Where did the baby name Belita come from in 1943?

Belita in the movie Silver Skates (1943)
Belita in ‘Silver Skates’ (1943)

The name Belita first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1943:

  • 1945: 20 baby girls named Belita
  • 1944: 18 baby girls named Belita
  • 1943: 7 baby girls named Belita [debut]
  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted

Where did it come from?

Figure skater-turned-film star Belita, a contemporary of Sonja Henie. Belita was being featured in a film called Silver Skates in 1943.

She was born Maria Belita Gladys Olive Lyne Jepson-Turner in England in 1923. She competed (as Belita Jepson-Turner) at the Winter Olympics in Berlin in 1936, placing 16th in ladies’ singles.

While stranded in the U.S. during World War II, she embarked upon a Hollywood career. Some of her other films include Lady, Let’s Dance! (1944), Suspense (1946), and Never Let Me Go (1953), which starred Clark Gable and Gene Tierney.

And her unusual name? It was inspired by an Argentine estancia (ranch). Her great-grandfather had relocated to Argentina in the 1800s and established five sizeable estancias, mainly for raising cattle. He also built railroads to his properties. One of the estancias (and the associated railroad station) was named La Belita after his wife, Isabelita. “Since then there has always been a Belita in the family,” Belita said.

Belita retired from both skating and show business during the second half of the 1950s.

What are your thoughts on the baby name Belita?


4 thoughts on “Where did the baby name Belita come from in 1943?

  1. I dislike Belita but I’m trying to figure out why. I like both Belinda and Benita, and Belita is essentially a mash-up of those two, so I should like it, but I very definitely do not.

  2. Might just be that it’s unfamiliar to you. Or, maybe you aren’t a fan of the “-lita” ending? (Do you like names like Carlita and Angelita?)

  3. I don’t think it’s the “lita” part though as I have a good friend named Carmelita and know & like another person named Leta. It might just be that is is unfamiliar, or maybe I have a long forgotten negative association with it?

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