Maybe they didn’t have voices then, but lots of the silent screen stars did have intriguingly exotic looks and equally exotic names–even if many of them were invented by studio publicists. Theda Bara, for example, the quintessential vamp, was not the Egyptian-born daughter of a French actress and an Italian sculptor whose name was an anagram of Arab Death, as the PR people proclaimed to the public, but was actually Cincinnati-born Theodosia Goodman, daughter of a Jewish tailor. Likewise, Nita Naldi’s real last name was Dooley, Olga Petrova was born Muriel Hardy and Alla Nazimova’s birth name was Miriam Leventon.
But real or concocted, these names–primarily short, with two-syllables and heavy on the vowels–still retain vestiges of that sultry 1900’s-1920’s glamour, and could have some vintage appeal today:
And then there were those that had slightly more elaborate, tango-type names:
The men’s names tended to fall into three groups:
STRONG, SILENT, SINGLE-SYLLABLE TYPES:
Sophisticated, cigarette-holder, surname types:
And the exotics to co-star with Vilma and Vola:
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