August 14, 2004 by

Julia Child

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Categories: Artists

jchild.jpgJulia Carolyn McWilliams Child, the unflappable “French Chef” and the first woman inducted into the Culinary Institute of America’s hall of fame, died in her sleep on Aug. 12. Cause of death was not released. She was 91.
Born in Pasadena, Calif., Julia graduated from Smith College and worked as a copywriter in New York. When World War II began, she signed up for intelligence work with the Office of Strategic Services, the predecessor of the Central Intelligence Agency. While clerking in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), Julia met her soulmate, Paul Cushing Child, the head of the OSS’s cartography division. They wed in 1946 and moved to Paris a year later. Paul Child died in 1994.
A late-blooming cook, Child was in her 30s when she studied culinary technique at the Cordon Bleu. She mastered the art of French cooking and co-founded L’Ecole de Trois Gourmandes, a cooking school in Paris, with her friends Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle.
After moving to Cambridge, Mass., in 1961, Child introduced American kitchens to French cuisine. Over the next four decades, she published 10 cookbooks, including “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home,” which she co-wrote with acclaimed chef Jacques Pépin.
In 1963, Child launched her television career on WGBH in Boston with “The French Chef.” Within five years, the popular cooking show turned her into a household name and earned her a spot on the cover of Time magazine. “The French Chef” eventually became the longest-running program in the history of public television. Child later starred in “Julia Child & Company,” “Baking With Julia” and “Dinner With Julia.” In the 1980s, she produced a regular segment for “Good Morning America.”
Child was the first public television personality to win an Emmy Award. She also received a George Foster Peabody Award, a National Book Award, the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Legion of Honor from the French government. The Smithsonian Institution in Washington D.C. recreated Child’s kitchen for a popular exhibit on American culture. Her cookbook collection currently resides at the Schlesinger Library at Harvard University.
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5 Responses to Julia Child

  1. Tiffany

    i would like to just say that i have always dreamed of being a proffional chef and when i had heard that julia child had died i was devestated all my dreams had faded away…but i would just like to thank her for inspiring so many people to do so much!!Thank you!!

  2. misty

    I am currently enrolled in culinary school and I truly admire and want so much to follow in the foot steps of the great Julia Child. I have read so many books about her life and career. She has ignited a fire in my heart to become the next great woman in the culinary world.. : )

  3. kristie

    I just finished ready the book “Julie and Julia” by Julie Powell. The recipes in that book were amazing.
    Julia Child had wonderful recipes.
    God Bless Her.

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