It’s another Five-Name Friday! Here’s today’s request:
I’m having a boy, baby brother to Oliver and Henry, but this time around nothing is really catching our eye. Our top choices right now are Calvin, Felix, Thomas, and Alexander (but we’re not in love with any of them).
Can you come up with five great baby name suggestions for this person?
Here are the rules:
Be independent. Choose your five names before checking out anybody else’s five names.
Be sincere. These should be names you’d have no problem recommending to someone in real life.
Five names only. If your comment includes more than five names, I will delete the extras. (This includes nickname ideas!)
Actress Melissa Gilbert is probably best known for portraying young Laura Ingalls Wilder on the TV series Little House on the Prairie (1974–1984). Her TV father, Charles, was played by actor Michael Landon.
In October of 1995, Melissa and her second husband welcomed a son (12 weeks early). He was named Michael Garrett — “Michael” in honor of Michael Landon, who had died of cancer in 1991, and “Garrett” in honor of the deceased teenage son of family friends.
Landon’s birth name was Eugene Maurice Orowitz. His nickname in primary school was “Ooogy.” He chose his stage name by flipping through a phone book.
The birth name of Russian-born actor Yul Brynner has been transcribed various ways: Yuli, Yuly, Yuliy. He was named after his Swiss-German grandfather Julius (pronounced yoo-lee-us). He started going by “Yul” after immigrating to the U.S. as young man in 1940:
[H]e initially spelled his named “Youl Bryner,” but a New York theatrical agent told him that “Youl” sounded too much like “you-all” and “Bryner” as though he was soaked in brine and pickled. To clarify the pronunciation, the actor respelled his name as Yul Brynner, pronounced “Yool Brinner.”
He didn’t see much acting success during the ’40s. (He had more luck working as a TV director during this time.) But everything changed in the early ’50s after he landed the lead role in the hit Rodgers and Hammerstein musical “The King and I” (1951-1954). The Broadway production earned multiple Tony Awards in early 1952, including one for Brynner.
Mainstream audiences were introduced to Yul in 1956, the year he starred in three big films: The King and I (released in June), The Ten Commandments (October), and Anastasia (December).
In 1957, Yul not only won the Academy Award for Best Actor for his role in (the film version of) The King and I, but his distinctive first name appeared in the U.S. baby name data for the first time:
1961: 29 baby boys named Yul
1960: 32 baby boys named Yul [peak usage]
1959: 24 baby boys named Yul
1958: 24 baby boys named Yul
1957: 31 baby boys named Yul [debut]
Yul was the second most popular debut name for baby boys that year, just barely losing to Maverick.
Since then, the trajectories of the two names have been very different. Trendy Maverick is now given to thousands of baby boys per year, whereas unusual Yul is given to fewer than a dozen per year. Which name do you prefer, Yul or Maverick?
Today’s mystery name is Chyleen, a uniquely spelled one-hit wonder from 1945:
1945: 9 baby girls named Chyleen [debut]
The names Charlene and Cheryl were on the rise in the ’40s, so the look/sound of Chyleen certainly fits with the trends of the time. But I can’t figure out what put the specific spelling “Chyleen” on the map.
Looking through records, I found a couple of people with other spellings, but “Chyleen” was the dominant favorite. This makes me think the influence was something written (e.g., news story, movie credits, book).
Any ideas about what influenced Chyleen?
P.S. The Chyleen-like name Chyla saw a spike in usage in 1983, with a third of that usage coming from in Illinois. The influence was likely Chicago Bears quarterback Vince Evans, who married a woman named Chyla Dibble in mid-1982. (The couple was featured in a July 1982 issue of Jet magazine.)