Where did the baby name Willona come from in the 1970s?

The character Willona Woods from the TV series "Good Times" (1974-1979).
Willona Woods from “Good Times

The name Willona first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1974:

  • 1980: unlisted
  • 1979: 12 baby girls named Willona
  • 1978: 12 baby girls named Willona
  • 1977: 14 baby girls named Willona
  • 1976: 13 baby girls named Willona
  • 1975: 16 baby girls named Willona
  • 1974: 15 baby girls named Willona [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted


Because of the sitcom Good Times (1974-1979), which introduced TV audiences to feisty, fashionable Willona Woods (played by Ja’net Dubois).

The show was set in a housing project in Chicago, and the main focus was the Evans family: father James, mother Florida, and their three children (J.J., Thelma and Michael).

Scene-stealing Willona was the divorcée who lived across the hall and regularly popped in for visits [vid].

In a later season, Willona adopted an abused child named Penny (played by future superstar Janet Jackson).

The name Willona remained in the SSA data through the show’s six-season run.

What do you think of the name Willona?

Sources: Good Times – Wikipedia, SSA
Image: Screenshot of Good Times

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