Independent baby name blog & directory, est. 2006.
How popular is the baby name Gwili in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, see baby names similar to Gwili and check out all the blog posts that mention the name Gwili.
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The baby name Donivee made the SSA’s baby name list just once, in 1942:
1942: 5 baby girls named Donivee [debut]
Where did this one-hit wonder baby name come from?
It was inspired by Donivee Purkey, an actress who gave Hollywood a shot in the early 1940s.
From mid-to-late 1941, 19-year-old Donivee Purkey of Texas was touted as a talented newcomer to motion pictures. The image of “Pretty Purkey” at right was published in August; Hedda Hopper wrote about her in September; Ann Marsters told readers to “watch for a pretty girl named Donivee Purkey” in October.
By the end of the year, Donivee Purkey’s name had changed twice: first to Lora Lee, then to Donivee Lee.
Despite all the hype and name-changing, though, Donivee Lee’s film career fizzled. Her first movie was supposed to be Cecil B. DeMille’s Reap the Wild Wind, but it’s not listed on her IMDb page. Out of the four movies listed, The Great Moment (1944) is the only one in which she played a credited role.
According to one source, Donivee ended up marrying a Hollywood executive. I’m guessing she stopped pursuing a film career at that point.
Here’s an unusual name I recently discovered on the SSA’s baby name list:
1933: 9 baby girls named Gwili
1932: 10 baby girls named Gwili [debut]
Gwili was only listed for 2 years before disappearing again.
The influence? Danish actress Gwili Andre (1908-1959), born Gurli Andresen.
Hollywood was on the lookout for the next Greta Garbo, and many thought Gwili fit the bill. Newspaper articles introducing her to readers in the early ’30s noted that Gwili was pronounced jee-lee.
Unfortunately, Gwili Andre’s career never really took off. She appeared in a string of B movies until the early ’40s, then apparently stopped acting altogether. (One of her movies, Meet the Boyfriend, is available online if you want to check it out.)
P.S. Jinx, Sivi and Donivee are three more forgotten Hollywood actresses who left their mark on the U.S. baby name charts.