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

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Popularity of the Baby Name Rita

Number of Babies Named Rita

Born in the U.S. Since 1880

Posts that Mention the Name Rita

Rare Girl Names from Early Cinema: T (part 1)

theda bara, 1915, actress, cinemaHere’s the next installment of rare female names collected from very old films (1910s, 1920s, 1930s, and 1940s).

There were a lot of T-names, so I split the list into two posts. The second half will be up in a few weeks.

Taffy
Taffy was a character name in multiple films, including Penthouse Rhythm (1945) and Springtime in the Sierras (1947).

  • Usage of the baby name Taffy.

Tahama
Tahama was a character played by actress Madame Sul-Te-Wan in the film King of the Zombies (1941).

Tahia
Tahia was a character name in multiple films, including White Savage (1943) and Call of the South Seas (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Tahia.

Tahona
Tahona was a character played by actress Margaret Loomis in the film The Hidden Pearls (1918).

Taisie
Taisie Lockhart was a character played by actress Fay Wray in the film The Conquering Horde (1931).

Takla
Takla was a character played by actress Gilda Gray in the film The Devil Dancer (1927).

Talapa
Talapa was a character played by actress Margaret Loomis in the film Told in the Hills (1919).

Talithy
Talithy Millicuddy was a character played by actress Mary Philbin in the film The Blazing Trail (1921).

Talma
Madame Talma was a character played by actress Edna May Oliver in the film The Great Jasper (1933).

  • Usage of the baby name Talma.

Talu
Talu was a character played by actress Lenore Ulric in the film Frozen Justice (1929).

Taluta
Taluta was a character played by actress Ann Little in the short film The Outcast (1912).

Tama
Tama was a character played by actress Dorothy Lamour in the film Beyond the Blue Horizon (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tama.

Tamandra
Tamandra was a character played by actress Ormi Hawley in the short film Tamandra, the Gypsy (1913).

Tamarah
Tamarah was a character played by actress Fern Andra in the film Lotus Lady (1930).

Tamarind
Tamarind Brook was a character played by actress Gloria Swanson in the film What a Widow! (1930).

Tambourina
Tambourina was a character played by actress Carrie Clark Ward in the film The Paliser Case (1920).

Tamea
Tamea was a character name in multiple films, including Never the Twain Shall Meet (1925) and Never the Twain Shall Meet (1931).

  • Usage of the baby name Tamea.

Tana
Tana was a character name in multiple films, including The Devil Dancer (1927) and The Forest Rangers (1942).

  • Usage of the baby name Tana.

Tanaka
Tanaka was a character played by actress Laska Winter in the film Fashion Madness (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tanaka.

Tanis
Tanis was a character name in multiple films, including Babbitt (1924) and Babbitt (1934).

  • Usage of the baby name Tanis.

Tanit
Tanit Zerga was a character played by actress Milada Mladova in the film Siren of Atlantis (1949).

Tannie
Tannie Edison was a character played by actress Virginia Weidler in the film Young Tom Edison (1940).

  • Usage of the baby name Tannie.

Tansy
Tansy Firle was a character played by actress Alma Taylor in the film Tansy (1921).

  • Usage of the baby name Tansy.

Tanyusha
Tanyusha was a character played by actress Nancy Carroll in the film Scarlet Dawn (1932).

Tarusa
Tarusa was a character played by actress Esther Dale in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1941).

Tarzana
Tarzana was a character played by actress Raquel Torres in the film So This Is Africa (1933).

Tasia
Tasia was a character played by actress Dolores del Rio in the film The Red Dance (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tasia.

Tatiane
Tatiane Shebanoff was a character played by actress Jacqueline Gadsden in the film His Hour (1924).

Tatuka
Tatuka was a character played by actress Velma Whitman in the short film As the Twig Is Bent (1915).

Taula
Taula was a character played by actress Ernestine Gaines in the film Aloma of the South Seas (1926).

Taupou
Taupou was a character played by actress Margaret Livingston in the film The Brute Master (1920).

Taxi Belle
Taxi Belle Hooper was a character played by actress Rita La Roy in the film Blonde Venus (1932).

Tautinei
Tautinei was a character played by actress Grace Lord in the film The Lure of the South Seas (1929).

Teala
Teala Loring was an actress who appeared in films primarily in the 1940s. She was born in Colorado in 1922. Her birth name was Marcia Eloise Griffin.

  • Usage of the baby name Teala.

Teazie
Bessie “Teazie” Williams was a character played by actress Mae Marsh in the film The White Rose (1923).

Tecolote
Tecolote was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film The Captive God (1916).

Tecza
Tecza was a character played by actress Geraldine Farrar in the film The Woman God Forgot (1917).

Teddy
Teddy Sampson was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in New York in 1895. Teddy was also a character name in multiple films, including Vultures of Society (1916) and Having Wonderful Time (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Teddy.

Tee-hee-nay
Tee-Hee-Nay was a character played by actress Bessie Eyton in the short film The Legend of the Lost Arrow (1912).

Teena
Teena Johnson was a character played by actress Sally O’Neil in the film Hardboiled (1929).

  • Usage of the baby name Teena.

Teenie
Teenie McPherson was a character played by actress Renee Houston in the film Fine Feathers (1937).

  • Usage of the baby name Teenie.

Tehani
Tehani was a character played by actress Movita in the film Mutiny on the Bounty (1935).

  • Usage of the baby name Tehani.

Tehura
Tehura was a character played by actress Jacqueline Logan in the film Ebb Tide (1922).

Teita
Teita was a character played by actress Bessie Love in the film Soul-Fire (1925).

Tela
Tela Tchaï was an actress who appeared in films in the 1930s and 1940s. She was born in France in 1909.

  • Usage of the baby name Tela.

Teleia
Teleia Van Schreeven was a character played by actress Adele Mara in the film Wake of the Red Witch (1948).

Temata
Temata was a character played by actress Hilo Hattie in the film Tahiti Nights (1944).

Tempe
Tempe Pigott was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1950s. She was born in England in 1884.

  • Usage of the baby name Tempe.

Tempest
Tempest Cody was a character played by actress Marie Walcamp in a series of Tempest Cody short films in 1919.

Temple
Temple Drake was a character played by actress Miriam Hopkins in the film The Story of Temple Drake (1933). The film was based on the novel Sanctuary (1931) by William Faulkner.

  • Usage of the baby name Temple.

Tempy
Aunt Tempy was a character played by actress Hattie McDaniel in the film Song of the South (1946).

  • Usage of the baby name Tempy.

Teodora
Teodora was a character played by actress Alma Rubens in the film The World and His Wife (1920).

Teola
Teola was a character played by various actresses in the various film adaptations of Tess of the Storm Country.

  • Usage of the baby name Teola.

Teresina
Teresina was a character played by actress Nina Campana in the film Tortilla Flat (1942).

Terpsichore
Terpsichore was a character played by actress Rita Hayworth in the film Down to Earth (1947).

Tesha
Tesha was a character played by actress Maria Corda in the film A Woman in the Night (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Tesha.

Tessibel
Tessibel was a character played by various actresses in the various film adaptations of Tess of the Storm Country.

Tessie
Tessie was a character name in multiple films, including Tessie (1925) and Make Me a Star (1932).

  • Usage of the baby name Tessie.

Texas
Texas Guinan was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1930s. She was born in Texas in 1884. Texas was also a character played by actress Dot Farley in the film Lady Be Good (1928).

  • Usage of the baby name Texas.

Thais
Thais Merton was a character played by actress Adda Gleason in the film One Traveler Returns (1914).

  • Usage of the baby name Thais.

Thalie
Thalie was a character played by actress Dagmar Godowsky in the film The Trap (1922).

Thania
Princess Thania was a character played by actress Frances Drake in the film The Lone Wolf in Paris (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Thania.

Thanya
Thanya was a character played by actress Kitty Gordon in the film The Crucial Test (1916).

  • Usage of the baby name Thanya.

Tharon
Tharon Last was a character played by actress Dorothy Dalton in the film The Crimson Challenge (1922). The film was based on the novel Tharon of Lost Valley (1919) by Vingetta “Vingie” Roe.

  • Usage of the baby name Tharon.

Theda
Theda Bara was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in Ohio in 1885. Her birth name was Theodosia Burr Goodman.

  • Usage of the baby name Theda.

Thel
Thel Harris was a character played by actress Lottie Briscoe in the short film Honor Thy Father (1912).

  • Usage of the baby name Thel.

Thelda
Thelda Kenvin was an actress who appeared in one film in 1926. She was born (with the first name Ethelda) in Pennsylvania in 1899. Thelda was also a character played by actress Greta Granstedt in the film There Goes My Heart (1938).

  • Usage of the baby name Thelda.

Thelma
Thelma Todd was an actress who appeared in films from the 1920s to the 1930s. She was born in Massachusetts in 1906. Thelma Salter was an actress who appeared in films from the 1910s to the 1920s. She was born in California in 1908. Thelma was also a character name in multiple films, including A Modern Thelma (1916) and A Broadway Butterfly (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Thelma.

Themar
Themar was a character played by actress Barbara La Marr in the film Arabian Love (1922).

Theo
Theo Scofield West was a character played by actress Lana Turner in the film Marriage is a Private Affair (1944).

  • Usage of the baby name Theo.

Theodosia
Sister Theodosia was a character played by actress Sarah Padden in the film The Zero Hour (1939).

Thera
Thera Dufre was a character played by actress Gretchen Lederer in the short film Under a Shadow (1915).

  • Usage of the baby name Thera.

Thirza
Thirza Tapper was a character played by actress Viola Lyel in the film The Farmer’s Wife (1941).

  • Usage of the baby name Thirza.

Thomsine
Thomsine Musgrove was a character played by actress Dorothy Mackaill in the film The Fighting Blade (1923).

Thora
Thora was a character name in multiple films, including The Face of the World (1921) and The Winking Idol (1926).

  • Usage of the baby name Thora.

Thorhild
Thorhild was a character played by actress Julia Swayne Gordon in the film The Viking (1928).

Thurya
Thurya was a character played by actress Dorothy Janis in the film Fleetwing (1928).

Thymian
Thymian was a character played by actress Louise Brooks in the film Diary of a Lost Girl (1929).

Thyra
Thyra was a character played by actress Eleanor Boardman in the film The Only Thing (1925).

  • Usage of the baby name Thyra.

*

Which of the above names do you like best?

In the video I pronounced Teala as “tee-AH-lah,” but I now think Teala Loring actually pronounced her name “TEE-lah.” Of course I didn’t find this out until after the video was created. :)


Name Quotes #42 – Tucker, Tess, Shea

tucker, life, 1952

From the cover description of the June 2, 1952, issue of LIFE:

The birthday guest all done up for a party on this week’s cover is Second-Grader Tucker Burns, 7, of New York City.

(A female Tucker born in the mid-1940s? Interesting…)

From “10 facts about Tess of the d’Urbervilles” (pdf) at The Times:

Tess didn’t start out as Tess. Hardy often changed names when he was writing, and he tried out Love, Cis and Sue, using Woodrow as a surname, narrowing the name down to Rose-Mary Troublefield or Tess Woodrow before finally settling on Tess Durbeyfield.

From “Naming a Baby (or 2) When You’re Over 40” by Joslyn McIntyre at Nameberry.com:

But I’m now far too practical for whimsical names. I want to spare my kids the time wasted spelling their name slowly over the phone and correcting its pronunciation millions of times. So out the window went some of the iconoclastic names I loved, but which seemed difficult, along with two names I adored but couldn’t figure out how to spell in a way that would make their pronunciation obvious: CARE-iss and k’r-IN.

From “Why everyone started naming their kids Madison instead of Jennifer” by Meeri Kim in the Washington Post:

While some believed a central institution or figure had to be behind a skyrocketing trend — say, Kim Kardashian or Vogue magazine — researchers have discovered through a new Web-based experiment that doesn’t have to be the case. In fact, the study suggests that populations can come to a consensus about what’s cool and what’s not in a rapid, yet utterly spontaneous way.

From “Name change proves a mysterious and outdated process” by Molly Snyder at OnMilwaukee.com:

The process to change your name is surprisingly lengthy, pricey and arguably outdated. People fill out forms, pay a $168 filing fee (there is also a fee to obtain a new birth certificate once the name is legally granted), get assigned to a judge, schedule a hearing date with the court and take out a statement in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel or the Daily Reporter three weeks in a row declaring intent of name change.

News websites are not approved for legal name change declaration, but this does not mean they couldn’t be someday, according to Milwaukee County Clerk of Circuit Court John Barrett.

“The process is very old and it hasn’t been changed in a long time, but that’s not to say it couldn’t be,” says Barrett. “The Wisconsin legislature decides that. Someone would have to have an interest in that change and take the time to make the argument that we’re in a changing world and publications shouldn’t be limited to print.”

From “The latest trend in startup names? Regular old human names” (Dec. 2014) by Erin Griffith in Fortune:

If you work in startups, there’s a good chance you know Oscar. And Alfred. Benny, too. And don’t forget Lulu and Clara. These aren’t the prominent Silicon Valley people that techies know by first name (although those exist—think Marissa, Satya, Larry and Sergey, Zuck). Rather, Oscar, Alfred, Benny, Lulu and Clara are companies. The latest trend in startup names is regular old human names.

From “A teacher mispronouncing a student’s name can have a lasting impact” by Corey Mitchell at PBS.org:

For students, especially the children of immigrants or those who are English-language learners, a teacher who knows their name and can pronounce it correctly signals respect and marks a critical step in helping them adjust to school.

But for many ELLs, a mispronounced name is often the first of many slights they experience in classrooms; they’re already unlikely to see educators who are like them, teachers who speak their language, or a curriculum that reflects their culture.

“If they’re encountering teachers who are not taking the time to learn their name or don’t validate who they are, it starts to create this wall,” said Rita (‘ree-the’) Kohli, an assistant professor in the graduate school of education at the University of California, Riverside.

It can also hinder academic progress.

From the NPS biography of John Quincy Adams (1767-1848):

Born on July 11, 1767 in Braintree, Massachusetts, he was the son of two fervent revolutionary patriots, John and Abigail Adams, whose ancestors had lived in New England for five generations. Abigail gave birth to her son two days before her prominent grandfather, Colonel John Quincy, died so the boy was named John Quincy Adams in his honor.

(Quincy, Massachusetts, was also named after Colonel John Quincy.)

And finally, from “How Many Mets Fans Name Their Babies ‘Shea’?” by Andrew Beaton in the Wall Street Journal:

You’re not a real Mets fan unless you name your kid Shea.

For more quotes, check out the name quotes category.

Should We Name Hurricanes to Maximize Donations?

hurricaneIn 2008, psychologists Jesse Chandler, Tiffany M. Griffin, and Nicholas Sorensen published a study showing that people who shared an initial with a hurricane name were over-represented among hurricane relief donors. So, for instance, people with R-names donated significantly more than other people to Hurricane Rita relief efforts. (This is an offshoot of the name-letter effect.)

A few years later, marketing professor Adam Alter came up with an interesting idea: Why not use this knowledge to try to maximize donations to hurricane relief efforts? He explained:

In the United States, for example, more than 10% of all males have names that begin with the letter J-names like James and John (the two most common male names), Joseph and Jose, Jason, and Jeffrey. Instead of beginning just one hurricane name with the letter J each year (in 2013, that name will be Jerry), the World Meteorological Organization could introduce several J names each year. Similarly, more American female names begin with M than any other letter–most of them Marys, Marias, Margarets, Michelles, and Melissas–so the Organization could introduce several more M names to each list.

I think his idea is a good one overall. It wouldn’t cost much to implement, but could potentially benefit many hurricane victims.

I would go about choosing the names differently, though.

Repeating initials multiple times within a single hurricane season would be unwise, for instance. It would cause confusion, which would undermine the reason we started naming hurricanes in the first place (“for people easily to understand and remember” them, according to the WMO).

But optimizing the name lists using data on real-life usage? That would be smart.

I might even try optimizing based on demographics. Baby boomers are particularly generous donors, so maybe we should choose letters (or even names) with that generation in mind?

The baby boomers were born from the mid-1940s to the mid-1960s, so here are the top initials for babies born in 1956 (60 years ago):

Top first letters of baby names, 1956, U.S.

Here are two possible lists of hurricane names using the above letters. I stuck with the WMO’s conventions: 21 names total, alternating genders, and no retired names.

Mid-century style Modern style
Janice
Danny
Rebecca
Martin
Cindy
Scott
Lori
Kenneth
Brenda
Patrick
Theresa
Gerald
Angela
Eugene
Wanda
Vincent
Nancy
Howard
Francine
Ira
Olga
Jasmine
Dominic
Rylee
Matthew
Charlotte
Sebastian
Lucy
Kingston
Bella
Preston
Trinity
Grayson
Ava
Eli
Willow
Victor
Nora
Hunter
Fiona
Isaac
Olivia

And here’s another point: we wouldn’t want to assign these names in order. While the official hurricane season lasts a full six months — June to November — most hurricane activity happens in August, September and October:

Number of Tropical Cyclones per 100 Years (NOAA)

To really optimize, we’d want to reserve the top initials/names for the stronger mid-season hurricanes, which tend to do the most damage. So we could start the season using mid-list names, then jump to the top of the list when August comes around and go in order from that point forward (skipping over any mid-list names that had already been used).

What are your thoughts on assigning hurricane names with disaster relief in mind? Do you think it could work? What strategy/formula would you use to select relief-optimized hurricane names?

Sources: In the “I” of the storm: Shared initials increase disaster donations, Smart Hurricane Names: A Policy Intervention that Costs Almost Nothing but Should Attract Billions of Dollars in Aid, Tropical Cyclone Programme – WMO
Image: Tropical Cyclone Climatology – National Hurricane Center – NOAA

P.S. While J, D and R were the top initials 60 years ago, today’s top initials are A, J and M.

The Earliest Celebrity Baby Name Debuts

When a major celebrity chooses an uncommon baby name, there’s a good chance that name will become trendy.

Seems like this might be a modern phenomenon, right? Maybe tied to the rise of the Internet?

Nope. In fact, I bet you’ll be surprised at just how far back it goes.

Let’s take a look at celebrity baby names through the decades, focusing on those that inspired debuts on the SSA’s baby name list. (To debut, a rare names needs to be given to at least 5 babies of one gender or the other in a single year.)

1940s

Jerilyn Jessel
Lois Andrews and baby Jerilyn
Which baby name was the very first to debut on the charts thanks to a celebrity baby?

The answer depends on how strict you want to be about spelling.

If exact-spelling debuts are what you want, the first I know of doesn’t appear until the late ’40s.

If variant-spelling debuts are okay, though, there’s a celebrity baby name from the early ’40s that inspired a whopping six of them:

Jerilyn

In October of 1941, actor/comedian George Jessel (43 years old) and showgirl Lois Andrews (17) welcomed a baby girl named Jerilyn.

The name Jerilyn itself had already been on the list for a few years, but usage rose significantly in both 1941 and 1942:

  • 1943: 182 baby girls named Jerilyn [rank: 558th]
  • 1942: 325 baby girls named Jerilyn [rank: 397th]
  • 1941: 135 baby girls named Jerilyn [rank: 608th]
  • 1940: 10 baby girls named Jerilyn

The popularity of similar names like Jerrilyn and Jerelyn also increased, and six other variants appeared on the national list for the very first time in either 1941 or 1942 (asterisks denote debuts):

Name 1940 1941 1942 1943
Jerilynn x 56* 162 58
Jerrilynn x 9* 38 19
Gerilyn x x 15* 5
Jerilynne x x 7* x
Jarilyn x x 6* x
Geralynn x x 5* x

In fact, Jerilynn and Gerilyn were the top baby name debuts of 1941 and 1942, respectively.

I was skeptical about this one for a while, as I’d never heard of George Jessel before. Was he really high-profile enough for his baby to have that sort influence? Turns out he was indeed a popular entertainer from the ’20s until at least the ’50s. He’s the one responsible for the “Garland” part of Judy Garland’s stage name, and some sources even claim he invented the Bloody Mary.

Even more variants of Jerilyn (e.g., Gerilynn) debuted during the ’40s and early ’50s, when young Jerilyn was being mentioned in newspaper articles and appearing on TV and in films with her father. Here’s a fundraising film from 1953, for instance, featuring both George and Jerilyn.

Jerilyn Jessel’s influence on the U.S baby names was impressive, but, technically speaking, she didn’t put “Jerilyn” on the map.

Yasmin

The first exact-spelling celebrity baby name debut was Yasmin, which appeared on the list in 1949.

In December of 1949, actor Rita Hayworth and her husband Prince Aly Khan welcomed a baby girl named Yasmin. The same year, the baby name Yasmin appeared on the SSA’s list for the very first time.

(The name Yasmin was late addition to the post. Thank you, Becca!)

1950s

Elizabeth Taylor and daughter Liza on the cover of LIFE in 1957
Liz & Liza in 1957 © LIFE

At least four of the baby names that debuted during the 1950s were inspired by celebrity babies:

Romina

In October of 1951, actors Tyrone Power and Linda Christian welcomed their first baby, Romina, who was named after the church in Italy (Santa Francesca Romana) where they had married in 1949. The same year, the baby name Romina appeared on the SSA’s list for the very first time.

Taryn

In September of 1953, Power and Christian welcomed their second baby girl, Taryn, whose name was likely inspired by “Tyrone.” The same year, the baby name Taryn debuted on the list.

Seneca

In November of 1956, boxer Floyd Patterson and his wife Sandra welcomed a baby girl named Seneca. The same year, the traditionally male name Seneca debuted on the list as a female name. Patterson said the name was inspired by a street in Brooklyn.

Monsita

In October of 1958, singer/actor Rosemary Clooney and actor José Ferrer welcomed a baby girl named Monsita — their fourth child. The same year, Monsita debuted. It fell off the list the very next year, though, making it a one-hit wonder.

Honorable mentions from the ’50s include:

  • Liza, which became more popular after Liz Taylor named her daughter Liza in 1957.
  • Tyrone, which became more popular after Tyrone Power named his third child Tyrone in 1959. The increased usage could also have been influenced by the death of the actor himself the same year, though.

1960s

Casey & Timolin Cole in 1963
Casey & Timolin Cole in 1963 © Ebony

At least four of the baby names that debuted during the 1960s were inspired by celebrity babies:

Timolin

In September of 1961, singer of Nat King Cole and his wife Maria welcomed identical twin baby girls named Timolin and Casey. The same year, the baby name Timolin debuted on the list.

Xan

In September of 1965, actor/director John Cassavetes and actress Gena Rowlands welcomed a baby girl named Alexandra “Xan” Cassavetes. The same year, the baby name Xan debuted on the list.

Joely

In October of 1967, singer Eddie Fisher and actress Connie Stevens welcomed a baby girl named Joely. The same year, the baby name Joely debuted on the list.

Maryum

In June of 1968, boxer Muhammad Ali and his wife Belinda welcomed a baby girl named Maryum. The same year, the baby name Maryum debuted on the list.

Chastity

In March of 1969, singers Cher and Sonny Bono, welcomed a baby girl named Chastity. The same year, the baby name Chastity debuted on the list. In May of 2010, Chastity legally changed genders and adopted the name Chaz.

Honorable mentions from the ’60s include:

  • Dodd, which became more popular after Bobby Darin and Sandra Dee named their son Dodd in late 1961.

1970s

Rasheda & Jamillah Ali in 1971
The Alis and babies Rasheda & Jamillah in 1971 © Ebony

At least eight of the baby names that debuted during the 1970s were inspired by celebrity babies:

Rasheda

In August of 1970, boxer Muhammad Ali and his wife Belinda welcomed twin baby girls named Rasheda and Jamillah. The same year, the baby name Rasheda debuted on the list.

(An Ebony article from 1971 misspelled her name “Reeshemah.” The same year, there was a spike in the usage of Reeshemah and a dip in the usage of Rasheda.)

Ayanna

In 1971, comedian/activist Dick Gregory and his wife Lillian welcomed a baby girl named Ayanna. The same year, the baby name Ayanna debuted on the list.

Yohance

In July of 1973, Dick Gregory and Lillian welcomed a baby boy named Yohance. The same year, the baby name Yohance debuted on the list.

(I wrote more about baby names in the Gregory family a few years ago.)

Kidada

In March of 1974, musician/producer Quincy Jones and actress Peggy Lipton welcomed a baby girl named Kidada. The same year, the baby name Kidada debuted on the list.

Taryll

In August of 1975, singer Tito Jackson (of The Jackson 5) and his wife Dee Dee welcomed a baby boy named Taryll. The same year, the baby name Taryll debuted on the list.

Turkessa

In April of 1975, singer Mary Wilson (of The Supremes) and her husband Pedro welcomed a baby girl named Turkessa. The same year, the baby name Turkessa debuted on the list. Turkessa was just 3 babies away from being the top baby name debut of the year. Here’s how Mary came up with the name:

Pedro brought me a beautiful plant. I asked him was it was called. “Turquesa,” he replied, “Spanish for turquoise.” So we named our daughter Turkessa.

Chudney

In November of 1975, singer Diana Ross (also of The Supremes) and her husband Robert welcomed a baby girl named Chudney. The next year, the baby name Chudney debuted on the list. Here’s how Diana came up with the name:

Friends kept suggesting popular names like Courtney, but so many girl babies were getting that. I suddenly thought of something I liked very much — chutney. Only I didn’t know how to spell it — I put a ‘d’ where the ‘t’ should have been on the birth certificate. And that’s how my little girl became Chudney!

Katiria

In 1978, Puerto Rican dancer/singer Iris Chacón and her husband Junno welcomed a baby girl named Katiria. The same year, the baby name Katiria debuted on the list. Most of these babies were born in New York.

1980s

Condola Rashad in 1987
The Rashads and baby Condola
© Ebony
At least three of the baby names that debuted during the 1980s were inspired by celebrity babies, and at least one was inspired by a celebrity grandbaby:

Rishawn

In September of 1984, singer Gladys Knight didn’t have a baby, but her son James (b. 1962) and his wife Michelene did. They welcomed a boy named Rishawn. The next year, the baby name Rishawn debuted on the list. It was one of the top debut names of 1985, in fact.

Shakari

In November of 1986, football player Willie Gault and his wife Dainnese welcomed a baby girl named Shakari. The next year, the baby name Shakari debuted on the list.

Condola

I wrote about Condola a few months ago, but here’s a recap: In December of 1986, actress Phylicia Rashad and sportscaster Ahmad Rashad welcomed a baby girl named Condola. The next year, the baby name Condola debuted on the list.

Satchel

In December of 1987, filmmaker/actor Woody Allen and actress Mia Farrow welcomed a baby boy named Satchel. The next year, the baby name Satchel debuted on the list. He now goes by Ronan, and rumor has it that he is *possibly* the biological son of Frank Sinatra.

1990s

Demi, pre-Scout, on cover of Vanity Fair, August 1991
Demi Moore and baby Scout (kinda)
© Vanity Fair
At least three of the baby names the debuted during the 1990s were inspired by celebrity babies:

Scout

In July of 1991, actors Demi Moore and Bruce Willis welcomed a baby girl named Scout. (And in August, that famous image of 7-months-pregnant Demi ran on the cover of Vanity Fair.) The next year, the baby name Scout debuted on the list, for both genders.

Aquinnah

In February of 1995, actor Michael J. Fox and his wife Tracy welcomed twin baby girls named Aquinnah and Schuyler. The same year, the baby name Aquinnah debuted on the list. (I wrote more about the name Aquinnah a few years ago.)

Sailor

In July of 1998, model Christie Brinkley and her husband Peter welcomed a baby girl named Sailor. The same year, the baby name Sailor debuted on the list as a girl name. It had debuted as a boy name the year before.

Honorable mentions from the ’90s include:

  • Seven, which became more popular after Erykah Badu named her son Seven in 1997.
  • Zion, which became more popular after Lauryn Hill named her son Zion in 1997.
  • Selah, which became more popular after Lauryn Hill named her daughter Selah in 1998.

2000s

Angelina and Maddox Jolie in 2002
Angelina Jolie and baby Maddox
© People
At least five of the baby names that debuted during the 2000s (the decade) were inspired by celebrity babies:

Eja

In August of 2001, singer Shania Twain and her husband Robert welcomed a baby boy named Eja. The same year, the baby name Eja debuted on the list (as a girl name).

Xen

In August of 2001, actors Tisha Campbell-Martin and Duane Martin welcomed a baby boy named Xen. The same year, the baby name Xen debuted on the list.

Diezel

In March of 2003, singer Toni Braxton and musician Keri Lewis welcomed a baby boy named Diezel. The same year, the baby name Diezel debuted on the list.

Moxie

In June of 2005, magician Penn Jillette and his wife Emily welcomed a baby girl named Moxie (middle name CrimeFighter). The next year, the baby name Moxie debuted on the list.

Dannielynn

In September of 2006, model Anna Nicole Smith and her partner Larry Birkhead welcomed a baby girl named Dannielynn. The next year, the baby name Dannielynn debuted on the list.

Honorable mentions from the ’00s include:

  • Massai, which became more popular after Nia Long named her son Massai in 2000.
  • Rocco, which became more popular after Madonna and Guy Ritchie named their son Rocco in 2000.
  • Denim, which became more popular after Toni Braxton named her son Denim in 2001.
  • Maddox, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie named her adopted son Maddox in 2002.
  • Carys, which became more popular after Catherine Zeta-Jones and Michael Douglas named their daughter Carys in 2003.
  • Stellan, which became more popular after Jennifer Connelly and Paul Bettany named their son Stellan in 2003.
  • Apple, which became more popular after Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their daughter Apple in 2004.
  • Coco, which became more popular after Courtney Cox and David Arquette named their daughter Coco in 2004.
  • Zahara, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie named her adopted daughter Zahara in 2005.
  • Moses, which became more popular after Gwyneth Paltrow and Chris Martin named their son Moses in 2006.
  • Kingston, which became more popular after Gwen Stefani and Gavin Rossdale named their son Kingston in 2006.
  • Suri, which became more popular after Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes named their daughter Suri in 2006.
  • Shiloh, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their daughter Shiloh in 2006.
  • Pax, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their adopted son Pax in 2007.
  • Harlow, which became more popular after Nicole Richie and Joel Madden named their daughter Harlow in 2008.
  • Knox & Vivienne, which became more popular after Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt named their twins Knox and Vivienne in 2008.
  • Honor, which became more popular after Jessica Alba named her daughter Honor in 2008.
  • Nahla, which became more popular after Halle Berry named her daughter Nahla in 2008.
  • Bronx, which became more popular after Ashlee Simpson and Pete Wentz named their son Bronx in 2008.

*

The 2010s are only half over and already we’ve seen more celebrity baby-inspired debuts than in any other decade — Naleigh, Aleph (for boys), Locklyn, Aaradhya, Sebella, Sparrow (for boys), Viaan, Naiovy, Eisele, and no doubt others I’ve missed. Follow along as we uncover more year by year in the Pop Culture Baby Names 2010s category.

Sources:

  • Manners, Dorothy. “Off the Grapevine.” Toledo Blade 14 Feb. 1977: P-3.
  • Wilson, Mary and Patricia Romanowski. Supreme Faith. New York: Harper Collins, 1991.

Starlet Names from the Early 1900s

Ever heard of the WAMPAS Baby Stars?

They were young actresses on the cusp of movie stardom back in the 1920s and 1930s.

WAMPAS baby stars 1928

About 13 Baby Stars were selected by the Western Association of Motion Picture Advertisers every year from 1922 to 1934 (minus 1930 and 1933).

Some of those young women did indeed achieve stardom. Among the Baby Stars were Clara Bow (’24), Mary Astor (’26), Joan Crawford (’26), Fay Wray (’26) and Ginger Rogers (’32).

I thought the names of the Baby Stars — the oldest of whom were born in the final years of the 1800s, the youngest of whom were born in the mid-1910s — would make an interesting set. But I wanted birth names, not stage names, so I tracked down as many birth names as I could. Here’s the result, sorted by frequency (i.e., seven women were named Dorothy).

  • 7: Dorothy
  • 6: Helen
  • 4: Elizabeth
  • 3: Frances, Ruth, Virginia
  • 2: Anita, Ann, Barbara, Betty, Clara, Doris, Dorothea, Eleanor, Evelyn, Gladys, Gwendolyn, Hazel, Jacqueline, Katherine, Laura, Louise, Lucille, Margaret, Maria, Marian, Marie, Marion, Mary, Patricia, Violet
  • 1: Adamae, Alberta, Alma, Anne, Audrey, Augusta, Blanche, Carmelita, Caryl, Constance, Derelys, Dolores, Duane, Edna, Eleanor, Ena, Enriqueta, Ethel, Ethlyne, Evalyn, Flora, Gisela, Gloria, Gretchen, Hattie, Helene, Ina, Ingeborg, Jacquiline, Jean, Joan, Jobyna, Josephine, Juanita, Julanne, Kathleen, Kathryn, Kitty, Launa, Laurette, Lena, Lenore, Lilian, Lola, Lu Ann, Lucile, Madeline, Marceline, Martha, Mildred, Myrna, Natalia, Natalie, Nellie, Neoma, Olive, Olivia, Patsy, Rita, Rochelle, Rose, Sally, Suzanne, Sidney, Toshia, Vera, Vina

And here are the leftover stage names:

  • 5: Sally
  • 4: Mary
  • 3: Joan, June
  • 2: Betty, Jean, Judith, Pauline
  • 1: Alice, Bessie, Boots, Claire, Colleen, Dolores, Dorothy, Elinor, Evelyn, Fay, Frances, Gigi, Ginger, Gladys, Gloria, Gwen, Iris, Janet, Joyce, Julie, Karen, Kathleen, Lila, Lina, Lois, Lona, Loretta, Lucille, Lupe, Marian, Molly, Mona, Natalie, Patricia, Sue

(Often stage names were the real-life middle names of these women.)

Finally, a few interesting details:

  • Jobyna is Jobyna Ralston, named for actress Jobyna Howland, daughter of a man named Joby Howland. Jobyna debuted on the SSA’s baby name list in 1927.
  • Derelys is Derelys Perdue. “Perdue’s boss, future presidential father Joseph P. Kennedy, insisted on changing her name to the more palatable Ann Perdue.” She sued, but lost, and her career never recovered. Derelys was a one-hit wonder on the SSA’s baby name list in 1924.
  • Sidney is Sidney Fox, a female who had the name Sidney/Sydney long before the name became trendy for girls.
  • Lina is Lina Basquette, who I mentioned in last week’s name quote post.
  • One of the Marys is Mary Astor, who went on to give her daughter a Hawaiian name.

Which of the above names do you like best? Why?

Source: Derelys Perdue – Biography – Movies & TV – NYTimes.com