The Orphans of Annie
A “hard knock life” is so much sweeter with a great name!
Annie is a beloved musical that opened on Broadway in 1977. There have been many stage, film, and TV adaptations of this heart-warming rags-to-riches story. As a child, watching the 1982 film version, I used to pretend I was one of the orphans in the movie. Sometimes I was Pepper, but usually it would be Molly. The spunky, sweet orphans in Annie have some really sweet names, let’s check them out!
Annie – We have to start with the adorable red-haired title character, Annie. Annie is the pet form of Ann, an English name meaning grace. It has long been used on its own, was in the Top 20 from the 1880s to 1907, as high as Number 8 in 1881, and right now is at number 311, Other famous Annie’s include Annie Oakley (born Phoebe Ann Oakley), Annie Lennox, and Annie Leibovitz.
Molly – Molly is Annie’s best friend and the youngest of the orphans. Molly is a diminutive of the name Mary, meaning bitter and has been used as a stand-alone name since the Middle Ages. Most popular in 1991, Molly is currently number 122. Other notable Mollys include Molly Ringwald, “The Unsinkable Molly Brown” (Margaret “Molly” Brown), and Molly Weasley, a Harry Potter witch. Amanda Peet is the mother of a Molly.
Kate – Kate is sweet, shy, and the quietest orphan in the show. Kate is a timeless, crisp, classic name. A diminutive of Katherine, meaning pure, Kate is currently number 207. A few of the many great Kates include Kate Winslet, Kate Middleton (Catherine, Duchess of Cambridge), and Kate Spade.
Tessie – Tessie is the girl who is easily moved to tears, and often repeats her tag line, “Oh my goodness.” Tessie is an English diminutive of Theresa, meaning to reap or to harvest. I love Tessie as a nickname for Tessa. Among the famous women that share this name are Thomas Hardy heroine Tess of the d’Urbervilles, novelist Tess Gerritsen, and actresses Tessie Santiago and Tess Harper.
Pepper – Pepper is the bossy, no-nonsense orphan who sometimes clashes with Annie. Pepper is a spice name that was only ranked in the Top 1,000 for one year: in 1975 Pepper came in at number 956. Other fictional characters named Pepper include Marvel Comics character Pepper Potts (born Virginia), TV Police Woman character Pepper Anderson, and Disney animated TV heroine Pepper Ann.
July – July is a quiet, nurturing orphan who acts as a mother figure. April, May, and June have long been used as names, how about July? Other namesakes of this month name include model July Burkovska and soccer star July Johnston.
Duffy – Duffy is the eldest orphan in the bunch and a good friend to all. Duffy is an Old Irish surname meaning dark. Like many of these names, Duffy may work best as a nickname. Duffy shares her name with singer Duffy, Patrick Duffy, and Hugh Duffy.
Who was your favorite orphan in Annie?