In October of 1981, NBC began airing a sitcom called Love, Sidney. It was the first show on American TV with a gay lead character (although Sidney’s homosexuality was largely downplayed).
Actors Tony Randall, Swoosie Kurtz and 8-year-old Kaleena Kiff played the three main characters Sidney, Laurie and Patti. Despite the ground-breaking nature of Randall’s character, it was Kiff who made the biggest impression on TV viewers (if you go by the baby name charts, at least).
The baby name Kaleena went from being given to fewer than 5 baby girls in 1980 to being given to dozens, then hundreds, of baby girls over the next few years:
1986: 79 baby girls named Kaleena
1985: 82 baby girls named Kaleena
1984: 101 baby girls named Kaleena
1983: 341 baby girls named Kaleena
1982: 270 baby girls named Kaleena
1981: 41 baby girls named Kaleena [debut]
1980: unlisted (fewer than 5 baby girls)
The name Kalina also got a boost in the early ’80s.
Kaleena was fifth-highest debut of 1981, after Fallon, Toccara, Nastassia and Falon. Sixth through tenth were Yalitza, Natassia, Yuliana, Shiona, and a 5-way tie between Dynasty, Jadyn, Laiza, Shambrica and Tijwana.
What are your thoughts on the name Kaleena?
P.S. A name-related tweet from Kaleena Kiff herself: “Everyone on our set is called Fergus, Angus, or Fraser. I must be shooting in Glasgow. #LegendofBarney” That hashtag refers to the upcoming movie The Legend of Barney Thomson, which is set in Scotland and features a character by the name of Cemolina (played by Emma Thompson).
Here’s the second-to-last installment of the top baby name debuts for girls. No more ties from here on out.
From 20 to 11:
Azure debuted with 121 baby girls in 1975. Inspired by Azure Dee, a character on the TV detective series “Kojak.” (Or by the song “Azure Dee,” inspired by the character and sung by Telly Savalas for that particular episode.)
Sharde debuted with 124 baby girls in 1985. Inspired by singer Sade [shah-DAY].
Shardae debuted with 129 baby girls in 1985. Same reason as #19.
Yamilex debuted with 130 baby girls in 1995. Inspired by Jamilex, a character on the telenovela “Como Tu, Ninguna.”
Chastelyn debuted with 150 baby girls in 2009. Inspired by Chastelyn Rodriguez, a contestant on the TV beauty pageant “Nuestra Belleza Latina 2009.”
I’ve already posted a year-by-year list of the top baby name debuts, but I thought it might be fun to look at top debut names decade-by-decade as well.
So let’s start with the ’80s.
Here are all the “100+” debut names of the 1980s. Each went from being given to fewer than 5 babies a year to suddenly being given to more than 100 babies in one particular year. (I’m ignoring the glitch names of ’89.)
We all know that brand names are being used more and more often as baby names, and that brands associated with luxury or high status (e.g. Bentley, Tiffany) are particularly enticing to expectant parents.
So it’s not too surprising that there are a lot of people out there named after designer fragrances — women’s perfumes in particular, but men’s colognes and unisex fragrances as well. Here are three dozen examples:
1995: Natori perfume introduced by Avon.
1995: The baby name Natori debuted on the SSA’s baby name list.
…And I’m sure that’s not all. Other fragrance names are harder to figure out, though. For instance, the names below were surely given a boost by fragrance, but they also appeared in the SSA data before their corresponding fragrances were introduced: