Tuesday, October 20, 2015
How did "Lilith" get her name?
David Kruh asked:
Where did you get the name Lilith?
First of all, I didn’t name her. The writing team of Cheri & Bill Steinkellner did – originally just for a teaser. But the character was so funny and she and Frasier were such an interesting couple that Lilith (Bebe Neuwirth) just kept returning and eventually became a series regular.
Cheri Steinkellner was gracious enough to answer the question on Facebook, but I wanted to share it with all of you. So here it is:
Last name first, Billy and I named her Sternin as a pairing for Frasier in honor of our old "Who's The Boss?" writing buddies, Rob Sternin and Prudence Frasier (they went on to co-create "The Nanny").
We wanted a first name to go with it that embodied stern-ness, like a Dickensian or Hodgson-Burnett headmistress in a high-necked blouse and tight bun; (the seed of the character is Frasier's "I can count the comb-marks in your hair" - but that's another story). Back in the 80s, we had to use actual books with paper pages to look stuff like names, and our favorite was written by Leslie Dunkling (whose name we gave to a character in Disney's Teacher's Pet).
"Lilith" was the sternest, least-nonsense, comb-mark-counting-est name we could find. The Biblical badass didn't factor in. It just sounded right to our ears and made us laugh.