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Sandra Oh named her ‘Grey’s Anatomy’ character Dr. Cristina Yang after neighbors

Sandra Oh
Photo by Frazer Harrison/Getty Images for DGA

Sandra Oh revealed a very big (and reflective) detail about her time on “Grey’s Anatomy” that few fans even knew about. The popular character on the ABC show is making her final performance on Thursday night during the season finale and fans get to see Dr. Cristina Yang’s future. According to WetPaint on Wednesday, the fans might be surprised to learn that Sandra Oh actually named her character in a very quick moment on the first scene.

As one of the first actresses of the series, Sandra Oh has been there since the beginning. As the actress was still learning the character on the pilot, the executive producer was still trying to figure out the fictitious doctor’s last name. That’s when Sandra Oh came up with using her childhood neighbor’s last name.

"I grew up with the Yangs in Ottawa, in Canada," said Sandra Oh on “Chelsea Lately” talking about her life. "And it was Mr. and Mrs. Yang and their four daughters. I remember Lisa, Millie, someone, and someone.”

While the impact the neighbors had on the star was enough to be remembered, it appears that the other possibilities for the doctor’s name just weren't good enough. There was Kim, Park, Song and Madison. None of the other names seemed to fit very well.

An actress choosing a surname for a hit series is almost never heard of and Shonda Rhimes definitely felt comfortable enough with Oh to ask her input. Offering up not just a good character on “Grey’s Anatomy,” but someone she can relate to, it appears that Sandra Oh filled the shoes of Dr. Cristina Yang perfectly.

For a final parting gift, the cast of “Grey’s Anatomy” reminded Sandra Oh on how she impacted the show by reflecting on the pilot show and reminding her what the name was before she took ownership of the character. The idea that the gift of a fond memory wasn't lost on the fans of the popular show as she will be missed.

“Grey’s Anatomy” season finale airs Thursday at 9 p.m. ET on ABC.

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