The name Jorel first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1979:
- 1981: 27 baby boys named Jorel
- 1980: 10 baby boys named Jorel
- 1979: 22 baby boys named Jorel [debut]
- 1978: unlisted
- 1977: unlisted
It was highest-debuting boy name of the year, in fact.
Where did it come from?
The movie Superman, which, despite being released in mid-December of 1978, was the second-highest-grossing film of the year. (The highest-grossing film, Grease, came out in June.)
Superman’s father, Kryptonian scientist Jor-El (played by Marlon Brando), wasn’t on-screen long before the planet Krypton was destroyed. Still, he made enough of an impression that nearly two dozen babies were named in his honor.
(The SSA strips hyphens out of the data, so there’s no telling just how many of these baby Jorels were actually named “Jor-El.”)
Interestingly, the name has been in the data every year since:
Usage peaked in the mid-1980s, then started petering out…until the early 2000s, when it bounced back. Why? Perhaps the combined influence of the TV show Smallville (2001-2011) and the film Superman Returns (2006).
The name saw it’s second-highest year of usage in 2014, following the release of the movie Man of Steel (2013), in which Jor-El was played by Russell Crowe.
What’s your opinion of the name Jor-El?