Sometimes, even in this less-than-ideal world, people are born with names like Olympia Dukakis. That is awesome.
Though perhaps overshadowed by her cousin – former Massachussetts governor and unsuccessful 1988 presidential candidate Michael Dukakis – Olympia has carved out a very successful acting career, and last year she earned her 100th film credit at the young age of 80.
Olympia won an Oscar, a Golden Globe, a BAFTA award, and the awesome-sounding Kansas City Film Critics Circle Award for best supporting actress for her role in 1987’s Moonstruck, starring Cher as a lady named Loretta Castorini who becomes romantically interested in her one-handed brother-in-law-to-be, played by Nicolas Cage.
The only reason Olympia was a supporting actress in this film was because the directors took a long hard look at the cast and decided that the name Cher [no last name] (née Cherilyn Bono née Cherilyn LaPierre née Cherilyn Sarkisian), was slightly funnier.
In my mind, that’s debatable, but at least a debate like that would have occurred in a world of my imagination, where everything is as it should be. A world where conversations like this happen:
“Top of the morning to you! My name is Constantine S. Dukakis, and I hail from Anatolia.”
“Hail fellow, well met! I am Alexandra Christos, born and raised in the Peloponnese!”
“Let’s get married and have kids named Olympia and Apollo!”
“Sure thing, pardner!” – Conversation from Lowell, Massachusetts, 1920-something (in a more ideal alternate universe)
and this one:
“Do you caucus?”
“Of course I do caucus, I’m Olympia Dukakis!” – Olympia Dukakis, delegate at the 1988 Democratic National Convention, on how she planned to help her cousin win the party’s nomination (in a more ideal alternate universe)
But unlike her accomplished, but less-telegenic cousin – who had probably the only instance in U.S. political history where a politician’s aspirations were weakened by trying to pander to the military – no one can claim that Olympia was a one-hit wonder: she also earned another Golden Globe nomination (for Sinatra) and three Emmy nominations (for Lucky Day, More Tales of the City, and Joan of Arc).
In 2008, she participated in one of those perfect funny-named occurrences, when Olympia Dukakis starred in a revival of Tennessee Williams’ The Milk Train Doesn’t Stop Here Anymore. This is proof that people like Olympia Dukakis, and the many other names featured on our blog, help make our world a much better place, due to their funny-named awesomeness. Thank you Olympia!