How popular is the baby name Movita in the United States right now? How popular was it historically? Find out using the graph below! Plus, check out all the blog posts that mention the name Movita.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Movita

Posts that Mention the Name Movita

Where did the baby name Towana come from?

The character Towana from the movie "Wolf Call" (1939).
Towana from “Wolf Call

The name Towana first appeared in the U.S. baby name data in 1940:

  • 1942: unlisted
  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: 5 baby girls named Towana [debut]
  • 1939: unlisted
  • 1938: unlisted

Where did it come from?

The film Wolf Call (1939), which featured a female character named Towana (played by actress Movita).

The protagonist of the movie was spoiled New York City playboy Michael Vance. His father sent him to the remote Canadian Northwest to evaluate a family-owned radium mine (and also to change his ways). While there, he fell in love with native girl Towana, whose name he didn’t quite get when they first met:

Towana: “I am Towana”
Michael: “Towana? What’s that?”
Towana: “It’s a name.”

What are your thoughts on the name Towana?

Where did the baby name Franchot come from?

Franchot Tone, 1930s
Franchot Tone

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 on the SSA’s baby name list 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?

Source: Franchot Tone – Wikipedia

Babies Named after Oprah’s Boyfriend?

Stedman on Oprah, 1989
Stedman on Oprah, 1989

According to Wikipedia, Stedman Graham is an “educator, author, businessman and speaker.” But without Wikipedia’s help, how would you describe Stedman? That’s right: “Oprah’s boyfriend.”

Oprah began dating Stedman in mid-1986, a few months before The Oprah Winfrey Show premiered. We’ve already seen how the baby name Oprah debuted on the national list that year, but did you know that the talk show gave the baby name Stedman a boost as well?

  • 1991: 28 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1990: 38 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1989: 82 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1988: 29 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1987: 20 baby boys named Stedman
  • 1986: unlisted

Not only did Stedman reappear on the national baby name list in 1987 after a 48-year absence, but the variant names Steadman, Stedmen, Stedmon and Stedmond all followed suit in 1988.

And what accounts for the Stedman spike of 1989?

In February of that year, Stedman appeared as a guest on The Oprah Winfrey Show for the first time. The episode was about “men who marry or date famous women, and how they cope with it.” The other guests were actress Susan Lucci and her husband Helmut, and singer Barbara Mandrell and her husband Ken. (Here’s the episode, if you want to watch.)

While usage of the name Stedman has tapered off since 1989, the relationship between Oprah and Stedman is still going strong nearly 3 decades later. They attended the Oscars together last month, in fact.

Stedman is one several “significant other” baby names I’ve spotted on the SSA’s baby name list so far. Others include Josanne, Movita and Tarita (all associated with Marlon Brando), Syreeta and Londie (both associated with Stevie Wonder), Loray and Altovise (both associated with Sammy Davis, Jr.), one-hit wonder Kayatana (girlfriend of Flip Wilson), Marva (first wife of Joe Louis) and Sonji (first wife of Muhammad Ali). Stedman is unique, though, in that it’s a male name that was popularized by a famous female — not a common scenario, it seems.

Sources: Stedman Graham – Wikipedia, Oprah’s Beau Drops In Her Main Squeeze Meets Star’s Tv ‘Family’

Where did the baby name Tarita come from in 1961?

Tarita Teri'ipaia, actress originally from Bora Bora.
Tarita Teri’ipia © 1961 LIFE

In 1962, Brando swapped Movita for Tarita.

Brando divorced his second wife, Movita, to be with his Mutiny on the Bounty (1962) co-star, 20-year-old Bora Bora native Tarita Teri’ipia. Their common-law marriage lasted from 1962 to 1972.

Tarita Teriipia had been making headlines since early 1961. (A LIFE article published in March dubbed her the “Cinderella of the South Seas.”) So it’s not surprising that 1961 is the year we see the name Tarita debut on the SSA’s baby name list:

  • 1963: 31 baby girls named Tarita
  • 1962: 19 baby girls named Tarita
  • 1961: 29 baby girls named Tarita [debut]
  • 1960: unlisted
  • 1959: unlisted

No doubt the initial usage was due to the movie (and the press surrounding the movie). But the continued usage was likely influenced by Tarita’s relationship with Brando, as she didn’t appear in any films after Mutiny on the Bounty.

About 200 more babies were named Tarita in the ’70s and ’80s, but the name stopped appearing in the SSA’s data after 1989.

Source: “Cinderella of the South Seas.” LIFE Magazine 17 Mar. 1961: 65-68.

Where did the baby name Movita come from?

motiva, mutiny on the bounty, 1935

Actress Maria “Movita” Castaneda, often billed simply as Movita, was Marlon Brando’s second wife. Her nickname Movita appeared on the SSA’s baby name list for two short periods of time. The first was 1938-1940:

  • 1941: unlisted
  • 1940: 8 baby girls named Movita
  • 1939: 12 baby girls named Movita
  • 1938: 10 baby girls named Movita [debut]
  • 1937: unlisted
  • 1936: unlisted

She’d been appearing in films like Mutiny on the Bounty (1935) since the early ’30s, but in the late ’30s she was getting extra press because of her relationship with Irish boxer/entertainer Jack Doyle. She married Doyle in 1939, but they divorced in 1944.

Movita married Marlon Brando in 1960, after his first marriage to Anna Kashfi had ended. The marriage didn’t last long, but the association with Brando gave Movita’s name another boost:

  • 1965: unlisted
  • 1964: 6 baby girls named Movita
  • 1963: 6 baby girls named Movita
  • 1962: 6 baby girls named Movita
  • 1961: unlisted

Brando left Movita in 1962 to be with the woman who would soon become his third wife, Tarita.

In a crazy coincidence, he met wife #3 while filming Mutiny on the Bounty (1962), a remake of the 1935 movie Movita had starred in.