What gave the baby name Tovah a boost in the late 1970s?

Actress Tovah Feldshuh in the TV miniseries "Holocaust" (1978)
Tovah Feldshuh in “Holocaust

The name Tovah appeared for the first time in the U.S. baby name data in 1976. It saw its highest-ever usage several years later, in both 1979 and 1980:

  • 1981: 31 baby girls named Tovah
  • 1980: 37 baby girls named Tovah
  • 1979: 37 baby girls named Tovah
  • 1978: 31 baby girls named Tovah
  • 1977: unlisted
  • 1976: 6 baby girls named Tovah [debut]
  • 1975: unlisted

What was drawing attention to the name around that time?

Stage and screen actress Tovah Feldshuh, who began appearing on Broadway, on television, and in the movies (in that order) during the 1970s.

The name’s 1976 debut could be due to Feldshuh’s dozen appearances (as supporting character Martha McKee) on the popular daytime soap opera Ryan’s Hope from May to August of that year.

The name’s peak usage followed Feldshuh’s Emmy-nominated role as Helena Slomova, a Jewish resistance fighter from Prague, in the memorable TV miniseries Holocaust. The four-part miniseries was originally broadcast in April of 1978, and then rebroadcast in September of 1979.

Tovah Feldshuh was born Terri Sue Feldshuh in New York City in 1952. The first part of her stage name comes from her Hebrew name, Tovah, which is the Hebrew word for “good.” (The feminine form of the word/name can also be transcribed Tova. The masculine form is Tov.)

What are your thoughts on the name Tovah?

P.S. The director of the TV miniseries Holocaust, Marvin J. Chomsky, also co-directed the TV miniseries Roots (1977).

Sources: Tovah Feldshuh – Wikipedia, Holocaust (miniseries) – Wikipedia, SSA
Image: Screenshot of the miniseries Holocaust

2 thoughts on “What gave the baby name Tovah a boost in the late 1970s?

  1. Never realized Tovah wasn’t her birth name.

    I loved her occasional appearances as an attorney on Law & Order, usually on opposite sides of the case from Sam Waterston.

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