Golden Girl Names

When The Golden Girls hit the small screen in 1985, the names of its leading ladies—Rose, Dorothy and Blanche—were late middle aged, and Mama Sophia was old enough to have already been in and out of  the Shady Pines Nursing Home.  That was 25 years ago, a period of major change in the name world.  Sophia is now the seventh most popular baby name (and #1 in some places), Rose is America‘s favorite middle name, and Dorothy is one of the belles of the nameberry name boards.

Not only that: other Golden Girl names, names that were virtually written off just a couple of years ago, are back in play.  Sarah Jessica Parker and Matthew Broderick, for example, named one of their twin daughters Marion, Julia Roberts chose Hazel for hers and Molly Ringwald picked Adele.  And nameberryites are cool with similar period names like Clara and Cora, Vivian and Vera.

Here are some other alternative names that might have been used for the Golden Girls ladies—are any of them ready to join Rose and Sophia?

ALMA

BETTY

CEIL

DELLA

DORIS

EDITH

EDNA

ELEANOR

ESTHER

ETHEL

EVELYN

FAY

FLORENCE

GLADYS

HELEN

IRENE

JEAN

JOY

JOYCE

LOIS

LUCILLE

MARIE

MARJORIE

MIRIAM

MONA

MURIEL

MYRNA

MYRA

NAOMI

NORMA

PAULINE

PEARL

PHYLLIS

ROSEMARY

RUTH

SALLY

SELMA

SIBYL

SHIRLEY

SYLVIA

TERESA

THELMA

And what if they were scripting and casting an updated 2010 version of the Girls?  Here are some plausible names for the new 65-year-old characters—are any of them ready for their baby-name comebacks or, in the words of another old sitcom, are they too close for comfort?

ANITA

ARLENE

BARBARA

BEVERLY

BONNIE

BRENDA

CAROL

CHERYL

DIANE

DOLORES

DONNA

EILEEN

ELAINE

ELLEN

GAIL

HELENE

JANET

JANICE

JOAN

JOANNE

JULIE

KAREN

KATHLEEN

LINDA

LORRAINE

LYNN

MARCIA/MARSHA

MARILYN

MARLENE

NANCY

PATRICIA

PAULA

ROBERTA

SANDRA

SHARON

SHEILA

SUSAN, SUZANNE

YVONNE

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24 Responses to “Golden Girl Names”

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Helen Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 1:45 am

I’m seeing Evelyn + Lucille come up a lot lately, and didn’t Maya Rudolph name her kid Pearl? Not a lot of Helens like me yet! (I’m 30, not a “golden” girl). Of that first list I like a variation of Sylvia–Sylvie.

The second set of names are all the boomer grandmas of today’s babies. So I wouldn’t forsee those coming back until these kids have kids. Although I think Yvonne is a cool name.

Elena Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 2:06 am

I love this blog!
these are my favourites 🙂
ALMA
BETTY
DELLA
EDITH
ESTHER
FLORENCE
IRENE
LOIS
NAOMI
ROSEMARY
RUTH
SALLY
SYLVIA
DOLORES
MARCIA
NANCY

and Clara has to be one of my very top favourite names! But I’m nowhere near having any children yet 🙂

jill Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 2:08 am

I love this blog! The Golden Girls is one of my favorite shows. 🙂 (One of my favorite quotes…Rose: “Can I ask a stupid question?” Dorothy: “Better than anyone I know.”)

I love Eleanor, Naomi, Pearl, Rosemary, and Sally (Sally is one of my favorite names), and because Eleanor and Evelyn are already pretty popular (well, Evelyn is very popular), to me, they feel as though they’ve already made a comeback.

I love Elizabeth (and Betty White), and can really see Betty coming back as a nickname. 🙂

Of the names from the 1940s, Patricia feels the most timeless to me. It’s weird to think that someday, the names on the second list may have a vintage feel to me like the older sounding names in the first list.

Take care!

peach Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 4:01 am

I already know at least one little Eleanor, Lucille, Miriam, and Ruth (but that one is a middle) which are all very nice. I like these sweet “goldies” — Irene, Elaine, Marilyn, Marian, Rosemary, Sibyl, Julie, and Marlene. I bet quite a few will be coming back sooner rather than later.

Stacy Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 7:35 am

Evelyn, Eleanor and Dorothea (rather than just Dorothy) are on are list (as well as Vivian.) And Edith and Esther have come up a lot as well. Other favorites from the list for me are: Miriam, Naomi, Sylvia, Teresa, Ellen, Helene and Susanne.

I love the slightly more elaborate Johannah, but my husband and I cannot agree on the pronunciation.

I know of a lot of baby Evelyn and Eleanors, too. I also know of a baby Betsy and we’ve discussed Elisabeth with Bess as a nickname, as well.

I think a lot of the ones from the first list will definitely be coming back.

Miriam Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 10:05 am

I guess my parents were ahead of the curve– they named me Miriam in the late 80’s and my younger sister Dorothy in the late 90’s! Neither of us have nicknames, either.

I have always loved the names Sylvia, Teresa, Helen, and Anita. Alma is slowly working its way into my brain, as well.

Holly Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 11:06 am

i already have a child with two of those golden names Eleanor Ruth with Linn as a second middle name and I’m planning on naming another daughter, if I have one Dorothy Jean

vikki Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 12:53 pm

My grandmas’ names are on this list. Dorothy (grandma) and Edith (great grandmother), but I’d like to add a couple more that I think could make a comeback.

Women

Kate (never unpopular. My great grandma was born in 1896)

Leola (great grandmother born in the late 1800s)

Ouida (great grandmother born in the late 1800s. I don’t see that one coming back if it ever was.)

Joan (grandmother born in 1930. Actually pronounced Jo Anne. I know great-grandma Edith had spelling issues.)

Men

Hinson (grandfather born in 1920s. died 1959)

Eddie Daniel (grandfather born in 1920s. died 1972)

My brother is named after them and I think it is a great name Daniel Hinson.

Lewis (step-grandfather born in the 1920s)

James Dorris (called by some JD and by others Dorris. step grandfather born in 1917.)

Roy (great grandfather born in late 1800s)

Buck (great grandfather born in the late 1800s)

Lester (great grandfather born in the late 1800s)

I’m 31 and should I have kids, I would use some of these names because of the family connection. I like feeling connected to my past.

Erin Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 1:13 pm

I love SEVERAL of these names! And it’s funny, because about 5 years ago when I was picking a name for my first, I never would have considered any of them.

Names I Would Use:
Della
Evelyn (BEAUTIFUL!!! This is a favorite)
Joy
Miriam (This has been a favorite of mine since I was 5)
Lorraine

And Theresa is the name we chose for our next child, if she’s a girl. We would be naming her after my grandmother, but we would call her Tessa (while I love Theresa, I can see a lot of teasing at school because it is still very old-fashioned).

Names I’ve Seen Used Recently:
Edith
Evelyn
Myra
Pearl
Donna

This is a great list today!

olivegreen Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I love the Golden Girls! My faves from the list are Alma, Eleanor (already back in vogue in my area), Florence, Helen, Miriam, Rosemary, and Sylvia. From the second list, I wonder if the names ending in -a will be the first to make an appearance, since they seem more familiar? I’d place my bets on Anita and Linda. And Joan might get a little boost from the ‘Mad Men’ character. Great post!

http://legitbabenames.wordpress.com/ Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 1:52 pm

I am quite surprised that Blanche hasn’t caught on.

kruther Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 4:15 pm

my daughters are Symphony (nn Sophie) Joy and Beatrix nn Betsy. My middle name is Ruth. Eleanor is a favorite. I also know young Esther and Naomi.

Lucy Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 6:45 pm

Della, Evelyn, and Myra are definitely already coming back. The popularity of the “Addie” names will make sure of Della, Eve/Eva and Elle names are letting Evelyn sound fresh again, and Myra and Myrna are so close to Maya and Mira that they must come back. Lorraine, Julie, and Anita have a chance too, in fact Lorraine is somewhere in my top ten right now. I love the nickname Lorrie, and it is a nice alternative to Lauren.

k Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 7:38 pm

Hey hey hey Karen is not a 65 year old name! Is not! I’m only 38, come on! I mean, I really do feel Karen peaked more in the early 70s (four Karens in my 4th grade class, thanks, parents!) not in the 40s.

paige Says:

January 26th, 2010 at 11:52 pm

This is my favorite post ever! I adore the Golden Girls! I have the entire series on DVD. Sophia, or well, Sofia, is my dog’s name. Dorothy is one of my very favorite names. Blanche is adorable. I usually use it as a middle name, though. Rose bores me a little, but it is still sweet.

smismar Says:

January 27th, 2010 at 12:42 am

My almost-9 month-old daughter is Sylvia! I’ve received nothing but compliments on it and I’m very pleased with our choice! But actually, my top choice was Vivian and I still love that name (dh vetoed). For the far-in-the-future #2 dd, Miriam is my top choice. There are several on this list that I love provided they don’t get *too* popular.

And DD’s middle name is Caron after my mother Carol and MIL Sharon. We compromised as best as we could 🙂

E @ Oh Apostrophe! Says:

February 1st, 2010 at 11:16 am

My 80-year old Nana is Eleanor Ruth! I share her middle name (as does my Mom) and we’re considering Eleanor for a baby- love it!

alicialuvsnames Says:

February 20th, 2010 at 11:53 am

I love evelyn so cute !

Giovanna Says:

March 16th, 2010 at 11:44 am

My daughter is named after Sophia Petrillo- (spelled Sofia) I am Sicilian, have always loved the name and loved Sophia P. she was so spunky. Rose coincidentally is my daughters middle name- named after my husbands grandmother and not Rose Nyland, we didn’t catch that until a few weeks later! GG is my fav show- great post!

Sunshinetina Says:

May 24th, 2010 at 5:18 pm

This list was made for me.

Golden Girls was my favourite show growing up. Every lunch hour, I would watch it with my grandma. After my grandpa died when I was 7, my grandma and her three sisters moved in together. This was right around the time of the show. I swear my grandmother was Sophia.

I don’t know if I will ever comprhend why someone would want to make up a name when there are plenty of tremendous ones right here, that deserve to be dusted off.

Andrea Says:

April 7th, 2011 at 7:54 am

My little girl is Eileen – which I do admit is an old lady name these days, but I predict it will be hot again when she’s in her twenties. That’s the way these things go!

giants1990 Says:

July 12th, 2011 at 9:32 pm

I love Dorothy NN Dottie!!! I actually love almost all of the names on both lists!!!

smithwillsam Says:

September 16th, 2013 at 1:57 am

This is such a wonderful and fun post! When my wife and I were expecting our girl, we could not agree on any boy names (before we found out we were having a girl), and the only girl name we agreed on being Alma. And so our daughter became Alma Beltran. I LOVE her name.

Babynology

Is Gwendolyn too Granny? – Baby Name Blog – Nameberry Says:

April 21st, 2015 at 10:48 pm

[…] were Lisa and Barbara and Ruth. Names age as the generations that wear them age. If Sophia can go from Golden Girl to most popular baby name in the US, it’s true for every other name, […]

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