As far as classic Hollywood cinema goes, it’s superstars like Grace Kelly (Grace is currently at Number 21) and Ava (Number 5) Gardner, and leading men like Errol Flynn (Flynn was used by celebri-couple Orlando Bloom and Miranda Kerr, and in the past two years has leapt from obscurity to Number 692) and Gary Cooper (Cooper’s at 83 in the U.S. and Number 11 in Australia!) whose names have most begun to influence current naming trends–and deservedly so. Hollywood’s Golden Era was chockful of enticingly simple, yet feminine girls’ names and strong, capable boys’ monikers; it’s no wonder they’ve recently been in the spotlight.
But the age of shoulder pads and pin curls and chinchilla coats was not only about the glamorous actors and actresses. Behind the scenes were the directors who helped make those stars into legends, and they happen to have had some very interesting names as well. In addition to vintage standards like Alfred (Hitchcock) and Frank (Capra), there were also such contemporary sounding appellations as King and Zion! Although I would have liked to include more female names, the truth is that before such modern icons as Sofia Coppola and Nora Ephron, women directors in the American film industry were a rare breed. I did, however, manage to find a couple of talented ladies, and their names are listed here as well.
In the following compilation of directors, you’ll notice that there are quite a few European-influenced names: Anatole and Elia, Emeric and Ernst, Vincente and Zoltan. Many filmmakers fled Europe during the Second World War for the United States in order to have more autonomy over their films; Ernst Lubitsch and Fritz Lang both escaped Nazi Germany to maintain that freedom. During the 1920’s, an influx of mostly Jewish immigrants from central Europe came into Hollywood, and because they weren’t part of the typical Victorian thought processes of the time, were able to experiment more with “controversial” themes and give audiences what they wanted. Consequently, these foreign-born filmmakers became highly influential, and soon came to dominate the film industry.
Below, my picks for the best names of prominent film directors in the 1930’s and 40s. Lights, camera, action!
Lloyd Corrigan (Corrigan could be a creative choice for either a boy or a girl)
William A. Wellman