Yesterday’s name, Broderick, was popularized by a movie based on the life of populist politician Huey P(ierce) Long, nicknamed “The Kingfish,” who served as Governor of Louisiana (1928-1932), U.S. Senator (1932-1935), and was gearing up for a presidential run in 1935. At that time…
Long’s Senate office was flooded with thousands of letters daily, prompting him to hire 32 typists, who worked around the clock to respond to the fan mail. As the nation’s third most photographed man (after FDR and celebrity aviator Charles Lindbergh), Long was recognized from coast to coast simply as “Huey.”
He never ran for president, though, because he was assassinated in September of 1935.
So how did Long’s his political rise (and sudden death) affect the usage of the baby name Huey?
In April of 1929, newspapers reported that, since the gubernatorial election the previous May, “Governor Long has presented a [silver] cup to every baby in the state which is made his namesake. He says there are now are 90 “Huey P’s” and he believes the total will run well over 200 before his term of office expires.”
According to the SSA’s baby name data, the national usage of Huey spiked twice: the year Long was elected governor, and the year he was killed. Notice how much of the usage happened in Huey’s home state of Louisiana:
U.S. boys named Huey
Louisiana boys named Huey
214 boys [rank: 378th]
95 boys (44% of U.S. usage) [rank: 50th]
353 boys [288th]
153 boys (43%) [30th]
494 boys [237th]
202 boys (41%) [14th]
187 boys [403rd]
86 boys (46%) [48th]
154 boys [447th]
66 boys (43%) [67th]
144 boys [480th]
76 boys (53%) [61st]
162 boys [443rd]
98 boys (60%) [39th]
174 boys [447th]
119 boys (68%) [37th]
194 boys [424th]
146 boys (75%) [26th]
215 boys [411th]
159 boys (74%) [22nd]
114 boys [579th]
62 boys (54%) [75th]
62 boys [840th]
22 boys (35%) [179th]
Huey P. Long was named after his father. He had nine siblings: brothers Julius, George and Earl (who also served as governor of Louisiana) and sisters Charlotte, Clara, Helen, Lucille, and Olive. Speedy Long was a cousin.
Movie director King W. Vidor [pronounced vee-dor] and his second wife, Eleanor Boardman, welcomed their first child together in November of 1927. They had a name picked out for a boy — “Boardman Vidor” — but didn’t have anything ready for a girl.
So, of course, it was a girl. :)
According to news reports, the baby remained nameless until at least April, when she was named Joyce.
But while the couple was abroad promoting Vidor’s latest film, The Crowd, she was renamed Antonia. They announced the change in early July, on the day they returned to the U.S. aboard the SS De Grasse.
We already know how Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson, came up with her stage name — “Marilyn” was from Marilyn Miller, and “Monroe” was her mother’s maiden name.
But why was she named “Norma Jeane” as a baby?
In 1922, her mother Gladys, originally from California, moved to Kentucky to try to get her first two children (Robert and Berniece) back from her former husband’s family.
While there, Gladys worked as a housekeeper in the home of Harry and Lena Cohen of Louisville. She also helped care for the couple’s young daughters, Dorothy and Norma Jean.
She eventually returned to California, alone.
In 1926, Gladys had her third and final baby. “She named the child after the little girl she had looked after whilst in Kentucky and, for the sake of respectability, also gave the surname of her former husband, hence naming her Norma Jeane Mortenson (she added an ‘e’ to Norma Jean and changed Mortensen to Mortenson on the birth certificate).”
Which first name do you like more, Marilyn or Norma? Vote below, then leave a comment with your reason…
Source: Morgan, Michelle. Marilyn Monroe: Private and Undisclosed. London: Little, Brown Book Group, 2012.
Businessman Lido Anthony “Lee” Iacocca was born in Pennsylvania in 1924 to Italian immigrants Nicola “Nick” Iacocca and Antonietta Perrotta. Lee Iacocca went on to become the president of Ford Motor Company from 1970 to 1978 and the CEO of Chrysler Corporation from 1978 to 1992.
Where did the first name Lido come from?
Before his marriage, Nick and one of Antoinette’s brothers had visited Venice, Italy, enjoying the grand and beautiful Lido Beach. To Nick, the spot was perfect. So was his new son, hence the name Lido.
And what drove Lido Iacocca to shorten his already-short first name to “Lee”?
Early on in his career…
“As part of my job, I had to make a lot of long-distance calls. In those days, there was no direct dialing, so that you always had to go through operators. They’d ask for my name, and I’d say “Iacocca.” Of course, they had no idea how to spell it, so that was always a struggle to get that right. Then they’d ask for my first name and when I said “Lido,” they’d break out laughing. Finally I said to myself: “Who needs it?” and I started calling myself Lee.”
Which name do you prefer, Lido or Lee?
Collins, David R. Lee Iacocca: Chrysler’s Good Fortune. Ada, OK: Garrett Educational Corp, 1992.
Iacocca, Lee and William Novak. “Iacocca: An Autobiography” Reader’s Digest Jul. 1985: 79.