About A Name: Romy
October 5, 2012 § 15 Comments
Aside from Rafael, there’s another R name I’ve been seeing a lot of lately – this one for the girls and much more notable in the English-speaking world. Romy has been bestowed on four celebrity babies so far in 2012, a spike in use after languishing in the wings for decades – always well-liked, but never exceptionally popular. Are Romy’s fortunes changing?
The name Romy is of Latin origin, a diminutive of Rosemary, which means “dew of the sea.” The lovely picture brings nature to mind, and retains a refined quality despite it’s nickname origins. Romy is also considered a cousin name to Roma, an Italian name which first found use in the late 19th Century, perhaps en vogue to the ancient city of Rome, named Roma by Evander in his daughter’s honour. Romy has been particularly popular in Germany in the second half of the 20th Century.
Romy be helped by the fact that the name has proven cross-cultural. British artist and filmmaker Sam Taylor-Wood and actor Aaron Johnson got things started in January when they welcomed daughter Romy Hero. French model Julia Restoin Roitfeld, daughter of longtime French Vogue editor Carine Roitfeld, welcomed Romy Nicole in New York this May. This summer, Dutch singer and Australian cricketer Ed Cowan both welcomed daughters called Romy, while German-British TV presenter Karen Webb had daughter Romy in October last year.
The recent spike tops another prominent year in 2006, when Italian-American filmmaker Sofia Coppola, French singer Calogero, and British novelist (and Bridget Jones Diaries creator) Helen Fielding all welcomed daughters named Romy, while Matt Lauer’s daughter Romy is almost nine. Filmmaker Rob Reiner and comedian and Seinfeld co-creator Larry David both have teenage daughters named Romy, while Ellen Barkin and Gabriel Byrne, American and Irish actors, have a 20-year-old daughter named Romy Marion.
This celebrity affection for Romy, including three filmmakers, might be down to the allure of German-Austrian French film star Romy Schneider (born Rosemarie Albach). She starred in films including What’s New Pussycat? in the US and Les choses de la vie and Une histoire simple in France. She twice won the Cesar Award, France’s equivalent of the Oscar. But her son David died tragically in 1981 at 14, and she essentially drank herself to death in her grief, suffering fatal cardiac arrest in 1982. Despite the tragedy of Romy Schneider, like Sophia, Ava, or Audrey, the name Romy carries an automatic, favourable sort of affection on behalf of it’s beautiful movie star ambassador. Granted, Schneider is less known in North America than in Europe, but it the name still resonates with numerous nationalities. Americans may liken the name to the late ’90s cult comedy film starring Mira Sorvino and Lisa Kudrow, Romy and Michele’s High School Reunion, with Oscar winner Sorvino playing Romy.
But despite all the love Romy seems to have going for it, actual use hasn’t translated in large quantities. The name has never been in the US Top 1000 (but parent Rosemary was a roaring favourite in the Jazz Age), and Schneider, whose film career lasted through the 1970s, is regarded as the name’s first notable wearer.
I’m sure I’m not the only one who loves – loves – the name Romy, though I’ve never seriously considered it for a future daughter. What about you? How high (or low) on your list is Romy?