Where did the baby name Silvana come from in 1950?

Italian actress Silvana Mangano (1930-1989)
Silvana Mangano

The Italian name Silvana first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1950:

  • 1953: 13 baby girls named Silvana
  • 1951: 10 baby girls named Silvana
  • 1950: 5 baby girls named Silvana [debut]
  • 1949: unlisted
  • 1948: unlisted

The similar name Sylvana popped up the very next year.

What put them on the map?

Italian actress Silvana Mangano, who became famous internationally with the success of her 1949 film Riso Amaro. In the movie, she played a peasant rice worker in the Po Valley of Northern Italy.

The film was released as Bitter Rice in the U.S. in September of 1950. (The original title is a pun, as the Italian word riso can refer either to rice or to laughter.) Around the same time, various American newspapers were promoting the “lithe, sensuous 20-year-old” Silvana Mangano as “Italy’s Rita Hayworth.”

Several years later, she starred in the movie Ulysses with Kirk Douglas and fellow Italian actress Rossana Podestà.

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