Where did the baby name Lyrae come from in 1962?

The character Lyrae from the movie "Moon Pilot" (1962).
Lyrae from “Moon Pilot”

The name Lyrae first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1962:

  • 1964: unlisted
  • 1963: 10 baby girls named Lyrae
  • 1962: 16 baby girls named Lyrae [debut]
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: unlisted


Because of the long-forgotten Disney sci-fi/comedy movie Moon Pilot.

The film opened in theaters in April of 1962 and featured a mysterious character with a heavy French accent called Lyrae (pronounced lee-ray). She was played by French actress Dany Saval (whose birth name was Danielle Savalle).

Lyrae was first thought to be a foreign spy, but later revealed to be an alien from the friendly planet of Beta Lyrae. She had come to Earth to offer U.S. astronaut Rich Talbot advice about his upcoming trip to the moon.

The film was based on Robert Buckner’s 1960 story “Moon Pilot,” which was serialized in The Saturday Evening Post in the spring and published as a paperback (with the new title Starfire) in the fall.

Though “Beta Lyrae” does exist, it’s a binary star system, not a planet. The two stars of Beta Lyrae are located in the constellation Lyra, named after the lyre of Orpheus.

What are your thoughts on the name Lyrae?

Source: Moon Pilot (1962) – TCM, Moon Pilot (1962) – IMDb

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