Where did the baby name Movita come from in 1938?

Actress Maria "Movita" Castaneda in the movie "Mutiny on the Bounty" (1935)
Movita in “Mutiny on the Bounty”

Actress Maria “Movita” Castaneda, often billed simply as Movita, was Marlon Brando’s second wife. Her nickname Movita appeared in the U.S. baby name data for two short periods of time. The first was 1938-1940:

  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: 8 baby girls named Movita
  • 1939: 12 baby girls named Movita
  • 1938: 10 baby girls named Movita [debut]
  • 1937: unlisted
  • 1936: unlisted

She’d been appearing in films like Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) since the early ’30s, but in the late ’30s she was getting extra press because of her relationship with Irish boxer/entertainer Jack Doyle. She married Doyle in 1939, but they divorced in 1944.

Movita married Marlon Brando in 1960, after his first marriage to Anna Kashfi had ended. The marriage didn’t last long, but the association with Brando gave Movita’s name another boost:

  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 6 baby girls named Movita
  • 1963: 6 baby girls named Movita
  • 1962: 6 baby girls named Movita
  • 1961: unlisted

Brando left Movita in 1962 to be with the woman who would soon become his third wife, Tarita.

In a crazy coincidence, he met wife #3 while filming Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), a remake of the 1935 movie Movita had starred in.

Sources: Movita Castaneda – Wikipedia, SSA
Image: Screenshot of the trailer for Mutiny on the Bounty

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