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?