Category: Gone With The Wind names

Happy 100th Birthday, Olivia!

Olivia de Havilland salute

By Lauren Der

Olivia has been the second most popular girls’ name in the US for the two years running, and Golden Age Hollywood star Olivia de Havilland was one of the first people to bring it to prominence here decades ago. The last surviving star of Gone With the Wind, we salute her as she celebrates her 100th birthday today.

The name Olivia has long been popular apart from the actress’s fame. De Havilland’s actress mother named her after Olivia in Shakespeare’s Twelfth Night. Her sister, actress Joan Fontaine, began calling her Livvie as a child, a nickname that stuck throughout her life. Despite the star’s popularity, her name didn’t spike through the height of her fame in the 30s and 40s, reaching the Top 10 only in 2001.

Here, a look at the names of the characters Olivia De Havilland played. Are any of them as appealing as Olivia itself?

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These Names are Not Gone With the Wind

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 Some authors have a genuine knack for character naming, usually spread over their entire oeuvre. In the case of Margaret Mitchell, it was all focused on her only novel–Gone With the Wind–whose character names still resonate today. The 1933 book (almost titled Tomorrow is Another Day) was an unprecedented smash, selling 30 million copies and winning a Pulitzer Prize, as was the movie, released in 1939 and receiving a then-record ten Oscars. Its frequent revivals and TV screenings have kept it alive for later generations.  So how have its characters’ names fared for babies over the years?

MAIN CHARACTERS

SCARLETT O’Hara. For four years following the debut of the film, Scarlett sneaked onto the bottom edge of the Social Security list. It took a glamorous young, modern movie star–Ms. Johansson–to propel it to the upper echelons. A stylish color name, it’s now in the Top 300 and sure to move higher.

RHETT Butler. So closely connected to the Clark Gable persona, it took Rhett a long time to make it into the mainstream, which it finally started to do in the fifties, along with similar names like Brett and Brent, all of which have pretty much faded.

ASHLEY Wilkes. At the time of the book’s writing, Ashley was very much a Southern gentleman’s name. It wasn’t until the early 1980’s that it really crossed the genderline, when it started to appear as female characters on soap operas like The Young and the Restless. Margaret Mitchell would have been shocked to see it beome the #1 girls’ name in America in 1991.

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