Dr. Cleveland Evans writes about names for the Omaha World-Herald. In his July 18th column, he looks at the history of the name Margo.
You may not know Margo’s name, but you’d likely recognize her face.
Actress Margo Martindale turns 70 today. She’s won Emmys playing crime family matriarch Mags Bennett in “Justified” (2011) and KGB handler Claudia in “The Americans” (2015 and 2016). She makes fun of herself by voicing bank-robbing “Esteemed Character Actress Margo Martindale” on Netflix’s animated “BoJack Horseman.”
Margo is a simplified spelling of Margot, a nickname for Marguerite, French form of Margaret (Greek “pearl.”)
Marguerite de Valois (1553-1615), daughter of King Henri II of France, became Queen when her cousin and husband became King Henri IV in 1589. He divorced her for being barren in 1599.
In 1845, French novelist Alexandre Dumas published “Queen Margot”, a novel based on Marguerite’s life. This falsely presented her as a sex-obsessed schemer, but helped establish Margot as a name in its own right.
Margot was often a nickname for Margaret when first used by English speakers. The two most famous British Margots, author and Prime minister’s spouse Asquith (1864-1945) and ballerina Fonteyn (1919-1991), were both born “Margaret.”