The unusual name Gig has appeared in the U.S. baby name data a total of three times, all during the 1960s:
- 1970: unlisted
- 1969: unlisted
- 1968: 5 baby boys named Gig
- 1967: unlisted
- 1966: unlisted
- 1965: unlisted
- 1964: 6 baby boys named Gig
- 1963: unlisted
- 1962: unlisted
- 1961: 6 baby boys named Gig [debut]
- 1960: unlisted
- 1959: unlisted
The source? American actor Gig Young (1913-1978) — though none these years quite match up with the high points of his career, like his 1969 Oscar win.
I’m mentioning him today because yesterday, in the Fiona post, we talked about the movie The Gay Sisters (1942). One of Gig’s first notable roles was in this movie, but get this: He was hired to play the part of Gig Young. He got the the gig under his birth name, Byron Barr.
Improbably, there was already an established actor in Hollywood named Byron Barr (1917-1966) when the second Byron was starting out. So at some point during the making of the film, a publicist suggested that he adopt “Gig Young” as his stage name. And he did.
Here’s the actor (and his new name) being spotlighted in an advertisement for the film:
Not long after this, Gig appeared in Old Acquaintance (1943) — the film that gave us the Deirdre spike of ’44.
Sadly, Gig’s life wasn’t easy. It ended in suicide, immediately after he murdered (!) his fifth wife. A 1991 biography — “an interesting look at the disintegration of yet another film actor” — was cleverly titled Final Gig.
What are your thoughts on the name Gig?