Did celebrity names get less inventive in the Sixties?

Some viewers struggled to separate same-sounding names, like Lisa from Lynn Loring.

The actor behind Wednesday Addams’ chilling charm, Lisa Loring, was born Lisa Ann DeCinces in 1958.

When her parents divorced, she was raised by her mother Judith Loring, and it’s likely that she took her mother’s name at that point.

Then, when she was cast on The Addams Family, Loring became a TV star at 8 years old.

It’s highly likely that the 8-year-old wasn’t watching another popular show on air at the same time, The FBI, which featured an actor Lynn Loring, who clearly had a very similar name to young Lisa.

Lisa’s likely ignorance of the other famous TV Loring didn’t stop many TV viewers from writing into TV columns to ask culture writers to clarify which actor was which.

And in 1965, one TV columnist went so far as to call out both Lisa and Lynn Loring for being among the rising TV stars who should have been more inventive and chosen a more distinct-sounding stage name.

"What television obviously needs, in addition to some fresh ideas for series, is some new names for series’ starlets," wrote Associated Press TV writer Cynthia Lowry in 1965. "Their faces may be their own, but their handles, real or invented, sound like a broken record."

"Let’s see now, is it Lisa Loring in the The Addams Family and Lynn Loring in The FBI or the other way around?" Lowry mused.

She listed little Lisa Loring among other “offending” TV stars with similar-sounding, forgettable names like Linda Evans, Linda Foster, Linda Kaye, Lynn Borden, Lynn Loring, Lisa Loring, Lori Saunders, Lynette Winter, Cynthia Lynn and Lana Wood.

But she didn’t just go after the starlets. She also called out leading men like Tim Considine, Tim O’Connor, Tim Conway, Gary Conway, Gary Collins, Gary Lockwood, Gary Vinson and Gary Crosby, insisting their names were interchangeable.

In Lowry’s opinion, these TV stars with same-sounding names should’ve taken a cue from movie stars like Rock Hudson, who changed his name from Roy Scherer, or Marilyn Monroe, born Norma Jeane Mortenson.

"There used to be considerable kidding about the offbeat names invented for ambitious young actors, notably flashy tags like Rock, Tab or Rip for Hudson, Hunter and Torn," Lowry said. "But at least they have the advantage of being distinctive."

Did you ever have trouble keeping straight any TV star names that sound alike?

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AnnieM 29 months ago
As a very little kid, for some reason I thought James Dean and Jimmy Dean referred to the same person. 🤦🏻‍♀️
WF AnnieM 28 months ago
I thought the same thing. My grandmother liked James Dean and I remember her mentioning that he had died in a car wreck some years before. But here we were watching Jimmy Dean on TV. I couldn't understand what was going on and who was who!
ironman2000 AnnieM 27 months ago
I thought so too" when I was a kid. My father was a huge country music fan. He had the 45 of Mr. Dean's classic hit, "Bog John".
Susan00100 29 months ago
Lynn Loring started out as a teen in the short-lived (and now forgotten) sitcom FAIR EXCHANGE, which also starred another newcomer, Judy Carne.
retro6 29 months ago
Not the names but in looks I would confuse Richard Hatch and Tim Matheson as a kid.
PattyHerbst 29 months ago
The name Loring reminds me of Loring Park in Minneapolis. Rip Torn's unique name comes from his father, who he was named after, Elmore Ruel Torn, Sr., who also had the nickname 'Rip'. Rip was the cousin of Sissy Spacek, whose birth name is actually Mary Elizabeth, but who was nicknamed Sissy by her two older brothers. Randolph Mantooth has one of the more distinct surnames, and he was advised to change it when signing with Universal, but he changed his first name (from Randy) instead, saying in a later interview for the Television Academy, "what would I tell my Dad?".
ETristanBooth 29 months ago
Some people confuse Henry Morgan (from old time radio and TV's I've Got A Secret) with Harry Morgan (of M*A*S*H). This is partly because Harry, for a time, went by the name Henry, which was his father's name, but he later stuck to the name Harry to avoid confusion with Henry. Personally, I'm a big Henry Morgan fan.
JohnnyBoyohBoy 29 months ago
For me it was Tony Franciosa, James Franciscus and James Farentino.
Mitchell 29 months ago
As a lad, I decided that if I ever went into show biz, I'd adopt "Zack Morrison" as a stage name. Nothing ever came of it... :D
Tampammm 29 months ago
I liked Lynn Loring on The F.B.I.

Which incidentally, is long overdue for airing on MeTV.
TonyDiPaolo 29 months ago
Brian Keith (Family Affiar) and Brian Dennehy (Rambo).
cinamac TonyDiPaolo 29 months ago
Dylan McDermott & Dermot Mulroney!
WordsmithWorks 29 months ago
"it’s likely that she (Lisa Loring) took her mother’s name at that point." I'm going to guess it was more than likely.
Runeshaper 29 months ago
I'm sure that I did have trouble keeping straight any TV star names that sound alike, but I wouldn't want any of them to change their names lol I think it should be a personal choice. I'd be proud if my real last name was well known.
cperrynaples 29 months ago
Lynn Loring's biggest credit goes way back: For 10 years, she played Patti on Search For Tomorrow! After she left, over a dozen actresses played her for the next 25 years! In her autobiography, Mary Stewart who played her mother commented on the frequency of recasts that were done!
cperrynaples 29 months ago
Funny story: Somehow in the '60's I mixed up Yvonne Dicarlo [Lily Munster] with Yvonne Craig [Batgirl] even though they looked nothing alike...LOL!
LoveMETV22 cperrynaples 29 months ago
A mention to Yvonne Elliman as Mary Magdalene in "Jesus Christ Superstar (the film 1973)".
Yvonne is such a graceful name with different origins.
BrittReid cperrynaples 29 months ago
Yvonne DeCarlo and Yvonne Craig both 60's hotties into BATS.
vinman63 cperrynaples 29 months ago
They were both hot.
Mike 29 months ago
Slightly off-topic, but here's a favorite name-change story:
Circa the turn of the 1960s, an African-American actor named Kenneth Dickerson, who'd taken up Asian culture as an interest, decided to shave his head and adopt a vaguely Asiatic persona.
As part of the guise, he changed his stage name to Kaie Deei - later altering the spelling to Khigh Dhiegh.
This was when he scored his breakthrough role as the cheerful Red Chinese brainwasher in the movie The Manchurian Candidate; this in its turn led to his long run as Wo Fat on Hawaii Five-O.
True story; look it up sometime.
(And as it happens, I know lots of others ...)
cperrynaples Mike 29 months ago
Bonus Question: What was the very brief series that Dhiegh starred in during the '70's?
Mike cperrynaples 29 months ago
Bonus Answer:
KHAN!, from some of the Hawaii Five-O people; Charlie Chan in all but name.
Khigh Dhiegh declined to take billing on the show - but he did do quite a bit of publicity for it, including interviews and cover photos for TV supplements and the like; he gave as his reason some philosophical excuse, but KHAN! had a bad timeslot - Friday night opposite Sanford and Son - four weeks and out (I'd like to see what they did, but what the heck, that's me ...).
cperrynaples Mike 29 months ago
YEP! I remembered the exclamation point and his decision to go unbilled! He did get a full page ad in TV Guide!
dukeroberts Mike 29 months ago
Dhiegh stated his mother was "Chinese, Spanish, English, and Egyptian" and his father was "Italian, Portuguese, and Zulu"
MrsPhilHarris 29 months ago
What a weird subject to write a column about. 🤔 As a tv columnist you would think she could find a more interesting topic.

amylovestv 29 months ago
Did this columnist really expect everyone to have completely different sounding names from each other? That's not how names work. One actor's name isn't another actor's fault.
Cherokee316 29 months ago
Always get the names David Keith ( white ) and Keith David ( black ) mixed up but not their faces, David Keith was in An Officer And A Gentleman and Keith David was in Platoon and some other great movies and tv shows.
Michael Cherokee316 29 months ago
When An Officer and a Gentleman came out, I saw a review that said David Keith was Brian's son. I actually believed it for tears, back when it wasn't so easy to check.
daDoctah Cherokee316 29 months ago
I often find myself wondering if Rich Little and Little Richard used to meet periodically to exchange misdirected fan mail. Or Dan Quayle and Danny Partridge. Or MacGyver and the guy who played Oscar Goldman on The Six-Million Dollar Man.
JohnnyBoyohBoy Michael 29 months ago
I also wondered if David was Brian Keith's son.
dukeroberts JohnnyBoyohBoy 29 months ago
No, but Brian was Robert Keith's son. Robert Keith was all over TV and movies in the 50s and early 60s.
BrittReid 29 months ago
Lisa Loring is a perfect name.
ma2lyssa BrittReid 29 months ago
And a perfectly legitimate one. If she took her mother's name, then that was her name. I question any columnist who would go after an eight year old.
Pacificsun 29 months ago
Lynn Loring https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Loring

She appeared in some notable classic TV shows.
ETristanBooth Pacificsun 29 months ago
I mainly remember her from the My Three Sons episode "The Perfect Separation."
Pacificsun 29 months ago
Well I did until reading this article. BUT, that's why we have Wiki which is very useful for clearing up our own confusion.

With all due respect to her passing, I think it was very nervy of that columnist to comment on anyone's name. Hers wasn't exactly original. It certainly must have been a dry day in opinion-land for that article to have originated.
KJExpress Pacificsun 29 months ago
My thoughts exactly! What's it to her, anyway? I would have changed my own last name because it always gets mispronounced and misspelled, but I most likely would have chosen something easy to spell and not very memorable. Then she could have added me to her list. 🙄
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