Category: Atticus Finch
By Linda Rosenkrantz
It always strikes me as somewhat curious when a name that has been hidden in plain sight for decades—or longer—attached to a significant literary or real life character will suddenly pop into the zeitgeist and take off. Sometimes the contributing factors are obvious—sharing with a more recent celebrity (looking at you, Ms Johansson) or its discovery by the parents of a starbaby. And sometimes, it just remains a mystery.
Some prominent examples:
Atticus. The Harper Lee novel To Kill a Mockingbird was published in 1960, and the movie, starring Gregory Peck as principled lawyer and role-model dad Atticus Finch, was released two years later. Between then and now, the book has been a mainstay of English class curricula, working its way into the collective consciousness of future baby namers, while Atticus Finch was voted the greatest hero of American film by the AFI.
As the fiftieth anniversary of To Kill a Mockingbird is being celebrated, the thought comes to mind that it sometimes can take decades for an iconic fictional character –usually one imprinted on our minds from a classic read during our formative adolescent years—to take off as a baby name.
A prime example of this is Atticus, as in Atticus Finch, that noble lawyer/father Atticus Finch in Harper Lee’s novel, which appeared in print in 1960 and on screen in 1962, and yet didn’t make it onto the Social Security baby name list until 2004. The same is true of Holden: J.D. Salinger’s Holden Caulfield appeared in The Catcher in the Rye in 1951, but not on the pop charts until 1987. Scarlett O’Hara (GWTW book 1936, movie 1939) didn’t hit the top half of the list until 2004—when it combined with the Johanssen factor. And if we want to go back even further, it took Huckleberry well over a century to suddenly be used by a couple of celebs.
Below are some literary names from 20th century American novels and plays, a few of which, like Daisy, Owen and Ethan, have already made their comebacks, others which conceivably could, plus a few that are probably too eccentric to be condsidered.
As always there’s the caveat that not all these characters were particularly likable or noble namesakes. Some American literary names to consider, for both boys and girls, include:
ÁNTONIA — Willa Cather, My Ántonia
We’ve looked at some of the trends in movie character names of Hollywood’s Golden Age – the widespread use of nickname names and boys’ names for girls and place names. Now, here are some of the more unusual character names (and the sometimes surprising actors who portrayed them) thought up by the screenwriters—or novelists or playwrights who originally created them) of that era , as well as some that haven’t been heard of for some time and might be worth reviving.
Get ready for a looooong list, even though we haven’t included the iconic Rhetts and Ricks:
On the eve of the Academy Awards, one of our favorite bloggers, Abby Sandel, creator of the always informative appellationmountain.net, has searched through the annals of Oscar history and come up with some great lists of award-worthy male winners’ names.
Many of today’s most popular names conjure up Hollywood at its most glamorous, especially for girls. I’ve met plenty of toddlers named Audrey, Ava and Natalie. But ever since Kevin Nealon called his son Gable–as in Clark–I’ve been wondering about screen legend names for boys.
Here’s a short list culled from Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominees and winners, and the characters they played, from the 1920s through today.
EMIL (Emil Jannings won the very first Best Actor award in the 1920s.
MARCH (Fredric March was a successful actor from the 1920s to the 40s)
Fagin, Hannibal and a few other obvious bad guys aren’t on this list, but be warned–not every character is a saint. The most surprising Oscar-worthy appellation? The homespun Homer led to nominations for at least four different actors over the years.
ATTICUS (The literary powerhouse To Kill a Mockingbird was also a big screen success, with Gregory Peck playing Atticus Finch.
CHANCE (From 1979′s Being There.)
COLE (Haley Joel Osment‘s psychic grade-schooler in The Sixth Sense.)
COSMO (Roland Young played Cosmo in 1937′s Topper.)
DJAY (Terrence Howard’s character in 2005′s Hustle and Flow.)
ELLIOT (Richard Dreyfus played Elliot in 1977′s The Goodbye Girl.)
EZRA (Both Gregory Peck and Laurence Olivier have played Ezras.
GARRETT (Jack Nicholson”s role in 1983′s Terms of Endearment.)
GOWAN (Tom Conti’s role in 1983′s Reuben, Reuben.)
HOMER (A Hollywood favorite through the ages–Mickey Rooney played a Homer in 1942; 1946′s The Best Years of Our Lives included a Homer, Sidney Poitier won the Oscar for his Homer in Lillies of the Field and Melvyn Douglas played a Homer in Hud.)
JETT (James Dean was nominated posthumously for his performance as Jett in Giant.)
JUDAH (Charleton Heston nabbed the statue playing Judah Ben-Hur in 1959.)
JULES (Samuel L. Jackson‘s Pulp Fiction role.)
LASZLO (Ralph Fiennes played Laszlo in The English Patient.)
MACAULEY (James Stewart’s Oscar-winning character in The Philadelphia Story> was Macauley Conner; however, Macauley answered to Mike.
MILO (Michael Caine’s character from 1972′s Sleuth.)
NIKONAR (Christopher Walken’s character from 1978′s The Deer Hunter
OTTO (Kevin Kline’s character in A Fish Called Wanda.)
PETER (Clark Gable won his first Oscar playing Peter Warne in It Happened One Night.)
RAY (From the Ray Charles biopic.)
RUFUS (Burl Ives won for Best Supporting Actor as Rufus in 1958′s The Big Country.)