Gale Storm named her baby after a TV character

Gale Storm

Actress and singer Gale Storm wasn’t born with that name — she was born Josephine Owaissa Cottle in Texas in 1922. (Her four older siblings were named Lois, Wilbur, Minnie, and Joel.)

Her first name came from her paternal grandmother, and her unusual middle was chosen by her older sister Lois. Here’s how she explained it:

Owaissa means bluebird in Indian. They let my sister name me and she was going through an Indian period then.

Lois had likely encountered the name in school, via Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s 1855 poem “The Song of Hiawatha” — a fictional account of an Ojibwe warrior named Hiawatha. The name is indeed defined as “bluebird” in the poem, though the Ojibwe word for “bluebird” is actually more along the lines of ozahwunoo.

In her late teens, Josephine became a contestant on a radio talent show called Gateway to Hollywood. She ended up winning, and was awarded not only a contract with a movie studio, but a brand new name: Gale Storm. The male winner, Lee Bonnell, who was given the stage name Terry Belmont, later became Gale’s real-life husband.

Gale and Terry went on to have four children. Their three sons were named after the Biblical figures of Philip, Peter and Paul. But their daughter, born in 1956, was not named with a Biblical figure in mind. Instead, she was named after fictional cruise director Susanna Pomeroy — the character Gale Storm portrayed on The Gale Storm Show: Oh! Susanna from 1956 to 1960.


2 thoughts on “Gale Storm named her baby after a TV character

  1. …and MY middle name was chosen after Ms. Storm. My middle name is Gale. I have always had to correct the spelling from the traditional “Gail”. I was born in 1959. My Mom loved Gale Storm. My Dad always said he preferred the Gale spelling becaused I came into their lives like a storm.

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