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This week, Appellation Mountain’s Abby Sandel flashes back to the Golden Age of Hollywood to look at some cool  celebrity baby names of the past.

Oscar-winning actress Natalie Portman and husband Benjamin Millepied have yet to officially release the name of their newborn son.  Could it be a new trend with celebrity baby names?  Fellow celeb parents Penélope Cruz and Javier Bardem never announced their son’s name, and neither did Isla Fisher and Sacha Baron Cohen, though in both cases, the news leaked out.  Mariah Carey and Nick Cannon dropped hints about their twins’ names for days before we all learned that their little ones were called Monroe and Moroccan.

Can you blame them?  Whether the parents opt for something as traditional as James or as unusual as Pilot, their choice is discussed, rated, and thoroughly dissected, along with their choice of stroller, nursery décor, and baby clothes.

Things were a little different in Hollywood’s Golden Age.  Studios reportedly wrote clauses into their stars’ contracts, penalizing them for becoming pregnant.  While the pressure was greater for women, some men also feared that fatherhood could have a negative impact on their ability to land roles as a leading man.

Actors Loretta Young and Clark Gable had a daughter together in 1935 – but Gable was married to someone else.  Young hid her pregnancy with a hiatus in Europe, then stage-managed an “adoption” of her daughter months later.

When Ingrid Bergman – Oscar-nominated for roles as a nun and a saint – started an affair with director Roberto Rossellini, the scandal was epic. Ed Sullivan declined to have her on his show.

And yet, whether we were barely tolerant of celebrities’ roles as parents or interested in them beyond reason, one thing remains the same: actors tend to choose interesting names for their children.  This list of names, most representing children born from the 1930s into the 1960s, would be perfectly acceptable for starbabies born today.

Their power as trendsetters was no less powerful.  Both Errol Flynn and Audrey Hepburn had sons called SeanSean entered the US Top 1000 two years after Flynn’s son was born in 1941, and took another big leap after Hepburn’s Sean debuted in 1960.  The pattern repeats for many of these names.

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Nameberry Picks: 12 Best Glamour Girl Names

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From the early days of silent pictures to the present day, a sprinkling of stardust has stuck to the names of some of the most iconic glamour girls. Whether their allure was sexy or serene, these superstars’ names make Nameberry’s top dozen.

Audrey– The radiant Belgian-born actress (born Edda), style icon and humanitarian lent a luminous glow to her name– an Old English saint’s appellation– which is being appreciated anew by modern parents, who have brought it into the Top 50.

Ava – One of the great hits of the decade, Ava still calls up the image of sultry Hollywood beauty Ava Gardner.  Beginning with Heather Locklear, and Reese Witherspoon and  Ryan Phillipe in the late 90s,  it’s has been a wildly popular celebrity fave.

BrigitteBrigitte Bardot, saucy French ‘sex kitten’ of the 1950s, left a permanent imprint on her alliterative full name—in fact one current celebrity has used her surname for his daughter.

Charlize—Contemporary actress Charlize Theron was born in South Africa to parents of German, French and Dutch ancestry, and was given her distinctive name in honor of her father, Charles. It has just started to be used in this country in the past few years, with that ‘z’ adding sizzle to Charlie.

GretaEarly film icon Greta Garbo had an exotic and mysterious aura which still clings to her name.  A German diminutive of Margarethe, Greta has been used for their daughters by David Caruso, and by Phoebe Cates and Kevin Kline.

Harlow—This is one rare case where the last name is more glamorous than the first—Jean—of the sensual 1930s Platinum Blonde. Patricia Arquette was the first to use it for her daughter, followed by Nicole Richie and Joel Madden—and it’s sure to catch on with other parents.

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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:

GIRLS

AGATHA —  Joan Crawford

ALBANY —  Dorothy Lamour

ALBERTINE —  Gene Tierney

ALGERIA  —  Linda Darnell

ARIANE —  Audrey Hepburn

BIJOU —  Marlene Dietrich

CINZIA —  Sophia Loren

CLARA —  Marilyn Monroe

CORLISS —  Shirley Temple

CRICKET —  Judy Garland

DINAH —  Shirley Temple

DOMINI —  Marlene Dietrich

DRUE —  Barbara Stanwyck

ELIZA —  Audrey Hepburn

ESTHER —  Judy Garland (twice)

EUGENIA —  Barbara Stanwyck

EUGENIE —  Loretta Young

FAY —  Joan Crawford

FRANZI — Claudetter Colbert

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I’ve always been intrigued with the names of the characters played by movie stars, especially the iconic figures of the Golden Age—the interplay between actor and character name, and the roles those names played in establishing and perpetuating their screen personas.

It certainly comes as no surprise that John Wayne played numerous heroes named John and Jim or that Cary Grant portrayed three Nicks or how many good girl Pollys and Pennys there were, played by the likes of the young Shirley Temple and Judy Garland.  But there were a lot of interesting aberrations– for example, though to most of us Clark Gable will always be Rhett Butler, he was also Ace, Blackie (twice), Candy, Duke and Patch; Humphrey Bogart may live on eternally in video heaven as Rick, but he also answered to Baby Face, Bugs, Turkey, Duke, Gloves, Chips and Rocks, Joan Crawford was Bingo as well as Mildred Pierce, and Bette Davis was Fluff Phillips as well as Margo Channing.

Looking over some vintage cast credits, one thing that jumps out is the number of current trends that were anticipated in the movies of the 1930s, forties and fifties.  For example:

NICKNAME NAMES

In addition to those mentioned above, there were:

ACECary Grant

AGGIE —  Linda Darnell

ALLIEJoan Crawford

ARCHIEClark Gable

BUCKJack Benny

BUNNYBette Davis,  Katharine Hepburn and Lana Turner

BUSTERLoretta Young

CHIPFrank Sinatra

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