Where did the baby name Tarita come from in 1961?

Tarita Teri'ipia, third wife of Marlon Brando
Tarita Teri’ipia

In 1962, Brando swapped Movita for Tarita.

Marlon Brando divorced his second wife, Movita, to be with his Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) co-star, 20-year-old Bora Bora native Tarita Teri’ipia. Their common-law marriage lasted from 1962 to 1972.

Tarita Teriipia had been making headlines since early 1961. (A LIFE article published in March dubbed her the “Cinderella of the South Seas.”) So it’s not surprising that 1961 is the year we see the name Tarita debut in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1963: 31 baby girls named Tarita
  • 1962: 19 baby girls named Tarita
  • 1961: 29 baby girls named Tarita [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

No doubt the initial usage was due to the movie (and the press surrounding the movie). But the continued usage was likely influenced by Tarita’s relationship with Brando, as she didn’t appear in any films after Mutiny on the Bounty.

About 200 more babies were named Tarita in the ’70s and ’80s, but the name stopped appearing in the SSA’s data after 1989.


Image: © 1961 LIFE

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