Remember when Soap Central came up with a list of what we thought were the 20 best soap opera names of all time? We included greats like Fallon Carrington Colby, Whipple Jones, Fox Crane, and Jagger Cates. You agreed with most of them, you disagreed with some, and you named many others that deserved to be on the list of wacky and wonderful monikers. Well, we're playing the name game again, and this time we're listing another 15 memorable names from soap operas.
But before we get to the list, have you ever wondered how soap opera writers name their characters? In the book Beautiful Baby Names from Your Favorite Soap Operas, which was published in the mid-90s, former General Hospital executive producer Wendy Riche said that the process of naming characters is much like how parents name their children.
"We name characters after an idealized name or reference so that there's an emotional connection with the name," she explained. For example, the names of Jagger Cates, Port Charles' 1994 heartthrob, and his estranged brother, Stone Cates, were chosen during a free association exercise.
"Each of the writers came up with a list of 20 names. None of them sounded right, and all of a sudden, I thought 'Jagger,'" Riche recalls. "It was edgy. I didn't even consider the rock 'n' roll connection. But later I placed it with `Mick,' and then the name `Stone' came out of that from `like a rolling stone.'"
Funny enough, some of the most unique soap opera names actually come from real life, such as the case for The Bold and the Beautiful's Thorne Forrester, Ridge Forrester, and Brooke Forrester, as well as The Young and the Restless' Christine "Cricket" Blaire. As Lee Phillip Bell, who co-created both soaps, explained, "Cricket is a friend of ours in Lake Geneva. We have a friend Thorne Donnelly. And in our travels, we have met people named Ridge and Brooke."
Not all names that make it to the screen are winners, however. Former GH head writer Claire Labine shared that shortly before she left the series in 1996, there was a bit of a tiff between the show's writers and producers over the name Jasper Jacks, a.k.a. Jax Jacks.
"For the most part, writers get to pick the names. Often, the name is coming out of the writer's unconscious," she shared. "I had created a character named Jasper. I got it out of a Victorian children's book I read about a thousand years ago. He was a wonderful hero. The [character] was to be eccentric, oddball, and the name speaks to that. I loved the name. But the producers hated it, just hated it, and changed his name to Jax."
Cass is pretty soapy in and of itself, but it's even more so when you consider the fact that the character was a real Cassanova with the ladies. And if his first name didn't immediately give women the indication that he was perhaps a smooth talker, his middle name certainly said he was a cad -- and we mean that quite literally, because it was Cadwallader!
His full name is Prince Valentin Mikkosovich Cassadine, but just Valentin Cassadine on its own is enough to signal that the person who has this name is probably not someone you want to mess with. Had he been named Bob, would Valentin have blossomed into a nefarious schemer whose rap sheet started as a teenager, when he burned down Bedlingham Academy and ended up killing the school's headmaster? We'll never know.
Technically, Chance's real name is Phillip, but the character decided he wanted to be called Chance, instead -- likely to differentiate himself from his father, who was also called Phillip. We're just not sure why Y&R's writers didn't take a -- for lack of a better word -- chance on a nickname that didn't derive from Phillip's surname. Maybe they were just in the groove, having already found success with the 90s character Blade Bladeson.
Who knows if the Bell family knew a real-life Massimo from their travels, but in any case, it was the perfect moniker for Ridge and Nick's father. The name means "the greatest" in Italian, and Massimo really was -- or at least, he thought he was! And so did a lot of powerful women on the canvas who found themselves in his arms, including Stephanie Douglas, Sally Spectra, Jackie Payne, and Sheila Carter.
Langley Wallingford is a name right up there with J.P. Morgan and Mayer Rothschild, which made it the perfect made-up moniker for Lenny Wlasuk, a con man who began calling himself Langley Wallingford in an attempt to woo Phoebe Tyler, the richest woman in Pine Valley. It worked, and Langley and Phoebe (mostly) remained together until the deaths of their real-life portrayers in the early 2000s.
When we called this iconic soap character a masterfully manipulative, materialistic, and selfish sexpot, we weren't exaggerating. Raven was rapacious in her efforts to get her hands on money, from marrying wealthy men she truly couldn't stand to raising an unwanted baby on the chance the kid might inherit a fortune. She's a soap icon, for sure, but so is her unique name, which instantly conjures up forces of darkness and "prey snags quarry" scenarios.
As for where the moniker came from, Raven herself -- whose real name was Charlotte -- got rather tipsy during a low point in her life and explained why she'd chosen her new name. "I want to fly but not on a plane. See, I want wings of my own," she declared, "One day, I was sitting on the lawn, and I saw this beautiful black bird with shining wings fly by, and oh, I wanted to be that bird."
Augustus Wilder sounds rather poetic, which is probably why the character, who was a tough physical therapist who whipped Jack into shape after he was shot by Patty, went by the nickname Sarge. Had he kept his original moniker, his ruthless nature with struggling patients probably wouldn't have packed such a punch. And that's perhaps why the writers thought twice about parading him around Genoa City as Augustus.
Mariah Maximilliana is quite a mouthful, so, the character with this moniker just goes by the simple name Maxie. Alas, that's the only bit of simple in the girl's life, which has been filled with drama since the moment she was born -- and that isn't just an expression: Maxie's mother, Felicia, gave birth to her while she was stuck in an apartment window, dressed as a clown!
Many of you took us to task for not including Felicia Gallant in our first round of great soap opera names, and we wouldn't be so, ahem, gallant as to make the mistake again! Especially because you were right: considering Felicia was a romance novelist, it totally made sense that her last name summed up the qualities a leading man from her novels would possess: bravery, courage, valor, and heroism.
If you had a last name like Rockefeller, Carnegie, or Astor, you'd probably never want to let it go. Such was the case for Y&R's Lauren Fenmore, an heiress to the famous Fenmore's department store chain. When she married Michael Baldwin, she kept her recognizable surname in the family by bestowing it to the couple's child, who often just goes by Fen.
With a name like Suede, you'd think Marty Saybrooke's boyfriend would have a smooth go of life, but that turned out not to be the case. When Marty's rapist, Todd, briefly escaped from jail, held her at gunpoint, and threatened to rape her again, Suede attempted to come to Marty's rescue -- and ended up dying during the struggle.
From the moment bad boy Beauregard Brady -- otherwise known as Bo -- stormed into Salem with his motorbike and leather jacket, it was clear that he was going to be someone's... beau. That someone turned out to be upper-class Salemite Hope Williams. As longtime DAYS fans know, the Bo and Hope pairing didn't happen without a lot of obstacles -- and we're guessing the show's writers had just as many obstacles in getting the name Beauregard Aurelius to the screen!
No show topped All My Children when it came to making characters sound like they came from the boonies. Names like Seabone Hunkle, Delbert Hunkle, Verla Grubbs, and Dixie Cooney were just par for the course in Pine Valley (and neighboring Pigeon Hollow), but Billy Clyde Tuggle takes the cake.
Cord is short for Cordero, and one has to wonder if OLTL's writers knew the meaning of the name when they chose it for their dashing, tall, dark, and handsome cowboy Cord Roberts. Cordero is a Spanish name that means young lamb, and the character was definitely a young lamb who was eaten alive by Tina Lord during his first scenes: he instantly fell in love with Tina, but she was a social-climbing gold digger who couldn't picture herself falling for such a poor buckaroo. The name really stuck, because years later, he was once again eaten alive by Tina, who married Cord after blackmailing his grandfather, Asa, into leaving Cord a million dollars in his will!
They just don't name 'em like they used to, and they certainly don't tell stories like they used to, either. Case in point: Laken Lockridge. Not only was she blessed with a great, soapy moniker, but she was also part of a great, soapy story in which she fell in love with Ted, a member of the rival Capwell family. Laken battled to stay with Ted -- which wasn't easy when everyone around the couple used every opportunity to hurt them, most notably her mother, Augusta, who cooked the carrier pigeon that the lovers used to send each other messages!
What do you think about our second list of super soapy names from soap operas? Which soap opera names would you list as your favorites? We want to hear from you -- and there are many ways you can share your thoughts.