Actor Keir Dullea, whose first big movie role was the a lead part in the offbeat romance David and Lisa (1962). He ended up winning a Golden Globe for “Most Promising Newcomer – Male” in early 1963.
He went on to appear in other movies, none more successful than Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968), in which he played another David: astronaut David Bowman, who spoke the classic line, “Open the pod bay doors please, HAL.”
His full name is pronounced KEER duh-LAY, which is easy to remember if you think of the Noel Coward witticism, “Keir Dullea, gone tomorrow.” I’m not sure how his parents came up with the name Keir, but it could be an Anglicized form of the Irish name Ciar, which means “black.”
(Keir was also on TV a lot, and once appeared in an episode of the short-lived show Channing — just like Joan Hackett, whose character Djuna Phrayne had a big impact on the baby name Djuna.)
On August 21, the United States will see its first coast-to-coast solar eclipse since 1918. If you’re planning to have (or conceive!) a baby around the time of the eclipse, you might be interested in a name that marks the event (but that perhaps isn’t as obvious as Eclipse itself).
So what are your options?
Names with “celestial” associations
A solar eclipse involves the alignment of three celestial bodies — the sun (a star), the moon, and the Earth — in the sky. You could use a name that is associated in some way with one of these elements, such as…
The main event, from an Earthling’s perspective, is the darkening of the sun thanks to the moon getting in the way and casting its shadow over us. You could use a name associated in some way with darkness, such as…
I think Blake and Sullivan are particularly intriguing choices.
The English surname Blake can come from either of two similar Middle English words that happen to have opposite definitions: blac, meaning “black,” or blac, meaning “wan, pale, white, fair.” So it manages to encapsulate the concepts of both darkness and lightness — two key elements of an eclipse.
And the Irish surname Sullivan, “descendant of Súileabhán,” is based on the Gaelic personal name Súileabhán, meaning “little dark eye” — which sounds a lot like a poetic description of an eclipse.
Name combos with both “celestial” and “dark” associations
You could combine some of the “celestial” and “dark” names above to get something more specific, like…
Layla Soleil: “night” and “sun”
Jett Samson: “black” and “sun”
Ciaran Sol: “black” and “sun”
Melanie Stella: “dark” and “star” (“Dark Star” is also a Grateful Dead song)
Luna Zillah: “moon” and “shadow” (“Moon Shadow” is also a Cat Stevens song)
Names (or name combos) featuring the letters “S” and “E”
This is as inconspicuous as it gets. Commemorate the solar eclipse simply by using the letters “S” and “E” in combination. You could choose a single name that starts with “Se-,” like…
Sela Selene (“moon” in Greek) Selma Seraphina Seren (“star” in Welsh) Serenity
Sean Sebastian Sefton Sergio Seth Severino
Or, you could use a pair of names that start with “S-” and “E-,” such as…
Sabrina Eden Sydney Elise Sarah Evangeline Susanna Elizabeth
Simon Elijah Spencer Ellis Shane Everett Samuel Edward
Which of the above names (or combos) do you like most? What other solar eclipse-themed ideas would you add to this list?
Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.