Jean Beliveau-1

I was in Montreal recently and read in the local paper about the first Canadiens hockey game of the season, which was opened by Jean Beliveau (now 82). In his playing days, Beliveau was known as “Le Gros Bill,” after a popular 1949 French Canadian movie of the same name. Many top hockey players had nicknames: Maurice “Rocket” Richard, Bernard “Boom Boom” Geoffrion, Emile “Butch” Bouchard. The great Jacques Plante was “Jake the Snake.” Nicknames used to be popular. Actors had them, especially the old Western stars—George “Gabby” Hayes, Allan “Rocky” Lane, Alfred “Lash” LaRue, Edmund “Hoot” Gibson, Charles “Buck” Jones, and Woodward “Tex” Ritter, one of the many singing cowboys. Mainstream Hollywood stars used their full first names—Robert, John, James. Today shortened first names are common: Al Pacino, Johnnie Depp, Matt Damon, Tom Hanks. Are nicknames out of fashion? It would seem so. We haven’t had a president with a nickname since Ike, although we’ve had folksy Jimmy and Bill, and we almost had President Al. The last holdout for using nicknames is the Mafia: Andrew “Mush” Russo, Guiseppe “Pooch” Destefano, Joseph “Junior Lollipops” Carna. Some traditions never die.

One Response to Nicknames

  • Carol Beckmann says:

    we like reading your books. And any of your stuff. So I was driving the other day reflecting on what you had written about LeCorbusier and just into my head popped the question “what’s his nickname?” And then this on your website.

    It could be “Wit” or “Witty”. Maybe Tol. Or maybe something like the brother-in-law’s “Lump” as he was a chubby baby. Or maybe NO good reason. For the nonce my husband and I call each other “Poosta” and “Serafina”.

    So what is (are) your nickname(s)?

    A reply would be wild. TX. Carol

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *