Julia McWilliams Child, 1912 - 2004

portrait of Julia Child
Polaroid portrait by Elsa Dorfman (18 October 1988)
Julia Child signature

Born: 15 August 1912, Pasadena, California
Died: 14 August 2004, Montecito, California

Born Julia McWilliams, the future chef attended Polytechnic School there and The Branson School at Ross, California. After graduating with a BA in history from Smith College in 1934, she worked as an advertising copywriter at New York City before moving back to California. When war broke out, the six-foot-tall Julia joined the Office of Strategic Services (OSS, the precursor to the CIA) because she was too tall for the WAVEs. She served at Washington City, Ceylon (where she met a coworker, Paul Child), and China during the war. Julia and Paul moved to Washington City where they married, when Paul joined the Foreign Service they moved to Paris. Amazed by French cuisine, she attended Le Cordon Bleu, and starting in 1951 taught French cooking to visiting Americans in Julia's kitchen with two friends. While living at Cambridge, Massachusetts Julia inked a book deal with Houghton Mifflin, who rejected the manuscript for being too much like an encyclopedia, so it was Alfred A. Knopf that published Mastering the Art of French Cooking in 1961. A television appearance promoting the book lead to her own show, The French Chef, on WBGH Boston. Over the course of the next three decades she had numerous shows, she considered the video series and book, The Way to Cook, to be her magnum opus. (The Quotemaster owes much of his rotund physique to extensive savory experimenting with that volume.) Julia founded the American Institute of Wine and Food at Napa, California in 1981. She received honorary doctorates from her alma mater, Harvard, and several other universities, received the French Legion of Honor in 2000, and the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003. She died of renal failure two days short of her 92nd birthday. Her favorite ingredient was butter, the headline of her New York Times obituary read: "Julia Child, the French Chef For a Jell-O Nation, Dies at 91"

Biography from Wikipedia and StarChefs

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