Where did the baby name Brando come from in 1955?

Actor Marlon Brando in the movie "On the Waterfront" (1954).
Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront

Yesterday we looked at Marlon Brando’s first name, so now let’s take a look at his last name.

Brando was not commonly used as a baby name before the 1950s, when Marlon Brando first hit the scene. The name debuted in the SSA’s baby name data in 1955 following the release of the crime drama On The Waterfront (1954), in which Brando played dockworker Terry Malloy.

  • 1957: unlisted
  • 1956: 5 baby boys named Brando
  • 1955: 6 baby boys named Brando [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: unlisted

Then it dropped off the list again. It stayed off the list until 1971, when the buzz surrounding The Godfather (1972) brought it back:

  • 1974: 5 baby boys named Brando
  • 1973: 13 baby boys named Brando
  • 1972: 7 baby boys named Brando
  • 1971: 5 baby boys named Brando
  • 1970: unlisted

It’s been gaining momentum ever since. So far, peak usage years have been 2004 (the year Brando passed away) and 2008. In both of these years, 104 baby boys were named Brando.

In Marlon Brando’s case, the surname “Brando” is based on the German surname Brandau, which can refer to any of several locations in Germany.

Image: © 1954 Columbia Pictures

One thought on “Where did the baby name Brando come from in 1955?

  1. Brando is such a cool name, not sure if its because of Marlon Brando or the Godfather either way it sounds like a strong name cause it means sword whereas Brandon means broom! LOL

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