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Category: Judy Garland

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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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