In 1963, a charismatic woman with a passion for French cuisine and an inimitable voice stepped in front of the cameras at WGBH and introduced Americans to the art of French cooking. More than a decade after her death, Julia Child continues to captivate the public's imagination.
She was born Julia McWilliams in Pasadena, California, on Aug. 15, 1912. She married her husband, Paul Child, in 1946. Paul joined the United States Information Agency and was assigned to the US Embassy in Paris in 1949.
While in Paris with her husband, Julia enrolled at le Cordon Bleu, where she attended French cooking classes. Along with two French friends, Simone Beck and Louisette Bertholle, she co-wrote Mastering the Art of French Cooking, published in 1961, which aimed to make French cooking accessible to Americans. The three women also ran a cooking school in Paris, L’Ecole des Trois Gourmandes (the school of the three hearty eaters). That same year, the Childs returned to the US, settling in Cambridge, Massachusetts.