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Associated with the Virgin Mary, also called Santa Maria de las Mercedes, meaning "Our Lady of Mercies." Related to the names, Mercy and Mersera. Possibly inspired by Alexandre Dumas's 1846 novel, "The Count of Monte Cristo," featuring "Mercedes" as the lost love of character, "Edmond Dantes." A popular bearer was Mercedes McCambridge, an Academy Award-winning American actress who began as a radio performer in the 1940s and got her first break in Hollywood with her 1949 film, "All the King's Men." Mercedes Ruehl, an Academy Award-winning theater and film actress, influenced the name beginning in the 1970s. It peaked among the top 200 between 1990 and 1995. Also the name of the German luxury car.