Magician and illusionist Criss Angel, whose reality series Criss Angel Mindfreak aired on A&E from 2005 to 2010. The show, focused on street magic and stunts, had episodes with titles like “Shark Cage Escape,” “Mass Levitation,” “SUV Nail Bed,” and “Burning Man.”
Criss Angel was born in New York in 1967 as Christopher Nicholas Sarantakos. (He’s of Greek descent.) These days he primarily performs live shows in Las Vegas.
He also has three children with his wife, Shaunyl. Their names are:
Johnny Crisstopher, b. 2014
Xristos Yanni, b. 2019
Illusia Angelina, b. 2021
His sons’ names echo one another in that “Johnny” and “Yanni” are diminutives of John and Yiannis (a Greek equivalent of John), and “Crisstopher” and “Xristos” are both based on the ancient Greek word khristos (“anointed one”).
His daughter’s first name, Illusia, is clearly a reference to dad’s line of work.
What are your thoughts on the baby name Crissangel?
The uncommon name Eldra, after popping up a few times in the U.S. baby name data as a girl name during the first half of the 20th century, returned as a boy name for a four-year run in the middle of the 1980s:
Eldra Patrick DeBarge — often known as “El DeBarge” — lead singer of the ’80s group DeBarge (which consisted of siblings from the DeBarge family of Michigan).
The group’s songs started appearing on Billboard‘s Hot 100 chart in mid-1983. Their most successful single was the upbeat “Rhythm of the Night” (vid), which peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 in April of 1985.
El DeBarge left the group in 1986 to pursue a solo career. His own most successful single, “Who’s Johnny” (featured in the movie Short Circuit), also peaked at #3 on the Hot 100 (in July of 1986).
What are your thoughts on the baby name Eldra? Do you like it better as a male name or as a female name?
While other mid-20th-century actors and actresses were swapping out their birth names for catchy stage names (like Rory Calhoun, Lana Turner, Kirk Douglas, Piper Laurie, Tab Hunter, and Rock Hudson), Cloris Leachman decided to go against the grain and stick with her legal name (which she’d inherited from her mother).
But she did consider changing her name for a time…thanks largely to Tallulah Bankhead.
In 1949, Cloris was in her early 20s and appearing on stage in Come Back, Little Sheba. Bankhead came to see the production, and, afterwards, when the two women met for the first time, Tallulah implored Cloris to change her name.
On a different occasion, Bankhead brought the topic up again:
“Cloris Leachman,” she crowed, “too long. Too many syllables. Too unknown. Clorox Bleachman would be better. You can’t even fit it on the marquee in front of a theater.”
During that second interaction, Cloris came up with the potential stage name “April Claiborne” by combining her birth month with her youngest sister’s first name. (“Claiborne” was their paternal grandmother’s maiden name.)
She still wasn’t sure about making the change, though.
When I went to the Actors Studio the next day, I talked about Madame Bankhead’s rant. They all agreed with her. “You have to change your name! You have to!,” they cried. It was a unanimous opinion. So right there we got out the New York phone book. It opened it up to the Ls, closed my eyes, and the name under my finger was Leavitt. It was miraculous. That translated to “Leave it!” This is no accident, I thought. The god of monikers is talking, and he says leave it. Okay, I’ll leave it.
When I got to Hollywood, the subject came up again. People said I should not only change my name, I should have my nose shortened. I emphatically didn’t want to do either, and that’s why I’m still Cloris Leachman with a big nose.
On October 6, 1963, the Los Angeles Dodgers won the fourth and final game of the 1963 World Series against the New York Yankees. They swept the series with the help of their pitchers — Sandy Koufax, Don Drysdale, Johnny Podres, and reliever Ron Perranoski — who collectively gave up only four runs in all four games combined.
The same day, Mr. and Mrs. Eddie A. Turner of Compton, California, welcomed triplets — two boys and one girl. Several days later, they announced that they’d named the babies after Dodgers pitchers: