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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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jem finch

Last week we unearthed twenty long lost literary girls’ names–some of which have rarely been used outside of books, plays and poetry– and now we turn to the boys’ equivalents.  The diverse sources of these creative baby names range from Shakespeare to Stoppard– and be aware that, as before, the characters who bear them are not necessarily paragons of virtue.

ARKADY. A Russian saint’s name from the Greek meaning “from Arcadia,” it belongs to a genteel character in Turgenev’s Fathers and Sons and a much less benign one in Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and is also a key figure in Gorky Park by Martin Cruz Smith.

BALTHAZAR, the name of one of the three wise men, is scattered throughout literature, from Shakespeare ‘s plays to the rambunctious title character of J P Donleavy’s The Beastly Beatitudes of Balthazar B.

BEALE. Beale Farange is the heroine’s father in Henry JamesWhat Maisie Knew; it’s a surname that comes from the French meaning “handsome.”

CLAUDIO. A Shakespearean favorite, appearing in both Much Ado About Nothing and Measure for Measure; it’s a Latin clan name meaning “lame”–one of those literal meanings that can be ignored in the modern world.

DUNCAN. Duncan Idaho is the brave hero of Frank Herbert‘s classic fantasy series Dune. It’s a Scottish name meaning “brown warrior” and a nameberry favorite, despite some people’s association with Dunkin’ Donuts.

FLINT. A legendary pirate–and also a parrot–in Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Treasure Island. A strong, modern-sounding word name.

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Red Carpet Names: Boys’ Edition

clarkgableoscar2

On the eve of the Academy Awards, one of our favorite bloggers, Abby Sandel, creator of the always informative appellationmountain.net, has searched through the annals of Oscar history and come up with some great lists of award-worthy male winners’ names.

Many  of today’s most popular names conjure up Hollywood at its most glamorous, especially for girls. I’ve met plenty of toddlers named Audrey, Ava and Natalie. But ever since Kevin Nealon called his son Gable–as in Clark–I’ve been wondering about screen legend names for boys.

Here’s a short list culled from Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominees and winners, and the characters they played, from the 1920s through today.

LEADING MEN

Some of these are household names, while others are more obscure. A few have surprising roots–Denzel, for example, can be found in use in Medieval England. But all share a certain dashing quality.

ALEC
ANTHONY
CLARK
COOPER
DENHOLM
DENZEL
DJIMON

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Red Carpet Baby Names: Boys’ Edition

clarkgableoscar1

Today, on the eve of Oscar night, ABBY SANDEL, creator of one of our favorite blogs, the witty and informative appellationmountain.net, looks back through the annals of Oscar history and unearths an interesting group of winning male winner names.

Plenty of today’s most popular names conjure up Hollywood at its most glamorous, especially for girls. I’ve met plenty of toddlers named Audrey, Ava and Natalie. But ever since Kevin Nealon called his son Gable–as in Clark–I’ve been wondering about screen legend names for boys.

Here’s a short list culled from Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor nominees and winners, and the characters they played, from the 1920s through today.

LEADING MEN

Some of these are household names, while others are more obscure. A few have surprising roots–Denzel, for example, can be found in use in Medieval England. But all share a certain dashing quality.

ALEC
ANTHONY
CLARK
COOPER
DENHOLM
DENZEL
DJIMON

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