How popular is the baby name Tab 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 Tab.

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Popularity of the Baby Name Tab


Posts that Mention the Name Tab

Why didn’t Cloris Leachman change her name?

Actress Cloris Leachman (1926-2021)
Cloris Leachman

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.

Cloris Leachman’s name may not have been as trendy-sounding as “Lana Turner” or “Piper Laurie,” but it certainly wasn’t an impediment to her career, which lasted more than seven decades. She appeared in nearly 100 films (like The Last Picture Show), dozens of TV movies (such as A Girl Named Sooner), and well over 100 TV shows (including Johnny Staccato, Rawhide, Outlaws, Shirley Temple’s Storybook, The Loretta Young Show, Gunsmoke, The Twilight Zone, Route 66, Wagon Train, Stoney Burke, 77 Sunset Strip, A Man Called Shenandoah, The Big Valley, Mannix, and The Virginian).

Her first name, a variant spelling of the ancient Greek name Chloris (meaning “greenish-yellow, pale green”), is closely related to the name Chloe (meaning “green shoot”).

What are your thoughts on the name Cloris?

Sources:

Where did the baby name Mannix come from in 1967?

The character Joe Mannix from the TV show "Mannix" (1967-1975).
Joe Mannix from “Mannix”

The main character of the memorably violent TV series Mannix was Los Angeles private investigator Joseph “Joe” Mannix (played by Mike Connors). The show premiered in 1967 and, the same year, the baby name Mannix debuted in the U.S. baby name data:

  • 1969: 9 baby boys named Mannix
  • 1968: 13 baby boys named Mannix
  • 1967: 7 baby boys named Mannix [debut]
  • 1966: unlisted
  • 1965: unlisted

The name remained in the data while the show was on the air, but disappeared after the series was canceled in 1975.

It didn’t stay away long, though. In fact, it’s been a regular in the data since actress Angelina Jolie made the like-sounding name Maddox trendy.

So what does Mannix mean? It’s an Anglicized Irish surname meaning “descendant of Manachán” — Manachán being a personal named derived from the Gaelic word manach, meaning “monk.”

Do you like the name Mannix? Do you like it more or less than Maddox?

Sources:

  • Hanks, Patrick. (Ed.) Dictionary of American Family Names. New York: Oxford University Press, 2003.
  • Mannix – Wikipedia

P.S. Mike Connors’ legal name was Krekor Ohanian. (He was of Armenian descent.) His agent, Henry Willson — famous for re-naming actors like Tab Hunter and Rock Hudson — gave him the stage name “Touch Connors” at the start of his career. (“Touch” was a nickname the actor had acquired on the basketball court.) Connors disliked the name, but it wasn’t until later in his career that he was permitted to change “Touch” to “Mike.”

What turned Bronco into a baby name?

bronco lane, western, television,
Ty Hardin as Bronco Layne

The unlikely name Bronco first popped up in the U.S. baby name data in 1960:

  • 1962: unlisted
  • 1961: unlisted
  • 1960: 5 baby boys named Bronco [debut]
  • 1959: unlisted
  • 1958: unlisted

Around the same time, the streamlined name Ty became markedly more popular:

  • 1963: 372 baby boys named Ty [rank: 417th]
  • 1962: 357 baby boys named Ty [rank: 423rd]
  • 1961: 323 baby boys named Ty [rank: 452nd]
  • 1960: 254 baby boys named Ty [rank: 495th]
  • 1959: 188 baby boys named Ty [rank: 571st]
  • 1958: 82 baby boys named Ty [rank: 831st]
  • 1957: 64 baby boys named Ty [rank: 952nd]

Both names were influenced by the same thing: TV western Bronco (1958-1962), which starred actor Ty Hardin as former Confederate officer Bronco Layne.

(The names Layne and Lane also saw upticks in usage in 1959 specifically.)

Ty Hardin was initially hired to play Bronco Layne on the series Cheyenne while there was a contract dispute going on between Warner Brothers and Cheyenne star Clint Walker. After the dispute ended and Clint returned to Cheyenne, the company decided to create a spin-off series featuring Hardin’s character.

So why was the character called “Bronco”? Here’s what the show’s theme song said: “There ain’t a horse that he can’t handle, that’s how he got his name.”

And how did Ty Hardin get his name? It wasn’t from his parents; his birth name was Orison Whipple Hungerford. Here’s one explanation:

He took the name Ty Hardin — according to some news accounts, Ty was short for a childhood nickname, Typhoon, and Hardin was a reference to the western outlaw John Wesley Hardin — after signing with Warner Bros.

Another explanation is simply that his agent was Henry Willson, who had a knack for coining catchy stage names (e.g., Rock Hudson, Tab Hunter).

Sources: Bronco (TV series) – Wikipedia, Ty Hardin, rugged actor who played Bronco Layne in TV westerns, dies at 87

Initials that spell names

In June of 1982, the Toledo Blade ran a short article about two local brothers who “enjoy the distinction of having initials which spell their names.” One was Thomas Owen Matzinger (T.O.M.), the other was James Irvin Matzinger (J.I.M.). Their dad Mike said it was “just as well” that he didn’t have any more kids, because he couldn’t think of any other sets of names to fit the pattern.

My guess is that Mike was joking, because there are several other sets of initials that could work with an M-surname like Matzinger, one of which, T.I.M., is just a letter away from T.O.M.

In fact, there are at least a couple of combinations that would work with every type of surname.

So today, in honor of the Matzingers of Toledo, I’ve come up with a long list of name-spelling initials. They’re sorted by third initial (that is, the first letter of the last name) so you can scroll straight to the set that matches up with your own surname.

Enjoy!

Initials that Spell Names & Nicknames

Surname starts with:Potential full initials (& example combo):
AA.D.A. (Adelaide Diane A.)
A.N.A. (Anastasia Nadine A.)
A.S.A. (Asa Scott A.)
A.V.A. (Ava Virginia A.)
B.E.A. (Beatrix Elaine A.)
E.V.A. (Eva Veronica A.)
G.I.A. (Gia Idonea A.)
I.D.A. (Idabelle Daria A.)
I.N.A. (Ina Nigella A.)
I.R.A. (Ira Ralph A.)
I.S.A. (Isabel Simone A.)
K.I.A. (Kia Ianthe A.)
L.E.A. (Leah Elizabeth A.)
M.I.A. (Mia Imelda A.)
N.I.A. (Nia Ilona A.)
O.D.A. (Odalys Delfina A.)
O.R.A. (Ora Ruth A.)
U.M.A. (Uma Magnolia A.)
U.N.A. (Una Normina A.)
BD.E.B. (Deborah Ethel B.)
J.E.B. (Jeb Evan B.)
L.I.B. (Libbie Ione B.)
R.O.B. (Robert Orville B.)
S.E.B. (Sebastian Everly B.)
S.Y.B. (Sybil Yvette B.)
T.A.B. (Tabitha Araminta B.)
Z.E.B. (Zebulon Ezekiel B.)
CB.E.C. (Becky Eowyn C.)
M.A.C. (Mackenzie Anne C.)
N.I.C. (Nicole Isabelle C.)
V.I.C. (Victor Ivan C.)
Z.A.C. (Zackary Arlo C.)
DJ.E.D. (Jedidiah Easton D.)
R.O.D. (Rodney Orrin D.)
T.E.D. (Theodora Eugenia D.)
Z.E.D. (Zedekiah Ezra D.)
EA.B.E. (Abraham Benjamin E.)
A.C.E. (Ace Corbin E.)
E.V.E. (Eve Violet E.)
F.A.E. (Fae Adina E.)
I.K.E. (Isaac Keith E.)
J.O.E. (Joseph Owen E.)
L.E.E. (Lee Ethan E.)
M.A.E. (Maebelle Alice E.)
M.O.E. (Morris Oscar E.)
R.A.E. (Raelene Alicia E.)
S.U.E. (Susan Ursula E.)
Z.O.E. (Zoe Ocean E.)
FA.L.F. (Alfred Leonard F.)
D.U.F. (Duffy Ultan F.)
J.E.F. (Jeffrey Elliott F.)
GM.E.G. (Megan Emiliana G.)
P.E.G. (Peggy Elise G.)
R.E.G. (Reggie Elmo G.)
R.O.G. (Roger Olav G.)
HA.S.H. (Ashton Samuel H.)
IA.B.I. (Abigail Bailey I.)
A.L.I. (Alison Layla I.)
A.M.I. (Ami May I.)
A.R.I. (Ariana Rafaela I.)
A.V.I. (Avi Vincent I.)
E.D.I. (Edith Daisy I.)
E.L.I. (Elijah Logan I.)
E.V.I. (Evie Venetia I.)
J.O.I. (Joi Olivia I.)
K.A.I. (Kai Alexander I.)
O.L.I. (Oliver Lennox I.)
JR.A.J. (Rajesh Ajay J.)
KM.A.K. (Makayla Ashley K.)
O.A.K. (Oakley Atlas K.)
LC.A.L. (Callum Audley L.)
D.E.L. (Delaney Estelle L.)
G.I.L. (Gilbert Ishmael L.)
H.A.L. (Harry Archibald L.)
L.I.L. (Lillian Iva L.)
M.A.L. (Malcolm Angus L.)
M.E.L. (Melanie Eloisa L.)
M.O.L. (Molly Odette L.)
S.A.L. (Sally Angelica L.)
S.O.L. (Solomon Osborn L.)
V.A.L. (Valerie Annette L.)
W.I.L. (Willy Ingo L.)
Z.E.L. (Zelda Erin L.)
MC.A.M. (Cameron Aidan M.)
D.O.M. (Dominic Orson M.)
J.E.M. (Jemima Eleanor M.)
J.I.M. (James Irvin M.)
K.I.M. (Kimberly Imogene M.)
L.E.M. (Lemuel Emerson M.)
P.A.M. (Pamela Alys M.)
R.A.M. (Ramsey Archer M.)
S.A.M. (Samuel Aaron M.)
S.I.M. (Simon Isidore M.)
T.A.M. (Tammy Anita M.)
T.I.M. (Timothy Isaac M.)
T.O.M. (Thomas Owen M.)
NA.N.N. (Annie Nuala N.)
B.E.N. (Benjamin Ellis N.)
C.Y.N. (Cynthia Yelena N.)
D.A.N. (Daniel Avery N.)
D.O.N. (Donovan Oliver N.)
F.I.N. (Finley Ivor N.)
J.A.N. (Janice Andrina N.)
J.O.N. (Jonathan Octavian N.)
K.E.N. (Kenneth Eric N.)
L.E.N. (Leonard Earl N.)
L.Y.N. (Lynnette Yasmin N.)
N.A.N. (Nancy Azalea N.)
R.E.N. (Renato Elian N.)
R.O.N. (Ronald Ormond N.)
V.A.N. (Vanessa Athena N.)
W.I.N. (Winifred Inez N.)
Z.E.N. (Zenobia Evelyn N.)
OF.L.O. (Florence Lily O.)
L.E.O. (Leo Elton O.)
PC.A.P. (Caprice Amity P.)
K.I.P. (Kip Indigo P.)
QJ.A.Q. (Jaquan Anthony Q.)
R.A.Q. (Raquel Alaiah Q.)
RG.A.R. (Gareth Alfie R.)
SC.A.S. (Caspian Atticus S.)
G.U.S. (Gustavo Ulises S.)
J.E.S. (Jessica Esther S.)
L.E.S. (Lester Edward S.)
R.U.S. (Russell Upton S.)
W.E.S. (Wesley Elwood S.)
TA.R.T. (Arthur Roland T.)
C.A.T. (Catherine Aveline T.)
D.O.T. (Dorothy Olive T.)
M.A.T. (Matthew Alastair T.)
N.A.T. (Nathan Arnold T.)
P.A.T. (Patricia Ainsley T.)
UL.O.U. (Louisa Ophelia U.)
P.R.U. (Prudence Rhoda U.)
S.T.U. (Stuart Tucker U.)
T.R.U. (Trudie Rose U.)
VB.E.V. (Beverly Evangeline V.)
L.I.V. (Livia Indiana V.)
N.E.V. (Neville Eldon V.)
V.I.V. (Vivian Ingrid V.)
WL.A.W. (Lawson Amos W.)
L.E.W. (Lewis Edgar W.)
XB.A.X. (Baxter Andrew X.)
D.A.X. (Dax Alec X.)
D.E.X. (Dexter Edison X.)
J.A.X. (Jaxon Antony X.)
L.E.X. (Lexie Eliza X.)
M.A.X. (Maximus Alvin X.)
P.A.X. (Pax Amelia X.)
R.E.X. (Rex Elias X.)
R.O.X. (Roxanna Opal X.)
T.E.X. (Tex Emmanuel X.)
YA.M.Y. (Amy Michelle Y.)
G.U.Y. (Guy Urban Y.)
I.V.Y. (Ivy Verity Y.)
J.A.Y. (Jay Adam Y.)
J.O.Y. (Joyce Ondina Y.)
K.A.Y. (Katherine Addison Y.)
M.A.Y. (May Augusta Y.)
R.A.Y. (Raymond Adrian Y.)
R.O.Y. (Royce Oberon Y.)
S.K.Y. (Skylar Kerry Y.)
ZH.E.Z. (Hezekiah Ellery Z.)
J.E.Z. (Jezebel Eulalia Z.)
L.I.Z. (Lizzie Iris Z.)
K.I.Z. (Kizzy Isla Z.)
R.O.Z. (Rosalind Olga Z.)

Can you come up with other good ones? If so, please leave a comment!

Source: “So Named.” Toledo Blade 29 Jun. 1982: P-1.

What turned Tab into a baby name in 1953?

Actor Tab Hunter (1931-2018)
Tab Hunter

American actor Tab Hunter isn’t really named Tab Hunter. His real name is Arthur Gelien. According to Tab’s autobiography, his unique stage name was coined by Hollywood talent agent Henry Willson.*

Exasperated, Henry finally said, “C’mon, we’ve got to tab him something.” He thought…for about two more seconds. “Hey, that’s not bad,” he announced. “Tab.”

As soon as Tab Hunter’s acting career started taking off in the early 1950s, parents began naming their sons Tab:

  • 1962: 44 boys named Tab
  • 1961: 52 boys named Tab
  • 1960: 66 boys named Tab (rank: 937th)
  • 1959: 89 boys named Tab (rank: 813th)
  • 1958: 82 boys named Tab (rank: 831st)
  • 1957: 120 boys named Tab (rank: 698th)
  • 1956: 68 boys named Tab (rank: 907th)
  • 1955: 43 boys named Tab
  • 1954: 13 boys named Tab
  • 1953: 6 boys named Tab [debut]
  • 1952: unlisted

That spike in ’57 can likely be attributed to a song — Tab’s version of “Young Love,” which hit the #1 spot on several different Billboard charts in 1957.

The soft drink TaB was introduced in 1963, but the drink wasn’t named for the actor, and its introduction didn’t seem to affect the usage of Tab as a baby name.

Dozens of babies continued to be named Tab every year until the early ’70s. The name last appeared on the SSA’s baby name list in the ’90s.

*Henry Willson invented snappy names for many of his clients. He turned Robert Mosely into Guy Madison, Roy Fitzgerald into Rock Hudson (inspired by the Rock of Gibraltar and the Hudson River), Francis Durgin into Rory Calhoun, Merle Johnson into Troy Donahue, and redhead Marilyn Louis into Rhonda Fleming (“Fleming sounds like flaming, plays up her hair”).

Sources:

  • Hunter, Tab and Eddie Muller. Tab Hunter Confidential: The Making of a Movie Star. Chapel Hill: Algonquin Books, 2006.
  • Hofler, Robert. The Man Who Invented Rock Hudson: The Pretty Boys and Dirty Deals of Henry Willson. New York: Carroll & Graf Publishers, 2006.