Where did the baby name Ridgely come from in 1946?

Actor John Ridgely in the movie "The Big Sleep" (1946).
John Ridgely in “The Big Sleep

The baby name Ridgely crept into the U.S. baby name data for the first time in the mid-1940s:

  • 1948: 6 baby boys named Ridgely
  • 1947: 6 baby boys named Ridgely
  • 1946: 6 baby boys named Ridgely [debut]
  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: unlisted

I’m not 100% sure about the reason, but I think this is a good guess: actor John Ridgely (whose birth name was John Rea).

He played secondary characters in movies from the ’30s to the ’50s, but one of his most successful movies — and one in which he played a key character — was The Big Sleep (1946). It was a detective film starring Humphrey Bogart and Lauren Bacall. Ridgely played a gangster named Eddie Mars.

The same year, John Ridgely could also be seen as Cary, the husband of Ginna, in the movie My Reputation.

What are your thoughts on this theory?

Sources: The Big Sleep (1946) – TCM, SSA

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