Dave Wilton dave at WILTON.NET
Sat Feb 22 21:21:30 UTC 2003

> I believe that the now-common first name Gary did not exist
> until a press agent came up with the name Gary Cooper for
> an actor.  I also believe that Wendy originated in Barrie's
> _Peter Pan_.  Are there other examples of "coined" names
> catching on and becoming popular?

Gary Cooper was born in 1901 as Frank James Cooper. The Social Security
Administration lists other men born in that decade with the name "Gary."
Assuming the SSA sample is representative, there were probably about 800
Garys born in the US between 1900-09. Not exactly a common name, but nowhere
near unique.

You may be confusing him with Cary Grant. Allegedly, Archie Leach, born
1904, was going to be the "new Gary Cooper," so a studio executive reversed
Cooper's initials and came up with the name "Cary." Grant's name may have
been patterned after Cooper, but the SSA lists also lists Carys that were
born that same decade--the name was only slightly less common than Gary. So
Cary Grant wasn't the first Cary either.

See http://www.ssa.gov/OACT/babynames/

More information about the Ads-l mailing list