happened in the mid-1940s to change the fate of Laura?

The one-two punch of the 1944 film noir Laura and — probably more importantly — the 1945 hit song “Laura,” which was created from the film’s theme song.

The movie starred Gene Tierney as the title character, Laura Hunt, who was believed to have been murdered for most of the film. The police detective looking into the murder, Mark McPherson (played by Dana Andrews), slowly became obsessed with Laura over the course of the investigation.

The film’s theme song, composed by David Raksin, lent “a haunted, nostalgic, regretful cast to everything it play[ed] under,” according to Roger Ebert. Here’s what it sounds like:

After the film was released, lyricist Johnny Mercer was asked to add words to the tune. His lyrics described Laura “through a series of elusive attributes: a face in the misty light, footsteps down the hall, a floating laugh, and as a woman on a passing train.”

Once there were words, various singers began recording and releasing their own versions of “Laura.” Five of these renditions reached top-10 status on the pop charts during 1945; the one sung by Woodrow “Woody” Herman (below) ended up selling more than a million copies.

The song has since become a jazz standard.

Fifteen years later, in the summer of 1960, the teenage tragedy song “Tell Laura I Love Her” by Ray Peterson reached #7 on Billboard‘s Hot 100. This second Laura-song gave the name an extra boost from 1959 to 1960.

And did you notice that intriguing dip in usage from 1965 to 1967? There’s a reason for that, too, but I’ll save the explanation for tomorrow’s post

Sources: Laura (1944) – TCM.com, Laura (1945) – Jazz Standards, Laura (1945 song) – Wikipedia, Laura movie review – Roger Ebert, Tell Laura I Love Her – Songfacts.com

Name Quotes 84: Al, Gene, Sonatine

Welcome to the monthly quote post! There are a lot of celebrities in this one, so let’s start with…

Actor Emilio Estevez — who pronounces his surname ESS-teh-vez, instead of the Spanish way, ess-TEH-vezdiscussing his name [vid] on Talk Soup with Nessa in 2019:

So I was born on 203rd Street in South Bronx. And, at the time, my father had this very Hispanic-sounding last name. […] A lot people, a lot of these agents, and folks said, if you wanna work in this business, you gotta have a more Anglo-sounding name. Of course times have changed, but there was that moment where he was finally on Broadway — 1965, ’66 — and his father came from Dayton (he was from Spain, of course) and looked up on the marquee, and saw the three names that were starring in the play, and one of them was “Martin Sheen” and not his real name, Ramón Estévez. And my grandfather just looked up, and he just shook his head, and he was so disappointed. And my father saw that. And so when I began to get into this business, we had that conversation. And he said, don’t make the same mistake I did.

…A few sentences later, Estevez added:

I can’t tell you how many people have stopped me on the street and said, you know, just seeing your name on a poster, just seeing your name on screen, meant so much to me, you have no idea.

(Martin Sheen’s stage name was created from the names of CBS casting director Robert Dale Martin and televangelist archbishop Fulton J. Sheen.)

Singer Billy Idol, born William Broad, discussing his stage name [vid] with Karyn Hay on the New Zealand TV show Radio with Pictures in 1984:

Q: Why did you choose the name Billy Idol, especially in a time when [there’s] Johnny Rotten, Ret Scabies, you know?

A: Exactly, I mean that’s the point. That’s exactly the point. […] I thought, first of all, of course, of I-D-L-E, you know, idle. Cause this chemistry teacher when I was at school — I got 8 out of 100 for chemistry, I hated chemistry — so he wrote, “William is idle,” right? And I thought that was great to get 8 out of 10 [sic] for chemistry, cause I hated the hell out of it. So I thought that was respectable, so I thought it was worthwhile being called I-D-O-L, idol. Also, it’s good fun making fun of show business. I’m not into show business, I’m into rock ‘n’ roll.

Composer Bear McCreary’s baby name announcement from mid-2014:

Raya and I are proud to announce our greatest collaboration is finally here. 

Sonatine Yarbrough McCreary was born 6/2/14 and is filling our lives with joy, music… and poop.

(The musical term sonatina means “small sonata” in Italian. A sonata refers to a piece that is played — as opposed to a cantata, a piece that is sung.)

From an article about Amy Schumer legally changing her son’s name:

The I Feel Pretty star revealed her decision to change her 11-month-old son’s name on the newest episode of her podcast 3 Girls, 1 Keith on Tuesday. Schumer and her husband Chris Fischer named their first child Gene Attell Fischer, born May 5, with his middle name serving as a tribute to their good friend comic Dave Attell.

“Do you guys know that Gene, our baby’s name, is officially changed? It’s now Gene David Fischer. It was Gene Attell Fischer, but we realized that we, by accident, named our son ‘genital,'” Schumer told cohosts Rachel Feinstein, Bridget Everett, and Keith Robinson.

…More to the point, from Amy’s Instagram:

Oh, like you never named your kid Genital fissure!!!!!!!

Three quotes from a fantastic article in the NYT about Weird Al Yankovic (discovered via Nancy Friedman).

…On his Alfred-ness:

Although Alfred’s grades were perfect, and he could solve any math problem you threw at him, his social life was agonizing. Imagine every nerd cliche: He was scrawny, pale, unathletic, nearsighted, awkward with girls — and his name was Alfred. And that’s all before you even factor in the accordion.

…On how his surname turned him into an accordion player:

[The accordion] came from a door-to-door salesman. The man was offering the gift of music, and he gave the Yankovics a simple choice: accordion or guitar. This was 1966, the golden age of rock, the year of the Beatles’ “Revolver” and the Beach Boys’ “Pet Sounds” and Bob Dylan’s “Blonde on Blonde.” A guitar was like a magic amulet spraying sexual psychedelic magic all over the world. So Yankovic’s mother chose the accordion. This was at least partly because of coincidence: Frankie Yankovic, a world-famous polka player, happened to share the family’s last name. No relation. Just a wonderful coincidence that would help to define Alfred’s entire life.

…On his Alfred-ness again:

The nickname “Weird Al” started as an insult. It happened during his first year of college. This was a fresh start for Alfred — a chance to reinvent himself for a whole new set of people. He had no reputation to live down, no epic humiliations. And so he decided to implement a rebrand: He introduced himself to everyone not as Alfred but as “Al.” Alfred sounded like the kind of kid who might invent his own math problems for fun. Al sounded like the opposite of that: a guy who would hang out with the dudes, eating pizza, casually noodling on an electric guitar, tossing off jokes so unexpectedly hilarious they would send streams of light beer rocketing out of everyone’s noses.

The problem was that, even at college, even under the alias of Al, Yankovic was still himself. He was still, fundamentally, an Alfred.

Comedian Kevin Hart on choosing baby names:

I wish I could say that I am the main guru, [but] I am awful when it comes to the names. That is not my expertise. […] I say the same thing every time. It’s either Kevin or Kevina. I got two names. That’s it. So if you never go with either one of those then I’m no good to you.

For more name-related quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: A (part 2)

auriol

Looking for an uncommon A-name for your baby girl? Here’s half of the final installment of names from the early cinema series. The other half of the A-list will go up in a few weeks.

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Amabel
Amabel was a character played by actress Andree Tourneur in the film The Gilded Highway (1926).

  • Usage of the baby name Amabel.

Amanata
Amanata was a character played by actress Josephine West in the short film The Curse of the Great Southwest (1913).

Amarilly
Amarilly Jenkins was a character played by actress Mary Pickford in the film Amarilly of Clothes-Line Alley (1918).

Ambrosia
Ambrosia was a character played by actress Ella Hall in the films The Love Girl (1916) and The Charmer (1917).

Ameia
Ameia was a character played by actress Viola Dana in the film God’s Law and Man’s (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Ameia.

Amenset
Amenset was a character played by actress Edith Storey in the film The Dust of Egypt (1915).

Amo
Amo Ingraham was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1940s. She was born in New York in 1909.

  • Usage of the baby name Amo.

Amphirosa
Amphirosa was a character played by actress Helen Lindroth in the film The Swan (1925).

Amrah
Amrah was a character played by actress Dale Fuller in the film Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Amrah.

Amzie
Amzie Strickland was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to 2000s. She was born in 1919 in Oklahoma.

  • Usage of the baby name Amzie.

Anaioe
Anaioe was a character played by actress Mary Fuller in the short film A Daughter of the Nile (1915).

Anastasie
Anastasie Goriot was a character played by actress Jocelyn Lee in the film Paris at Midnight (1926).

Anbella
Anbella was a character played by actress Maria Montez in the film The Exile (1947).

Ancaria
Ancaria was a character played by actress Joyzelle Joyner in the film The Sign of the Cross (1932).

Andra
Andra West was a character played by actress Heather Angel in the film Cry ‘Havoc’ (1943).

  • Usage of the baby name Andra.

Andree
Andree was a character name in multiple films, including The Eternal Struggle (1923) and Human Desires (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Andree.

Anemone
Anemone Breckenridge was a character played by actress Mary Pickford in the film The Eagle’s Mate (1914).

Aneth
Aneth Consinor was a character played by actress Vivian Reed in the film The Last Egyptian (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Aneth.

Angella
Angella was a character played by actress Marian Swayne in the short film The Heavenly Widow (1913).

Angharad
Angharad was a character played by actress Maureen O’Hara in the film How Green Was My Valley (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Angharad (which debuted in the data in 1943).

Angine
Angine Sprunt was a character played by actress Charlotte Merriam in the film The Nth Commandment (1923).

Angy
Angy was a character name in multiple films, including The Famous Mrs. Fair (1923) and Here Comes the Groom (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Angy.

Anice
Anice was a character name in multiple films, including The Wrong Man (1917) and The Railroader (1919).

  • Usage of the baby name Anice.

Anielka
Anielka Elter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in 1901.

Anitah
Anitah was a character played by actress Zena Keefe in the film Out of the Snows (1920).

Anitia
Anitia was a character played by actress Annette Kellerman in the film A Daughter of the Gods (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Anitia.

Anitra
Anitra was a character name in multiple films, including Runaway, Romany (1917) and The Amazing Woman (1920).

  • Usage of the baby name Anitra.

Aniuta
Aniuta was a character played by actress Bernice Claire in the film Song of the Flame (1930).

Annana
Annana was a character played by actress Movita in the film Captain Calamity (1936).

Annetta
Annetta von Tollen was a character played by actress Beverly Bayne in the short film The Ambition of the Baron (1915).

Anni
Anni Pavlovitch was a character played by actress Joan Crawford in the film The Bride Wore Red (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Anni.

Annice
Annice Van Dorn was a character played by actress Grace Darmond in the film Where the Worst Begins (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Annice.

Annis
Annis Grand was a character played by actress Kathleen Kirkham in the film The Foolish Matrons (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Annis.

Annushka
Annushka was a character played by actress Amy Veness in the film Black Roses (1936).

Anola
Anola was a character played by actress Caroline Frances Cooke in the short film Metamorphosis (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Anola.

Anthea
Anthea Dane was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film The Price of Things (1930).

  • Usage of the baby name Anthea.

Antinea
Antinea was a character name in multiple films, including Missing Husbands (1921) and Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Antiope
Antiope was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film The Warrior’s Husband (1933).

Antonita
Antonita was a character played by actress Merle Oberon in the film The Private Life of Don Juan (1934).

Anyana
Anyana was a character played by actress Movita in the film El Capitan Tormenta (1936).

Apricottia
Apricottia was a character played by actress Ethel Teare in the short film The Knaves and the Knight (1915).

Arabel
Arabel Barrett was a character played by actress Katharine Alexander in the film The Barretts of Wimpole Street (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Arabel.

Arai
Arai was a character played by actress Movita in the film The Hurricane (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Arai.

Araminta
Araminta was a character name in multiple films, including David Garrick (1912) and Love Birds (1934).

Arathea
Arathea Manning was a character played by actress Mae Murray in the film Big Little Person (1919).

Arbutus
Arbutus Quilty was a character played by actress Louise Fazenda in the film Listen Lester (1924).

Ardis
Ardis Delafield was a character played by Nora Lane in the film Careless Lady (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Ardis.

Ardita
Ardita was a character name in multiple films, including The Off-Shore Pirate (1921) and The Siren of Seville (1924).

  • Usage of the baby name Ardita.

Argyl
Argyl Crawford was a character played by actress Ann Little in the film Under Handicap (1917).

  • Usage of the baby name Argyl.

Aritana
Aritana was a character played by actress Adele Mara in the film Call of the South Seas (1944).

Arla
Arla Dean was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Moon Over Burma (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Arla.

Arleta
Arleta Vance was a character played by actress Marie Prevost in the film Call of the Rockies (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Arleta.

Arline
Arline Pretty was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1950s. She was born in Washington, D.C., in 1885. Arline was also a character name in multiple films, including Only Thing (1925) and Back in Circulation (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Arline.

Arly
Arleta “Arly” Harolday was a character played by actress Ella Raines in the film Tall in the Saddle (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Arly.

Armida
Armida Vendrell, often credited simply as Armida, was an actress who appeared in films films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in Mexico in 1911.

  • Usage of the baby name Armida.

Arna
Arna was a character played by actress Rose Tapley in the short film War (1911).

  • Usage of the baby name Arna.

Arnice
Arnice was a character played by actress Ella Hall in the film Secret Love (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Arnice.

Arrah
Arrah Meelish was a character played by actress Gene Gauntier in the film Arrah-Na-Pogue (1911).

  • Usage of the baby name Arrah.

Arria

Arria was a character played by actress Helen Wright in the film Damon and Pythias (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Arria.

Arrita
Arrita was a character played by actress Reina Valdez in the short film Italian Love (1914).

Arte
Arte O’Neill was a character played by actress Helen Lindroth in the short film The Shaughraun (1912).

Artemisia
Artemisia Stebbins was a character played by actress Mabel Stoughton in the short film Balked at the Alter (1908).

Arvia
Arvia was a character played by actress Carmel Myers in the film The Dancer of the Nile (1923).

  • Usage of the baby name Arvia.

Arvilla
Arvilla Howe was a character played by actress Ruth Roland in the short film The Egyptian Mummy (1913).

Ashubetis
Ashubetis was a character played by actress Valda Valkyrien in the film The Image Maker (1917).

Aspasia
Aspasia Conti was a character played by actress Agnes Moorehead in the film Mrs. Parkington (1944).

Assina
Assina was a character played by actress Mrs. George O. Nichols in the short film Women of the Desert (1913).

Asta
Asta Nielsen was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Denmark in 1881. Asta was also a character played by actress Esther Ralston in the film Rome Express (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Asta.

Ata
Ata was a character played by actress Elena Verdugo in the film The Moon and Sixpence (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Ata.

Atala
Atala was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film Atala (1912).

Athene
Athene Seyler was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1960s. She was born in England in 1889.

  • Usage of the baby name Athene.

Athole
Athole Shearer was an actress who appeared in films in the 1920s. She was born in Canada in 1900.

Atoline
Atoline France was a character played by actress Carol Dempster in the film The Girl Who Stayed Home (1919).

Attarea
Attarea was a character played by actress Seena Owen in the film The Fall of Babylon (1919).

Attosa
Attosa was a character played by actress Gale Sondergaard in the film Night in Paradise (1946).

Auber
Auber was a character played by actress Lana Turner in the film The Great Garrick (1937).

Audelle
Audelle Higgins was an actress who appeared in films in the 1910s.

Augusta
Augusta was a character played by actress Emily Fitzroy in the film Timbuctoo (1933).

Augustina
Augustina was a character played by actress Mary Alden in the film The Beloved Brute (1924).

Aurelie
Aurelie Lindstrom was a character played by actress Bessie Love in the film The Midlanders (1920).

Auriol
Auriol Lee was an actress who appeared in films from the 1930s to the 1940s. She was born in England in 1880. Auriol was also a character played by actress Anna Q. Nilsson in the film The Side Show of Life (1924).

Auriole
Auriole Praed was a character played by actress Marjorie Rambeau in the film The Greater Woman (1917).

Aurore
Princess Aurore was a character played by actress Elissa Landi in the film Crimson Dynasty (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Aurore.

Australia
Australia was a character name in multiple films, including Lovey Mary (1926) and Children of Chance (1949).

Australy
Australy was a character played by actress May McAvoy in the film Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1919).

Averil
Averil Rochester was a character played by actress Benita Hume in the film A South Sea Bubble (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Averil.

Avesa
Avesa Pomeroy was a character played by actress Elisabeth Risdon in the film The Mother of Dartmoor (1917).

Avice
Avice Bereton was a character played by actress Enid Markey in the film The Phantom (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Avice.

Avis
Avis was a character name in multiple films, including The Roughneck (short, 1915) and Beyond (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Avis.

Avonia
Avonia was a character played by actress Gwen Lee in the film The Actress (1928).

Avonne
Avonne Taylor was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Ohio in 1899.

  • Usage of the baby name Avonne.

Awaneta
Awaneta was a character played by actress Teddy Sampson in the short film The Boundary Line (1915).

Awretha
Awretha Pickering was an actress who appeared in 1 film in 1919.

Axelle
Axelle von Meirbach was a character played by actress Leila Hyams in the film Surrender (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Axelle.

Azaline
Azaline was a character played by actress Emily Barrye in the film Volcano! (1926).

Azamora
Azamora was a character played by actress Lila Leslie in the short film A Clean Slate (1915).

Azella
Azella was a character played by actress Gloria Jetter in the film Dixie Jamboree (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Azella.

Azuri
Azuri was a character played by actress Myrna Loy in the film The Desert Song (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Azuri.

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…Which of the above names do you like best?

Source: IMDb

The Baby Name Belita

The baby name Belita debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1943.

The baby name Belita first appeared in the SSA’s dataset in 1943:

  • 1947: 18 baby girls named Belita
  • 1946: 19 baby girls named Belita
  • 1945: 20 baby girls named Belita
  • 1944: 18 baby girls named Belita
  • 1943: 7 baby girls named Belita [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Figure skater-turned-film star Belita, a contemporary of Sonja Henie. Belita was being featured in a film called Silver Skates in 1943.

She was born Maria Belita Gladys Olive Lyne Jepson-Turner in England in 1923. She competed (as Belita Jepson-Turner) at the Winter Olympics in Berlin in 1936, placing 16th in ladies’ singles.

While stranded in the U.S. during World War II, she embarked upon a Hollywood career. Some of her other films include Lady, Let’s Dance! (1944), Suspense (1946), and Never Let Me Go (1953), which starred Clark Gable and Gene Tierney.

And her unusual name? It was inspired by an Argentine estancia (ranch). Her great-grandfather had relocated to Argentina in the 1800s and established five sizeable estancias, mainly for raising cattle. He also built railroads to his properties. One of the estancias (and the associated railroad station) was named La Belita after his wife, Isabelita. “Since then there has always been a Belita in the family,” Belita said.

Belita retired from both skating and show business during the second half of the 1950s.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Belita?

Sources: