Alfred Hitchcock, often referred to as the “Master of Suspense” worked with forty-seven lead actresses in his five decades of film making. Let’s explore his seven most memorable leading ladies.
Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint won an Oscar for her performance in One the Waterfront, though her role of Eve Kendall in Hitchcock’s North by Northwest is arguably one of her most memorable roles. Eva is a Latin form of the name Eve meaning life. Currently ranked at Number 75, Eva hasn’t been this popular since the mid-1920s. Eva ranked at Number 66 in 1924, the year Saint was born. Eva peaked in popularity in 1900 at Number 33.
Grace Patricia Kelly
The epitome of elegance, Grace Kelly starred with James Stewart in Rear Window, one of Hitchcock’s greatest films. Kelly also starred in Hitchcock’s Dial M for Murder and To Catch a Thief. Grace Kelly truly lived up to her virtuous name which means elegance and refinement. A popular name in the early 1900s, Grace regained popularity again in the late 1990s. Today Grace ranks at Number 19, it was Number 54 in 1929 when Kelly was born. Grace peaked in 2004 when it reached Number 13 in popularity.
Legendary beauty Ingrid Bergman starred in some of Hitchcock’s most acclaimed films. One of her most remembered roles was alongside Cary Grant in the thriller Notorious. Bergman also starred in Hitchcock’s Spellbound and Under Capricorn. Ingrid is a polarizing name with a strong sound that people seem to love or hate. Ingrid is an old Norse name meaning beautiful. Currently Number 957, Ingrid was not in the Top 1,000 in 1915 when Bergman was born. Ingrid peaked in 1967 reaching Number 380.
Janet Leigh – born Jeanette Helen Morrison
Janet Leigh’s appearance in Psycho made her one of Hitchcock’s most famous leading ladies. Though her role was brief, Leigh’s shower scene became one of the most famous scenes in cinematic history. Janet is a Medieval diminutive of Jane, meaning God is gracious. Janet fell out of the Top 1,000 in 2012, though it ranked at Number 112 the in 1927 when Leigh was born. Janet peaked in 1938 when it reached Number 16.
Joan Fontaine – born Joan de Beauvoir de Havilland
Joan Fontaine’s first Hitchcock film was Rebecca. Fontaine was the only actor, male or female, to win an Academy Award in a Hitchcock film for her role in Suspicion. Joan is a Medieval form of Johanna meaning God is gracious. Joan is a generational name, seen more these days on Grandmother’s and Great-Grandmother’s. Joan was last in the Top 1,000 in 1993, but ranked at Number 182 in 1917 when Fontaine was born. Joan reached its peak in 1933 when it was Number 5.
Kim Novak – born Marilyn Pauline “Kim” Novak
Kim Novak’s most praised work was for her role in Vertigo. Hitchcock cast Novak in Vertigo as a replacement to Vera Miles, who had to leave the part when she became pregnant. Kim is an English diminutive of the place name, Kimberly. Modern parents may enjoy other “Kim names” like Kimber or Kimball. Kim left the Top 1,000 in 1992, and was not in the Top 1,000 in 1933 when Novak was born. Novak more than likely helped Kim gain attention as it peaked in 1960 when it reached spot Number 34.
Tippi Hedren – born Nathalie Kay “Tippi” Hedren
Tippi Hedren was the last classic Hitchcock leading lady starring in the legendary film The Birds. Hedren also starred alongside Sean Connery in Marnie, considered to be Hitchcock’s last great film. Tippi is a nickname that Hedren received from her father. Tippi has never ranked in the Top 1,000 though her given name, Nathalie is currently Number 652 and was Number 828 in 1930 when Hedren was born. Nathalie is a variant of Natalie meaning the Lord’s Birthday. Nathalie peaked in 1998 reaching spot Number 446. Tippi could be a quirky and fun nickname to Tabitha, Tiffany, or Topanga.
Which of these Leading Lady’s names do you like best?