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Category: baby names from movies

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.


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.


Melanie Hamilton Wilkes, Gone With the Wind (1939)

After being a huge bestselling novel, Gone With the Wind was as anticipated as a new Star Wars movie today, and it sent the name Melanie skyrocketing more than 500 places in one year. When asked how she felt about playing second fiddle to Vivien Leigh, Olivia responded, “Women wanted to be Scarlett, but they named their daughters Melanie.” While a bit dated today, it has endured in popularity, in the Top 200 for more than 60 years.


A Midsummer Night’s Dream (1935)

Hermia has never left the fanciful forest. A literary one-person name associated with Shakespeare, Hermia would have been as unusual a choice in 1935 as it would today


The Adventures of Robin Hood (1939)

The legend of Robin Hood and the name of Maid Marian have been around for centuries. Quite popular in the 1930s, Marian today feels classic and stylish and would appeal to parents seeking something familiar but not too popular. Sarah Jessica Parker used the Marion spelling for her twin daughter.

Catherine, Elizabeth, Margaret and nicknames

Catherine, Elizabeth and Margaret are among the most classic and timeless of names, as common in de Havilland’s ’s time as now. It is their nicknames that cycle in and out of fashion.

Catherine “Cath” Hilton, Call It A Day (1937)

Catherine Sloper, The Heiress (1949)

Cath, along with Cathy, saw a fair amount of use in the early and mid 20th century. Today a Catherine is more likely to go by Kate or Cat/Kat.

ElizabethLibbieBacon Custer, They Died With Their Boots On (1941)

Elizabeth “Smokey” Allard, Government Girl (1943)

An Elizabeth in 1941 was more likely to go by Liz, Liza or Beth, but Libbie was not unheard of. Today’s parents are more likely to opt for Ellie or Eliza, but Libbie would be a spunky and fun choice. Elizabeth Allard’s moniker Smokey is best left for a pet.

Lady Margaret Loddon, Libel (1959)

Margie Dawson, The Well-Groomed Bride (1946)

Meg Johnson, Light in the Piazza (1962)

Olivia played various forms of the name Margaret. Meg—not usually used on its own– feels sweet and down-to-earth, via children’s book heroines Meg March and Meg Murry. Margie was modern and trendy in the 1940s, but has since become dated. The full Margaret is more commonly heard today, ranking at 154.


JosephineJodyNorris, To Each His Own (1946)

Josephine feels as classic as Catherine, Elizabeth and Margaret, but her popularity has been less constant. Popular in the early 20th century, it was falling by 1946, seen more on adults than children. It has reemerged as an on-trend vintage pick today. Jody was a new and cutting-edge name in the 1940s, but feels outdated and tired today.


Virginia Cunningham, The Snake Pit (1948)

Virginia was quite popular in the early 20th century. By 1948 it was no longer in its heyday but still in common use. Nowadays Virginia is quite uncommon and feels old-fashioned, not showing signs of revival yet.


Germaine Dupont, Countess de la Corbe, The Great Garrick (1937)

Germaine has never been common in the US, but was at the height of its usage in the 1920s and 1930s. Its foreign, aristocratic sound befits an 18th-century Parisian countess. Today it is associated primarily with feminist writer Germaine Greer.


Linnett Moore, The Proud Rebel (1958)

Linnett is an English surname with practically no use as a given name. It would have seemed odd and unfeminine to 1950s audiences, but with today’s trend for surnames and unisex-sounding names, Linnett would fit right in.


Roy Timberlake, In This Our Life (1942)

This is one boys’ name unlikely to go to the girls, especially without feminine nicknames. Roy and her film-sister Stanley’s name (borne by President Obama’s mother –and also unlikely to catch on for girls) were popular for boys in the 1940s, but are now out of fashion.


Rachel Sangalletti Ashley, My Cousin Rachel (1952)

Rachel, a biblical classic, was familiar but not commonplace when My Cousin Rachel came out, and for decades afterwards. It now feels dated to the 1980s and 1990s when it was most popular, and is more likely to be seen on an adult than a baby today.


Emmy Brown, Hold Back the Dawn (1941)

Though rarely seen on birth certificates, Emmy has long been used as a nickname for Emily and Emma. It definitely works as a standalone name, but though not popular itself, Emmy would blend in with all the other Em– names and nicknames.


Elsa Campbell, The Charge of the Light Brigade (1936)

Elsa felt dated, obscure and foreign for decades, and Olivia’s Elsa Campbell did little to help shed its fusty German image. It was the popularity of Frozen that made Elsa a smash hit—it jumped to Number 286 after the film’s release: parents of an Elsa can expect comments about the Queen of Arendelle.


Arabella Bishop, Captain Blood (1935)

Popular in the Georgian and Victorian eras, Arabella was seen little by the 1930s. Its use in older literature made it feel suited to a historical film. Now it has risen again, but is still rare enough to feel distinctive. But with the trend for frill, feminine names, and nickname options of Bella, Ella and Elle, we could be seeing more of Arabella.


Lady Penelope Gray, The Private Lives of Elizabeth and Essex (1939)

Rarely seen before the 1930s, Penelope was very fashionable and of-the-moment in 1939. Penelope Devereux, born in the 16th century, is thought to have been the first bearer of her name in England, in line with the time period of the movie. Some recent high profile celebrity picks have brought Penelope to an all-time high of Number 34.


Miriam Deering, Hush… Hush, Sweet Charlotte (1964)

Miriam has never been popular nor out of fashion, never cracking the Top 100 nor falling below 400. While traditionally chosen by Jewish parents, Miriam would be a refreshing choice for any parent looking for something familiar but unexpected.

Lauren Der is a Canadian journalism student who loves names, reading and old movies.  This is her first blog post for Nameberry.

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MArilyn Monroe character names

By Linda Rosenkrantz

Marilyn Monroe was unquestionably the sex symbol of midcentury America. And even though everyone knew she was born Norma Jean, she became big enough to be known simply as Marilyn. (Though Marilyn hasn’t caught on like other Old Hollywood stars, there has been something of a revival of Monroe, in tribute to her.) It’s interesting to take a look at the names of the characters she inhabited in her relatively short career (barely 15 years), to see which ones played on her sensual image, and which worked against it. 

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blockbuster baby names

By Abby Sandel

Memorial Day weekend marks the unofficial start of summer in the US, and that means movies.

Not just any movies, either. The summer schedule is packed with potential blockbusters – as much romance and action and intrigue as you can stuff into two hours and a bucket of popcorn.

Summer movies could inspire some spectacular baby names. Ewan MacGregor is playing a character called Peregrine Makepeace in Our Kind of Traitor, and that fabulously named quartet of Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles will also return to the big screen.

But many of the more intriguing character names this summer belong to the ladies. From history lessons to fantasy, beloved characters to newcomers, there are great girl name possibilities on the silver screen from May right through Labor Day.

Let’s take a look at the girls of summer, which could make great baby names for a daughter expected later this year.

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posted by: waltzingmorethanmatilda View all posts by this author
Bowie Personas 2

By Anna Otto, WaltzingMoreThanMatilda

Here, as promised, is the second installment of Anna Otto‘s blog on the varied David Bowie personas.


Aladdin Sane was David Bowie‘s 1973 album. Although people often forget the name of this Bowie persona (a pun on A Lad Insane), his image is one of the most memorable: a face crossed by a lightning bolt to represent a divided self. A continuation of Ziggy Stardust, it was partly inspired by David Bowie‘s brother Terry, who had been diagnosed with schizophrenia. Aladdin features in The 1001 Nights as a boy who becomes trapped in a cave by a wicked magician, but escapes with the help of a genie. A pantomime staple, it has also been made into a popular Disney film.

The name Aladdin is an Anglicised form of the Arabic name Ala Al-Din, meaning “excellent in faith”. Aladdin has been rarely used as an English name, and probably reminds people too strongly of the magical lamp.

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Harry Potter baby names

By Linda Rosenkrantz and Esmeralda Rocha

With a new Harry Potter book, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child, about to be released this summer, we thought this would be a good time to investigate just what influence, if any, J. K. Rowling’s fabulously inventive character names have had on the baby naming world, 16 years after the first book’s debut.  Here, thanks to Esita’s digging, are the scientific results:

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