Nameberry.com editors Pamela Satran and Linda Rosenkrantz — who penned the books Baby Name Bible and Beyond Ava & Aiden– are blogging for UsMagazine.com about why celebs choose the names they do, and what they mean.
Amanda Peet's newborn baby girl Molly June's name is somewhat more conventional and in step with current styles than that of her big sister, Frances — called Frankie — Pen.
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Molly (born April 20 in NYC), which started life as a short form of Mary in the Middle Ages, peaked in the U.S. in 1991 at No. 74 on the annual Social Security administration list. It's been flirting with the No. 100 mark ever since, never zooming up to megapopularity but not dropping from sight either. Likeable and down-to-earth, mild yet saucy, Molly makes a safe but hardly attention-grabbing choice.
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Big sister Frances Pen's name is a bit more off the beaten track. While Frances has the same gently old-fashioned quality as Molly, it's definitely quirkier, a name that's been sliding down the popularity ladder for several decades now and that's in danger of slipping off the Top 1000 radar completely.
Frances is more ladylike — some might say stuffy — than Molly, though nickname Frankie has a similar friendly feel.
Frances's middle name, Pen, is definitely unusual, a nod both to dad David Benioff's writing profession and Peet's mother Penny's first name.
New baby Molly's middle name June, on the other hand, is a once-dated choice (think '50s supermom June Cleaver) that's finding new favor, especially in middle place, with hip parents. In fact, June is taking over as the middle name du jour from Rose and Grace.
Molly, originally spelled Mally and sometimes varied to Mollie, has roots in both the Irish and the Jewish cultures. Molly Bloom was the wife of Leopold Bloom, the Irish Jewish hero of James Joyce's Ulysses. Molly Goldberg was an early (Jewish) television personality, while the Molly Maguires are an Irish secret society of workingmen and Molly Malone is an Irish song. In the U.S., Good Golly, Miss Molly was a Little Richard hit and Molly Ringwald a celebrity bearer of the name.
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