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Soap Opera Names

The term ‘soap opera name’ has always had a pejorative connotation, suggesting over-the-top, strong, silent RidgeThorneTrent type names. But the truth of the matter is that the scripters of  daytime dramas have actually been a lot more imaginative–and prescient–than those of, say, sitcoms or nighttime dramas.

The classic example–as Abby Sandel mentioned in her guest blog the other day–is Kayla.  When the character of Kayla Brady was introduced on Days of Our Lives in 1982, her name had hardly been heard of–much less used.  But not long after that, Kayla began an unprecedented leap up the lists, and stayed there for well over a decade.

Soaps also anticipated the trend of using place names for people–there were Egypts and Indias, Sierras and Friscos years before it was a baby-naming trend and they were in the forefront of using last names as firsts.  And there were too many individual names that were ahead of their time: Cameron, Kyle and Kylie, Logan, Hunter, HoldenColton, Cooper, Roman, Jagger, Harley for a girl…. all of them appeared on the soaps from the 70s to the 90s.

Now, as one of the stalwarts of soap operadom, The Guiding Light, is about to bite the dust after 72 years on radio and TV, this seems like a good moment to celebrate some of the more original sudsy names of the past and present (but sorry, I draw the line at Chardonnay):

GIRLS

AMBROISIA

CALLIOPE

CHARITY

COLBY

CRICKET

ECHO

EDEN

EPIPHANY

EUGENIA

EVANGELINE

FARREN

GREENLEE

LAKEN

LIBERTY

OLYMPIA

OPAL

PILAR

ROXY

SHILOH

SILVER

SIOBHAN

VIENNA

WILLOW

BOYS

ARISTOTLE

ARTEMIS

BLUE

CABOT

CAGNEY

CANE

CASSIUS

CRUZ

CONSTANTINE

DEACON

DIDIER

ENZO

FORD

FRISCO

GRAY

HART

HAWK

JASPER

JAZZ

KATO

LORENZO

NASH

ORION

RAFE

REMY

REX

RIDGE

RIVER

STORM

THORNE

WHIP (!)

YURI

ZENDE

ZIGGY

ZANE

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14 Responses to “Soap Opera Names”

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lyndsayjenness Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 2:23 am

You should add Spinelli to the list! He’s on General Hospital, he’s a geek, but he has an interesting name.

I mostly love this list, a few of the names annoy me, but I like most of them a lot. Especially Frisco… is it usable, though?

Abby Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 8:07 am

Opal is fast becoming one of my new favorites – I didn’t realize she had a soap opera connection. And I love Gray.

And Echo – love the idea of Echo, but I’d make the same comment Lyndsay made about Frisco – I’m just not sure it is usable.

Pam Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 8:32 am

I suspect the soap writers have a symbiotic relationship with us — us as in Pam and Linda and also us as in the baby-namers of America. I imagine their offices with shelves filled with Cool Names and Beyond Ava & Aiden, from which they lift the wildest names. The adults on soaps have names that in real life are only found on pre-kindergarten age people. But then of course the soap names influence baby names.

k Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 8:37 am

Spinelli is the character’s last name, his first name is actually Damien.

I always loved the name Trey from the long canceled Capitol. Hmmm, and my years of watching Santa Barbara during Lane Davies’s tenure left me with a long long lasting good impression of boys named Mason.

ADC Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 10:04 am

What about Kendall? She’s Greenlee’ sister, but I forget which show they’re on.

Kristine Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 11:01 am

Kendall and Greenlee are on All my Children—though Greenlee’s “dead” right now. I’m surprised Erica isn’t on here–Erica Kane would be shocked!

justthinkin Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 1:02 pm

Names from Passions:

Endora
Fox
Sheridan
Fancy
Alistair

linda Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 1:06 pm

Great additions!

Holly Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 4:53 pm

While not exotic, I was named after Holly on General Hospital. My birthday is in July, so it has always been fun for me to tell people that I was named after a soap opera character!!

Lauren Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 6:32 pm

I love Greenlee and Farren and plan to use them one day for my little girls. However, I like the spelling Fairen much better. I get a lot of flack for liking Greenlee but have always loved it ever since she came on the show.

I also love Evangeline, Shiloh, Charity, and Laken for girls and Deacon, Gray, and Rafe for boys.

Other soap opera names that I like:
Jax on GH and Kendall on AMC

Madeleine Says:

August 31st, 2009 at 6:51 pm

There is also the recent addition of Cordelia on The Young and the Restless. I thought it was pretty avant-garde.

Cool list, thanks.

stephanie_elizabeth Says:

September 2nd, 2009 at 11:20 am

I hope that the Cordelia on Y & R doesn’t make the name to popular! That is my number one girls name, and one of the reasons that I like it is that it is uncommon. I hope the Y & R chick doesn’t ruin the name before I have a chance to use it!

Catherine Says:

September 19th, 2009 at 8:56 am

Heh apart from the fact that Artemis is a FEMALE deity….

Sellons Says:

January 18th, 2010 at 1:09 pm

Laura is a very iconic soap name. Stefanie, of course after Stefanie Forrester. Vicki/Victoria. Victor. Elizabeth, Jessica, Natalie, Sarah, Phyllis, Sharon, Brooke, Taylor, Hope, Carly, Bianca, Frankie, Elizabeth.

All names that have been made famous by a character or their portrayer.

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