https://www.gamasutra.com/blogs/DavidLi ... Editor.php
"We decided that we’d have something called "actors", because there are these actor-based programming laws defined in the 1980s in SmallTalk, which I'd really been enamored with at the time. It was all object-oriented. That seems like an appropriate start. So we came up with the idea of pawns, as well as instigators for defining who started a series of events, who gets credit for a kill, and all the other terminology."