How popular is the baby name Savalas 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 Savalas.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Savalas


Posts that Mention the Name Savalas

Where did the baby name Pashen come from in 1974?

The character Pashen from the movie "Willie Dynamite" (1974).
Pashen from “Willie Dynamite

I’ve known for a while that the baby name Passion debuted impressively in 1974. Not as high as Nakia, but higher than Savalas.

  • 1976: 30 baby girls named Passion
  • 1975: 34 baby girls named Passion
  • 1974: 34 baby girls named Passion [debut]
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted

I occasionally looked for a reason, but never spent too much time on it because word-names are notoriously tricky to research.

Then I happened to discover something about the like-sounding name Pashen — which also debuted in ’74, and which I thought was merely a variant of Passion.

  • 1976: unlisted
  • 1975: 6 baby girls named Pashen
  • 1974: 9 baby girls named Pashen [debut & peak]
  • 1973: unlisted
  • 1972: unlisted

As it turns out, the blaxploitation movie Willie Dynamite, which was released nationally in early 1974, featured a female character named Pashen (played by Joyce Walker). Willie was a New York City pimp, and Pashen was one of his call girls. Here’s how Pashen’s name appears in the end credits:

pashen, spelling, willie dynamite, 1970s, movie

So: “Pashen” was the main form of the name, while “Passion” — despite being correctly spelled — was the variant form. (Other variant forms that also debuted in 1974 were Pashion and the one-hit wonder Pashun.)

Since then, though, “Passion” has emerged as the preferred spelling among expectant parents. Well over 2,000 baby girls have been named Passion since the mid-1970s, whereas only about two dozen baby girls have been named Pashen.

What are your thoughts on these names? Which spelling do you prefer?

Source: Willie Dynamite (1974) – IMDb

P.S. The actor who played Willie Dynamite, Roscoe Orman, was also Gordon on Sesame Street!

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:

 1973197419751976
Aristotelis...5*
Telly41293†277207
Savalas.30*†2613
Theo27325758
Kojak.9*†6.
*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:

1973197419751976
Azuredee..10*†7
Azure..121*†60
*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

Top boy-name debuts of all time in the U.S. baby name data (41-50)

blue bow

This week let’s finish checking out the top baby name debuts of all time.

I’ll be counting down the 50 most popular boy name debuts in five posts, from today until Friday. (I did the top girl name debuts a couple of weeks ago.) I didn’t break any ties, so this “top 50” list actually has 93 names.

I came up with explanations for as many names as I could, but I’m still stumped on a few of them. I’d love to hear your thoughts on these.

Here’s 50 to 41:

Ajee, Baylee, Itzae & Kwamaine, 4-way tie for #50

  • Ajee debuted with 29 baby boys in 1994.
    Inspired by the Revlon perfume Ajee.
  • Baylee debuted with 29 baby boys in 1995.
    Inspired by baby Baylee Almon, victim of the Oklahoma City bombing.
  • Itzae debuted with 29 baby boys in 2011.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Kwamaine debuted with 29 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by rapper Kwame Holland.

Alize, Broderick, Diamante, Hoby, Jevante, Kwamane, Larenz & Savalas, 8-way tie for #49

  • Alize debuted with 30 baby boys in 1995.
    Inspired by the liqueur Alize.
  • Broderick debuted with 30 baby boys in 1950.
    Inspired by Broderick Crawford, an actor in the movie All the King’s Men.
  • Diamante debuted with 30 baby boys in 1991.
    Inspired by the Mitsubishi Diamante (car).
  • Hoby debuted with 30 baby boys in 1958.
    Inspired by Hoby Gilman, a character on the TV western Trackdown.
  • Jevante debuted with 30 baby boys in 1992.
    Inspired by DeVante Swing, a member of Jodeci.
  • Kwamane debuted with 30 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by Kwame Holland as well.
  • Larenz debuted with 30 baby boys in 1994.
    Inspired by Larenz Tate, an actor in the movie Menace II Society.
  • Savalas debuted with 30 baby boys in 1974.
    Inspired by Telly Savalas, an actor on the TV show Kojak.

Cully, Omarian & Yul, 3-way tie for #48

  • Cully debuted with 31 baby boys in 1960.
    Inspired (in part) by Cully Wilson, a character on the TV show Lassie.
  • Omarian debuted with 31 baby boys in 2002.
    Inspired by singer Omarion.
  • Yul debuted with 31 baby boys in 1957.
    Inspired by Yul Brenner, an actor in the movie The Ten Commandments.

Cauy, Kesan, Khari, Kinta, Maverick, Roemello & Shaquel, 7-way tie for #47

  • Cauy debuted with 32 baby boys in 1999.
    Inspired by professional bull rider Cauy Hudson.
  • Kesan debuted with 32 baby boys in 2008.
    Inspired by Kesan, a contestant on the reality TV show From G’s to Gents.
  • Khari debuted with 32 baby boys in 1971.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Kinta debuted with 32 baby boys in 1977.
    Inspired by Kunta Kinte, a character on the TV miniseries Roots.
  • Maverick debuted with 32 baby boys in 1957.
    Inspired by Bret Maverick, a character on the TV western Maverick.
  • Roemello debuted with 32 baby boys in 1994.
    Inspired by Roemello Skuggs, a character in the movie Sugar Hill.
  • Shaquel debuted with 32 baby boys in 1993.
    Inspired by basketball player Shaquille O’Neal.

Tou, #46

  • Tou debuted with 33 baby boys in 1980.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by Hmong immigration. (Thanks, Christina!)

Yuvin, #45

  • Yuvin debuted with 34 baby boys in 2016.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.

Caelan, Caillou, Daren, Illya, Kiefer & Quamaine, 6-way tie for #44

  • Caelan debuted with 35 baby boys in 1992.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Caillou debuted with 35 baby boys in 2001.
    Inspired by Caillou, a character on the children’s TV show Caillou.
  • Daren debuted with 35 baby boys in 1922.
    Inspired by Daren Lane, a character in the Zane Grey book The Day of the Beast.
  • Illya debuted with 35 baby boys in 1965.
    Inspired by Illya Kuryakin, a character on the TV show The Man from U.N.C.L.E..
  • Kiefer debuted with 35 baby boys in 1988.
    Inspired by Kiefer Sutherland, an actor in the movie Young Guns.
  • Quamaine debuted with 35 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by Kwame Holland as well.

Argenis, Corderro, Jelani, Kareen & Livan, 5-way tie for #43

  • Argenis debuted with 36 baby boys in 1981.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by either singer Argenis Carruyo or actor Argenis Chirivela, not sure yet…
  • Corderro debuted with 36 baby boys in 1986.
    Inspired by Cordero Roberts, a character on the soap opera One Life to Live.
  • Jelani debuted with 36 baby boys in 1973.
    I’m not sure what inspired it. Inspired by a list of African names in the newspapers.
  • Kareen debuted with 36 baby boys in 1972.
    Inspired by basketball player Kareem Abdul-Jabbar.
  • Livan debuted with 36 baby boys in 1997.
    Inspired by baseball player Livan Hernandez.

Deyonta, Tahj & Zeandre, 3-way tie for #42

  • Deyonta debuted with 37 baby boys in 1993.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.
  • Tahj debuted with 37 baby boys in 1989.
    Inspired by singer Tajh Abdulsamad, a member of The Boys.
  • Zeandre debuted with 37 baby boys in 1997.
    I’m not sure what inspired it.

Hobson & Llewyn, 2-way tie for #41

  • Hobson debuted with 38 baby boys in 1898.
    Inspired by Spanish-American War POW Richmond Hobson.
  • Llewyn debuted with 38 baby boys in 2014.
    Inspired by the movie Inside Llewyn Davis.

Do you have any ideas about where Zeandre, Deyonta, Jelani, Caelan, Yuvin, Tou, Khari, or Itzae might have come from?

More of the top 50 baby name debuts for boys: 50-41, 40-31, 30-21, 20-11, 10-1

[Latest update: 7/2021]