Uniquely named female film stars were inspiring debuts on the baby name charts as early as the 1910s, starting with Francelia in 1912.
But the first male film star to inspire a baby name debut didn’t come along until the 1930s.
That film star was actor Franchot Tone. He shot to fame in 1933, the year he appeared in seven films — including one with Jean Harlow, another with Loretta Young, and two with Joan Crawford (his future wife).
The name Franchot debuted in the U.S. baby name data the very next year:
- 1937: 10 baby boys named Franchot
- 1936: 21 baby boys named Franchot [peak usage]
- 1935: 6 baby boys named Franchot
- 1934: 9 baby boys named Franchot [debut]
- 1933: unlisted
- 1934: unlisted
In fact, it was one of the top baby name debuts of 1934.
The usage of Franchot peaked in 1936, the year Tone appeared in the very successful 1935 film Mutiny on the Bounty. (Movita, Marlon Brando’s future wife, was also in the film.)
Franchot Tone’s birth name was Stanislaus Pascal Franchot Tone. Franchot, pronounced fran-show, was his mother’s maiden name. It’s one of the many names (and surnames) that can be traced back to the Late Latin Franciscus, meaning “Frankish” or “Frenchman.”
What do you think of the baby name Franchot?
Sources: Franchot Tone – Wikipedia, SSA