Where did the baby name Barbarella come from in 1969?

The title character from the movie "Barbarella" (1968)
Barbarella from “Barbarella

The name Barbarella has appeared in the U.S. baby name data just twice:

  • 1971: unlisted
  • 1970: 8 baby girls named Barbarella
  • 1969: 17 baby girls named Barbarella [debut]
  • 1968: unlisted
  • 1967: unlisted

You probably already know the source of this one: sci-fi cult classic Barbarella (1968), which starred Jane Fonda as a voluptuous 41st-century astronaut on a mission to track down Earth scientist Durand Durand* somewhere in outer space.

Though the film wasn’t popular with audiences initially, it has since become a cult classic.

The character Barbarella was created in the early ’60s by French comic strip illustrator Jean-Claude Forest. I’m not sure how he came up with the name, but I’d guess that he was inspired by the traditional name Barbara, which can be traced back to the Ancient Greek word barbaros, meaning “foreign.”

*In the late ’70s, synth-pop band Duran Duran named themselves after the missing scientist Durand Durand.

Sources: Barbarella (film) – Wikipedia, SSA

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