The distinctive name Zsazsa debuted in the U.S. baby name data in 1957:
1959: 12 baby girls named Zsazsa
1958: 5 baby girls named Zsazsa
1957: 6 baby girls named Zsazsa [debut]
The source, of course, is glamorous Hungarian-born Zsa Zsa (pronounced zhah zhah) Gábor.
It’s hard to know what caused the debut specifically, but it probably wasn’t the movies. More likely it was Zsa Zsa’s many TV appearances in 1956 and 1957. She was on The Milton Berle Show, The Herb Shriner Show, The Tennessee Ernie Ford Show, The Rosemary Clooney Show, and other shows.
Her birth name was Sári (pronounced SHAH-ree) Gábor. She was named after Hungarian stage actress Sári “Zsazsa” Fedak, whose nickname came from her young daughter’s mispronunciation of her first name.
Katinka, Sari, Ella, Mici, Terka, Liza and Klara were the names of the seven sisters in the lost silent film The Seven Sisters (1915), which was based on a Hungarian play.
A 1916 advertisement for the movie, which was a vehicle for silent film actress Marguerite Clark, offered the following summary:
The story is as simple and as sweet and dainty as Little Marguerite herself. She is the fourth of a family of seven sisters. Under an old Hungarian marriage law she must not marry until the elder sisters have gone off. How she and her lover clear the way with the aid of that young man’s marriageable friends affords scope for some delightful comedy amid the quaintest and most beautiful old-world surroundings ever portrayed.
The names Katinka, Sari, Ella, Mici, Terka, Liza and Klara are Hungarian versions (or diminutives of Hungarian versions) of the names Katherine, Sarah, Eleanor (or some other El- or -ella name), Mitzi, Theresa, Elizabeth and Clara.
And now for today’s question…which Hungarian girl name do you like best? Why?
Bacon, George Vaux. “Seven Sisters.” Photoplay Magazine Sept. 1915: 112-120.