Saturday, July 25, 2009

Names, Names, Names!

What must it be like to go through with a name that, in one way or another, isn't really yours? These ladies know. Let's meet them:

Imagine how tired of boat jokes and having people sing snatches of West Side Story at her Natalie Wood must be...

While Kay Francis must be deeply irked that her once-forgotten namesake has had something of a comeback these last couple of years.

It must be bad enough to carry these monikers after the fact; poor women's basketball star Joan Crawford was more or less contemporaneous with her nemesis.

As for Joan Bennett, I bet she gets crank phone calls every time Dark Shadows turns up in the reruns.

Jane Greer's parents probably thought they were doing something very clever, while she herself must be happy that her noir original is fairly out of fashion these days.

It must be depressing to be a perfectly presentable person burdened, like Elizabeth Taylor, with a name that, to say the least, raises expectations.

As for Deborah Kerr here, I wonder if she ever dances around her living room pretending to be wearing a huge crinoline.

And Betty White must be just about counting the days until she's delivered from the late in life recrudescence of the Betty White.

What finding these women did for me was make me realize just how remarkable the originals are. These women - church secretaries, real-estate agents, middle-managers - all seem perfectly nice, but given the names they're been handed, they're living examplars of (the real) Joan Crawford's adage: "If you want to see the girl next door, go next door!"


  1. Darling, you just don't know. mrpeenee's real name is Gary Marshall. There's a semi-famous Garry Marshall who's a writer/producer and Penny Marshall's brother. He seems obscure enough, but probably one out every four times I introduce myself, I'll get some feeble attempt at a joke about him, usually "Are you THE Gary Marshall?' I always answer "Yes, I am.""

  2. Actually, I can sympathize, at least a little, as my own IRL family name was for a long time rather infamous (on a scale somewhere between Agnew and Borgia). It was the kind of thing that too frequently drew doubletakes at best and quite rude sniggers at worst. But, jeez - it's still not like being named Elizabeth Taylor (I've always had a soft sport for the novelist, just because of that)...

  3. Once long ago I got in trouble at work when I couldn't help snickering at the name on the department store credit card a lady handed me for a purchase...Mrs. Ronald McDonald.

  4. I recall my second grade teacher asking me on the first day of school if I was related to Tony Curtis. I replied, "No. His real name is Bernie Schwartz."

    Typical trivia for budding seven year old gay boys.

  5. How precocious of you, Bill! Did your teacher then send your mother a brochure about Summer Drama Camp for kids?