Grammy-winning singer and Oscar-winning actor Burl Ives was born in rural Illinois in 1909. His birth name? Burl Icle Ivanhoe Ives.
I don’t know the story behind his unique given names, but I do know that his parents, Levi Franklin (“Frank”) and Cordellia (“Dellie”), gave several of their six other children interesting names as well:
- Audry Jane, b. 1899
- Artie Morris, b. 1901
- Clarence Estie, b. 1903
- Argola Marie, b. 1906
- Burl Icle Ivanhoe, b. 1909
- Lilburn Verger, b. 1914
- Norma, b. 1919
(During that area, the next-door state of Missouri had a community called Argola — I wonder if that’s where Argola Marie’s name came from…?)
Today, Burl Ives may be best remembered as the voice of Sam the Snowman in the 1964 stop-motion TV movie Rudolph the Red Nosed Reindeer — the longest-running Christmas special in history.
What are your thoughts on the first name Burl?
(And…did you know that Rudolph was almost named Reginald?)
- “Artists’ Biographies.” Billboard Music Week 20 Jan. 1962: 26.
- Burl Ives – Wikipedia
- Burl Ives – Find a Grave
Image: Burl Ives – LOC