Celebrity Names Blog

The Brady Bunch

The Brady Bunch
Florence Henderson: RR/Fame Pictures

A few weeks ago Florence Henderson visited Broadway to host a benefit, Broadway Backwards.  Mrs. Brady is now 76 years old, and yet can still sing and dance up a storm!  Throughout the night she was referred to as Mrs. Brady, a testament to the lingering power of The Brady Bunch, which ran from 1969-1974.  This show has one of television's most memorable theme songs, as like it or not, it sticks in your mind -- Here's the story of a lovely lady, who was bringing up three very lovely girls...   And the actress behind Carol Brady is just as lovely now as when the show aired.  Inspired by her graceful aging, we thought it time to revisit the names of The Brady Bunch and see how they've gotten on over the years.

CAROLINE (CAROL) ANN

Florence Henderson was born in 1934, so if we assume age parity between actress and actor, in the decade Carol was born, Carol ranked #11 and Caroline #178.  Both at Carol/Florence birth-time and when The Brady Bunch debuted, Carol was the much more popular choice -- at #38 in the 1960s and #30 in the 1970s, whereas Caroline was at #208 and #215 respectively.  But Caroline gets the last laugh -- if you compare the popularity graphs of Caroline and Carol, Caroline is the clear long-term winner in terms of popularity.  (See a recent Name Candy post on Caroline.)  At the moment, Carol is off the charts, whereas Caroline ranks #94.  Apparently while lingering in people's minds, Mrs. Brady did not inspire an onslaught of little Carols.

MICHAEL (MIKE) PAUL

In terms of numbers, Michael way outdoes Mike.  In the 1930s, Michael ranked #35 compared to Mike at #176 -- but in the top 200, both count as popular names.  Like with Carol, the show's creators put thought into this name choice, going for a name that would have been popular when Mr. Brady was born.  Then again, Michael's always been popular, reigning supreme at #1 from the 1960s through the 1990s, and then settling to #2 ever since.  Mike moved up to #49 in the 1960 but has fallen since, now coming in at #756.

GREGORY (GREG)

Like with Dad's name, this one's been more popular in its full form.  Gregory hit #26 in the 1950s, when this character would have been born.  Gregory then rose slightly to #23 in the 1960s and #29 in the 1970s.  Currently it comes in at #236.  Greg had its big name moment from the 1940s to the 1960s, moving from #279 to #100 in the 1960s.  But since then it's been downhill for Greg, and the name's no longer in the top 1000.

PETER

It says something that Peter's lowest ranking is #183 (and that's right now).  This name has been a strong presence in the top 1000 names over the decades -- at #39 in the 1950s, #42 in the 1960s and #55 in the 1970s.  So, both when character and show were born, this name was a common choice.  Unlike his brothers, with Gregory becoming Greg and Robert into Bobby, Peter never came to be known as Pete.

ROBERT (BOBBY)

Yet again, the nickname loses out to the full version.  Tracking Robert: 1930s -- #1, 1940s -- #2, 1950s -- #3, 1960s -- #5, 1970s -- #7. And Bobby: 1930s -- #27, 1940s -- #48, 1950s -- #75, 1960s -- #81, 1970s -- #93.  So in this choice, the show's creators went with a safe and solid favorite.  Perhaps they were also influenced by the 1968 death of Robert Kennedy, one of America's most beloved Bobbys.  At the moment, Bobby's ranks at #525, Robert at #49.

MARCIA

Do you remember this name in threes: Marcia Marcia Marcia (that would be Jan's voice).  In 1969, Marcia was not new to the top 1000 names -- since the 1880s (as far back as we have name data) the name had made the chart.  Marcia's peak was #90 in the 1940s, but held strong at #96 in the 1950s, when character Marcia would have been born.  By the 1960s the name had fallen to #191 and then continued to drop.  Marcia last made the rankings in the 1980s at #555.  There's some irony in this -- the popular girl's name is the one to disappear.

JAN

Jan entered the top 1000 chart in the 1930s, moving to #238 by the 1940s and then up to #142 in the 1950s.  This makes Carol and her mysterious first husband's name choice for their daughter a popular one, but mildly so -- Jan was not the Emma of its day.  By the 1960s Jan was at #243 and fell to #561 by the 1970s.  Currently Jan does not make the top 1000 names.

CYNTHIA (CINDY)

Like with her step-brothers' names, this character has a name more popular in its full form than its shortened one.  Cynthia moved from #191 in the 1930s to #11 in the 1950s, #10 in the 1960s and #31 in the 1970s.  It remains on the chart today, as does Cindy.  Cindy entered the top 1000 in the 1940s, peaked in the 1960s at #46 and then fell to #102 in the 1970s.  So again, Carol and Mr. Martin (first husband) went with a name very much of its time.

ALICE 

A non-Brady, her last name was Nelson.  But we can't leave Alice out -- she was integral to both family and show!  We've written a lot about the name Alice lately -- check out our previous posts.

If you compare the popularity graphs of these Brady names, you see some strong similarities.  A lot of these names had an large upswing in the 1950s to 1970s, only to then begin a fall that eventually led them off the charts.  Michael and Caroline are obvious exceptions.  What do you make of this?  Did The Brady Bunch seal the fate of these names?  In other words, did The Brady Bunch lead to their decrease in popularity?  Or, were Mr. and Mrs. Brady, and by extension the show's creators, just riding the trend of the moment that was bound to fade away?

What do you think?  And how do these names strike you now?

--D.J.

Comments

Please do not add links to your comments. Thank you.

March 17, 2010 9:30 PM
By Elizabeth T. (not verified)

OK, name people! You've got to research the new Nigerian president. He has the most amazing name--Goodluck Jonathan. Details, please! I'm too lazy to do the research myself.

March 17, 2010 11:36 PM
By Dianne T. (not verified)

Don't forget the name Brady, now popular for boys!

March 18, 2010 9:36 AM
By Lane

Elizabeth -- great tip!

Dianne -- good call.

So what would the Brady's be named today? I used the popularity numbers in the post and looked back to the mid-nineties and 2000s. Here's what I got:

Marcia -- Ashlee or Kendall
Jan -- Carolyn or Tatiana (Tatiana seems way wrong)
Cindy -- Diana, Briana, Lily

I'll leave the boys to someone else.

May 12, 2010 6:53 AM
By mattress (not verified)

I like her sweater,Looks so warm..Where do you buy it? I want it too!!

July 17, 2010 10:28 AM
By sanejenny (not verified)

I have watch the simulation of the connection. I think that's good enough to be installed in that building. Good luck, then.

July 26, 2010 7:08 AM
By cheap hammocks (not verified)

He is a hostel's bussinessman, he has about 3 hostels in a different cities. And all of them has been fulled of guest. That's a nice way to run that bussiness.

November 30, 2012 10:11 PM
By home page (not verified)

Good sharing of this post. thanks.

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