Where did the baby name Josanne come from in 1955?

Josanne Mariani (Parade magazine, Jun. 1956)
Josanne Mariani

In late 1954, 19-year-old Josanne Mariani was making headlines. Why? Because Marlon Brando had announced that Josanne was his fiancée and that they would marry the following summer.

“The bride-to-be, for those with short memories, was a flashing-eyed French girl with jet tresses and a whirlwind hairdo. She was a fisherman’s daughter and a former model.” (I’m not sure what “whirlwind hairdo” means, but she basically had a pixie cut.)

In 1955, the name Josanne debuted in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1960: 6 baby girls named Josanne
  • 1959: (fewer than 5)
  • 1958: 6 baby girls named Josanne
  • 1957: 12 baby girls named Josanne
  • 1956: 12 baby girls named Josanne
  • 1955: 22 baby girls named Josanne [debut]
  • 1954: unlisted
  • 1953: unlisted

The name spent far more time on the list than Josanne did with Marlon. Their romance soon ended, and “poor Miss Josanne Mariani-Berenger returned to the shadows from where she had emerged.” She was all but forgotten by the time Brando married his first wife, Anna Kashfi, in 1957.


  • Lawrence, Scott. “The Heart Is a Lonely Hunter; But Marlon Brando’s Glints with Neon.” St. Petersburg Times 10 Jul. 1958: 12B.
  • Marlon Brando in Love

Image: Clipping from the cover of Parade magazine (3 Jun. 1956)

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