How popular is the baby name Denyce in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Use the popularity graph and data table below to find out! Plus, see all the blog posts that mention the name Denyce.

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Popularity of the baby name Denyce

Posts that mention the name Denyce

Chicago quadruplets: Sheena, Shawna, Sherry, Shannon

Dolores Harris holding quadruplet Sheena
Delores holding baby Sheena

On June 30, 1963, rare identical quadruplets were born to Delores and Bernard Harris of Chicago, Illinois.

The four baby girls were named:

  • Sheena Alice
  • Shawna Denyce
  • Sherry Julienne
  • Shannon Nellie

Delores gave them first names starting with “Sh” because she and Bernard already had a 15-month-old son named Shawn.

The first three middle names (Alice, Denyce, and Julienne) honored of staff members at Michael Reese Hospital, where the quadruplets were born. The fourth (Nellie) honored Delores’ mother.

The Harris quadruplets with mother Delores Harris and maternal grandmother Nellie Smith.
Delores and Nellie holding the quads

The quads made headlines across the country as soon as they were born. The Harris family was also featured in a long article (and over a dozen photographs) in the November 1963 issue* of Ebony magazine.

All this attention may have influenced the usage of their first names, though it’s hard to tell. Here’s the data:

Girls named
Girls named
Girls named
Girls named
†Peak usage

The name Sherry had just begun declining in usage in 1963, and Shawna and Shannon were already on the rise (though it does look like they rose a bit faster the year the quads were born…?). I think the strongest case can be made for Sheena, which saw a discernible uptick in 1963-1964.

What are your thoughts on these names? Which one do you like best?

*Incidentally, the same issue covered the late August civil rights demonstration during which Martin Luther King, Jr., delivered his renowned “I Have a Dream” speech.


Images: © 1963 Ebony

How did “Kojak” influence baby names in the 1970s?

The character Theo Kojak (played by Telly Savalas) from the TV series "Kojak" (1973-1978).
Theo Kojak from “Kojak

“Who loves ya, baby?”

The TV crime drama Kojak was on the air for five seasons (1973 to 1978). It starred actor Aristotelis “Telly” Savalas as lollipop-sucking, tough-talking, big-hearted New York City police detective Theo Kojak.

The series became very popular and, as a result, all of the names in that last sentence — Aristotelis, Telly, Savalas, Theo, and Kojak — either debuted or saw increased usage (as boy names) in the U.S. baby name data in the mid-1970s:

*Debut, †Peak usage

The name Savalas is currently tied for 48th-highest boy name debut of all time. The name Telly reached the top 1,000 for the first time in 1974, and variant name Telley debuted the same year. Even Aristotle was affected.

But that’s not all.

A specific Kojak episode called “Elegy in an Asphalt Graveyard,” which aired in February of 1975, focused on the murder of a character named Azure Dee (played by Denyce Liston) — a Manhattan call-girl who Kojak happened to know. Notably, the episode began and ended with a melancholy song called “Azure Dee,” [vid] sung by Telly Savalas himself.

The same year, we see two new girl names in the data:

*Debut, †Peak usage

The name Azure is currently the 22nd-highest girl name debut of all time. The similar name Azuree debuted the same year, but Azuree was probably influenced as much by the the Estée Lauder perfume as by the Kojak character.

Sources: Kojak – Wikipedia, Telly Savalas, Actor, Dies at 70; Played ‘Kojak’ in 70’s TV Series, Telly Savalas – IMDb, “Elegy in an Asphalt Graveyard,” Kojak (TV Episode 1975) – IMDb