Where did the baby name Teala come from in 1946?

Actress Teala Loring (1922-2007)
Teala Loring

The name Teala got its start on the U.S. baby name charts during second half of the 1940s:

  • 1948: unlisted
  • 1947: 13 baby girls named Teala
  • 1946: 7 baby girls named Teala [debut]
  • 1945: unlisted
  • 1944: unlisted

What put it there?

Movie actress Teala Loring, born Marcia Griffin in 1922. She was the older sister of Debra Paget (born Debralee Griffin in 1933). Teala appeared in movies throughout the ’40s, but was married and retired by the time Debra gained fame in the early ’50s.

The “Teala” part of Loring’s stage name was suggested by Paramount producer Irwin Allen:

“He asked, “What do you think of Teala?” I said, “I don’t know who she is.” [Laughs] He said, “Well that’s you if you like the name!” He said Teala was an old Irish name that hadn’t been used in many, many years.

I’m not sure what old Irish name he was thinking of — maybe Talulla?

In any case, I believe her new stage name was pronounced TEE-la, as she mentioned in the same interview that people would often mistake the name for Sheila. (Incidentally, the spelling Teela popped up in the data in 1948.)

Do you like the name Teala? (Do you like it more or less than Marcia?)

Source: Weaver, Tom. Eye on Science Fiction: 20 Interviews with Classic SF and Horror Filmmakers. Jefferson, NC: 2003.

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