Names Worn by Moira Shearer

Moira Shearer

Stunning redhead Moira Shearer was born in 1926 in Dunfermline, Fife, Scotland, as Moira Shearer King. In 1931 her family moved to Ndola, Northern Rhodesia, where her father, Harold Charles King, worked as a civil engineer. It was here where she first started to take dance lessons under the tutelage of a former pupil of Enrico Cecchetti. In 1936 they went to Britain, where she trained under Flora Fairbairn before being accepted as a pupil by Nihcolas Legat.Three years later Moira would join Sadler's Wells Ballet School. With the outbreak of WWII her parents took them back to Scotland.

Her first big break came when she posed as Posy Fossil in the ads for "Ballet Shoes" by Noel Streatfeild, who was friends with Flora Fairbairn. Then, she was cast as the lead in "The Red Shoes", the film she is most well known for. By 1953 she had retired from dancing, but continued to appear in films. She teamed up again with Michael Powell, who had directed "The Red Shoes", in "Peeping Tom", which ruined his career. Gillian Lynne, a choreographer, persuaded her to return to ballet in 1987 for "A Simple Man". She also wrote for the Telegraph occasionally. Moira eventually married Ludovic Kennedy, and had three daughters, Ailsa, Fiona, and Rachel, and a son, Alastair. She died in 2006 at the age of eighty.

Victoria - "The Red Shoes" - A regal and classic name, Victoria, quite appropriately, means "victory". Victoria was also the Roman Goddess of victory, and is often depicted in a chariot. It is currently #28 in the US, but still just as lovely.

Stella and Olympia - "The Tales of Hoffman" - Moira played the dual role of the prima donna, Stella, and the automaton, Olympia, in this film version of the opera. Stella was a fast riser after Tori Spelling brought it back into fashion; it is currently #62. Stella is Latin and means "star", and was created by Sir Philip Sydney for his sonnets titled "Astrophel and Stella". Olympia is a beautiful and weighty name that is still waiting in limbo. It comes from the name of the mountain on which the Gods and Goddesses of Greek mythology lived.

Sylvia, Daphne, Olga, and Colette - "The Man Who Loved Redheads" - Once again Moira played multiple roles in this film. Sylvia is a feminine form of Silvius, which comes from the Latin silva meaning "woods, forest". Sylvia is currently #525, making it unusual, but not unknown. The lovely, soft Daphne means "laurel", and is Greek. In mythology, Daphne was a nymph who unfortunately attracted the attention of Apollo, and was turned into a laurel tree in order to escape his advances. Olga is a name I secretly love, even though every one else pretty much despises it. It is the Russian form of Helga, and means "holy" or "blessed". The last time it ranked in the US was in 1996; it was #967. Finally, we come to Colette; it is a diminutive of Nicolette, and surprisingly was the name of a nun who became a Saint, and gave money to the poor. The most famous bearer is author Sidonie-Gabrielle Colette, better known simply as "Colette".


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