What popularized the baby name Mitzi in the early 1950s?

Actress/singer/dancer Mitzi Gaynor
Mitzi Gaynor

I read something about actress/singer/dancer Mitzi Gaynor today, and it prompted me to take a look at the data for the baby name Mitzi — which barely ranked inside the girls’ top 1,000 during most of the 1940s, then suddenly became popular in the early 1950s:

  • 1954: 358 baby girls named Mitzi [rank: 468th]
  • 1953: 305 baby girls named Mitzi [rank: 499th]
  • 1952: 212 baby girls named Mitzi [rank: 597th]
  • 1951: 98 baby girls named Mitzi [rank: 933rd]
  • 1950: 101 baby girls named Mitzi [rank: 887th]

Gaynor first began appearing in films (such as My Blue Heaven, Golden Girl, and Bloodhounds of Broadway) in the early 1950s. Correspondingly, her name saw notable rise in usage from 1951 to 1953.

She retired from films in the early ’60, and the name consequently dropped out of the top 500 in 1965.

When Mitzi Gaynor was born in Chicago in 1931, she was given a much longer name: Francesca Marlene de Czanyi von Gerber. (She’s of Hungarian extraction.)

“Mitzi” was her childhood nickname, and “Gaynor” was chosen for her at the start of her career:

[A]t 17, Mitzi Gerber was signed to a seven-year deal at 20th Century Fox. She recalled that a producer there thought her name sounded like a delicatessen, “so he said, ‘How about Gaynor, [like] Janet Gaynor?’ My father loved it.”

What are your thoughts on the baby name Mitzi? Would you use it?

Sources: Presenting Mitzi Gaynor, Mitzi Gaynor – Wikipedia

Image: Screenshot of the trailer for There’s No Business Like Show Business (1954)

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