Note: ethnic names

In the NYT on the 17th an obit by Daniel Slotkin, “Ira Lewis, Actor and Playwright, Dies at 82”. Fascinating life in the theater, ending with this familial note:

Mr. Lewis, who lived in Westfield, N.J., is survived by two brothers, Marvin and Seymour.

Lovely: Ira, Marvin, and Seymour, three traditional American Jewish names. Times have changed. A couple of generations ago, such names went out of fashion, to be replaced by more generically “American” (gentile) names — for men, by a collection of Irish-derived names. So Ira, Marvin, and Seymour became Kevin, Sean, and Brady.

2 Responses to “Note: ethnic names”

  1. Bob Richmond Says:

    Harry Golden recorded that the high school principal, when he wrote a guy’s diploma, would often ask him if he wanted to change his name. So Isaac, Moshe, and Shlomo became Ira, Marvin, and Seymour.

    Kevin, Sean, and Brady? Well, not Christopher anyway, let’s hope.

Leave a Reply

%d bloggers like this: