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Category: Natalie Portman baby

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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 Week in Review: Debut issue

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As promised, here is our first Week in Review by Abby Sandel–creator of the wonderful AppellationMountain blog– bringing you a roundup of the latest baby name news of the week every Monday  from hereon in.

Early January brought round-ups of The Most Popular Names of 2010, at least according to a host of informal polls and results from individual hospitals. It makes for a quirky assortment of headlines. Lauren is still holding on in Caledonia, Minnesota, despite falling for decades elsewhere.   The gems, of course, are the articles that mention the truly unusual choices, like Ged Spartacus and Hunni Princess, British babies born in 2010 according to an article by Hertfordshire’s The Watford Observer.

Just as we’d exhausted regional Top Tens, Pope VXI conveniently made a comment praising the names of the 21 infants – all of children of Vatican employees – he baptized in the Sistine Chapel on January 9.  It wasn’t much of a comment – he encouraged parents to choose Christian names, but his remarks were about religious faith, not Hollywood trends.  It was enough to result in a flurry of headlines, like this one from Canada’s National Post: Despite the Pope’s disapproval, designer baby names flourish. BBC News Magazine responded with a list of 10 Christian names you don’t really hear these days.  Gomer and Wilgefortis, anyone?  Jezebel also appeared on the BBC list, with an expert insisting that no one would give the name to a child.  Name junkies will have heard Jezebel mentioned on more than one message board.  Nancy’s exhaustive list of J names given to girls in 2009  reveals 24 girls named Jezebel – plus plenty of spelling variants, like:

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