Thursday, October 13, 2011

Cornel + Cornell (for Cornell or Cornel)

Today marks the birthday of Poland-born actor/director Cornel Wilde (1912–1989), a man who probably saw both parts of his name misspelled with some regularity throughout his life. In fact, the name by which he became known in Hollywood was a kind of misspelling in and of itself, an Americanized version of the one he had been given at birth, Kornél Lajos Weisz. Having emigrated to America at the age of seven, Wilde soon proved to be replete with natural endowments. According to Wikipedia, he was a "talented linguist and an astute mimic," with "an ear for languages which became apparent later in his acting career." He also won a scholarship to the Physicians and Surgeons College at Columbia University and "qualified for the United States fencing team prior to the 1936 Summer Olympic Games, but quit the team just prior to the games in order to take a role in the theater." Wow, sexy, strong, smart, and sensitive! There were nine cases of Cornel + Cornell in OhioLINK (six of which were actual errors) and 110 in WorldCat. Now quit staring at the birthday boy and start looking for this typo.

(Screenshot of Cornel Wilde from the trailer for the film The Greatest Show on Earth, from Wikimedia Commons.)

Carol Reid

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