Like the name Tirrell, the curious name Gamble appears regularly these days in the boys’ data, but it first popped up as a girl name — just once — in 1961:
1961: 5 baby girls named Gamble [debut]
Where did it come from?
Another runaway heiress! This one was New York debutante/heiress Gamble Benedict, the granddaughter of Henry Harper Benedict (1844-1935), co-owner of the Remington Typewriter Company.
During the last days of 1959, 18-year-old Gamble ran away from home to be with her 35-year-old Romanian-born boyfriend, Andrei Porumbeanu (who already had a wife, Helma, and daughter, Gigi).
Gamble and Andrei first fled to Paris, where they stayed for most of January. (Gamble turned 19 mid-month.) At the end of the month, Gamble was apprehended by Paris police and “flown home to her stern dowager grandmother.”
The pair ran off again in April, after Andrei had obtained a Mexican divorce. This time they went south. They married in North Carolina on the 6th, then took a plane to Florida for a honeymoon.
The story was in the news for months on end during the first half of the year. (Several years later, in 1964, Time magazine summed it up as an “endlessly publicized…runaway marriage.”)
So what became of the couple? They ended up having two sons (George and Gregory) and spent most of their time in Switzerland…before Gamble initiated divorce proceedings in mid-1963.
Though I never found an explanation for Gamble’s unique first name, my guess is that it’s a surname that can be found somewhere in her family tree.
What are your thoughts on the name “Gamble” for a baby (male or female)? Would you use it?
The unlikely baby name Bronco first popped up in the SSA data in 1960:
1960: 5 baby boys named Bronco [debut]
Around the same time, the streamlined name Ty became markedly more popular:
1963: 372 baby boys named Ty [rank: 417th]
1962: 357 baby boys named Ty [rank: 423rd]
1961: 323 baby boys named Ty [rank: 452nd]
1960: 254 baby boys named Ty [rank: 495th]
1959: 188 baby boys named Ty [rank: 571st]
1958: 82 baby boys named Ty [rank: 831st]
1957: 64 baby boys named Ty [rank: 952nd]
Both names were influenced by the same thing: TV western Bronco (1958-1962), which starred actor Ty Hardin as former Confederate officer Bronco Layne.
(The names Layne and Lane also saw upticks in usage in 1959 specifically.)
Ty Hardin was initially hired to play Bronco Layne on the series Cheyenne while there was a contract dispute going on between Warner Brothers and Cheyenne star Clint Walker. After the dispute ended and Clint returned to Cheyenne, the company decided to create a spin-off series featuring Hardin’s character.
So why was the character called “Bronco”? Here’s what the show’s theme song said: “There ain’t a horse that he can’t handle, that’s how he got his name.”
And how did Ty Hardin get his name? It wasn’t from his parents; his birth name was Orison Whipple Hungerford. Here’s one explanation:
He took the name Ty Hardin — according to some news accounts, Ty was short for a childhood nickname, Typhoon, and Hardin was a reference to the western outlaw John Wesley Hardin — after signing with Warner Bros.
Another explanation is simply that his agent was Henry Willson, who had a knack for coining catchy stage names (e.g., Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter).