When Cloris Leachman appeared on Perry Mason, she was avoiding choosing a name for her baby girl
There's a relatable reason why the actor and her husband took more than four months to name their newborn daughter!
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In 1966, Cloris Leachman was cast to appear in what many fans consider the darkest episode of Perry Mason to ever air.
In "The Case of the Crafty Kidnapper," Perry Mason defends a man accused of murder, and in the midst of the case, a key witness' son gets kidnapped. The twists in this episode are not just unforeseeable, but shocking. Along with featuring one of the series' most eye-widening reveals, the episode also features Leachman showing up as the murder victim's wife, swearing revenge.
At this point in Leachman's career, she was likely best known for playing Ruth Martin, the adoptive mom of Timmy on Lassie. She played the role for a year before she moved on to pursue more dramatic work. (June Lockhart came in to replace her.)
In her real life, Leachman gave birth to her fifth child in 1966, just three months before she appeared on Perry Mason.
She was married to a Hollywood bigwig named George Englund and was already mom to four boys: Bryan, Morgan, Adam, and George.
The story goes that when Leachman found out her next child would be a girl, both she and her husband could not agree on a name.
The mom who called for Timmy on TV was so used to having boys, she couldn't think of what to call her daughter — even four months after the baby girl was born!
"It was such a shock getting a little girl after four boys, we just can't decide on her title," Leachman's husband told The San Francisco Examiner in 1966. "I've been holding out for some good authentic American Indian name like Cheyenne. Cloris says that's ridiculous when hooked up with Englund. She likes something simple like Ann."
In those four months, the couple didn't know what to tell people to call their infant daughter.
"When people ask the baby's name, we just say she's tentatively titled 'Miss Englund,'" George said.
Eventually, they did name the little darling, of course, and in the end, they went with neither Cheyenne nor Ann, but rather Dinah.
At a young age, Leachman's daughter Dinah started acting, appearing in two TV movies with her mom in 1974 and in the Emmy-nominated movie The Migrants, which also starred Ron Howard and Sissy Spacek.
On her website, Dinah wrote that when she turned 16, she ran away to finish high school in Paris, with her mom Cloris' approval. After graduating, Dinah said she traveled the world before deciding to get serious in life and return home, where she started a candle company.
What could lead a world traveler to lay down roots, you might wonder?
Dinah had a daughter of her own!
And when it came time for Leachman's daughter to pick out a name for her baby girl, she found a unique name, going with the lovely title Hallelujah.