Julia Carolyn McWilliams, better known as Julia Child, was a multimillionaire American author, chef, and television personality.
When it comes to cooking, Child is perhaps best known for her cookbook, which brought French cuisine into the American kitchen.
The French Chef, a popular television show that premiered in 1963, is another notable achievement of hers.
She won an Emmy Award for her work on the television show.
On November 19, 2000, Child received the equivalent honor of Knight of the French Legion of Honor.
President George W. Bush bestowed upon her the U.S. Presidential Medal of Freedom, the most prestigious award bestowed by the American president at that time.
On August 15, 1912, Julia Child was born in Pasadena, California. John McWilliams Jr., her father, was a Princeton-educated land manager who served as a lieutenant governor of Massachusetts and founded the Weston Paper Company with his mother Julia Weston, the daughter of Byron Curtis Weston.
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The younger Julia had a brother, John, and the younger Dorothy had a sister. Polytechnic and Katherine Branson (a boarding school in the town of Ross, California) were two of the schools where Child was educated and she participated in various sports as an athlete.
In 1934, Julia graduated from Smith College in Massachusetts with a degree in history. When Child met Paul, her future husband, who was “known for his sophisticated palate,” she finally learned to cook.
To honor those lost fighting for our country, this Memorial Day we’re sharing a photo Paul Child took of Julia when they were posted in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka), as part of their work for the OSS (the precursor to the CIA) during WWII. (Photo: Schlesinger Library) pic.twitter.com/c9xRzJ1ZA4
— JuliaChildFoundation (@JuliaChildJCF) May 30, 2022
W. & J. Sloane’s advertising department hired Julia after she graduated from college. Because she was too short to join either the Women’s Army Corps or the Women’s Accepted for Volunteer Emergency Service (WAVES) of the United States Navy, she became a typist for the Office of Strategic Services in 1942.
At one point, Child was promoted to a top-secret researcher under the command of General William J. Donovan. She also served in the Emergency Sea Rescue Equipment Section as a file clerk and assistant to shark repellent developers.
While in charge of the OSS Secretariat’s Registry, Julia was awarded the Emblem of Meritorious Civil Service. Experimenting with various concoctions sprinkled near the explosives solved the problem of sharks setting off too many OSS explosives underwater. According to reports, this shark repellent is still in use today.
A women’s cooking club called Le Cercle des Gourmettes was the next step for Julia after she graduated from the Cordon Bleu cooking school in Paris. She studied under master chefs like Max Bungard.
Simone Beck, a friend of Louisette Bertholle, invited Child to collaborate on a French cookbook for American readers that she was writing with her. In 1951, the three of them started teaching American women how to cook.
Ten years later, they wrote “Mastering the Art of French Cooking,” and in 1970, they wrote “Mastering the Art of French Cooking, Volume Two.”
After “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” did well, Julia started writing articles for magazines and a column for “The Boston Globe.”
“The French Chef Cookbook,” “Julia Child & Company,” “Baking with Julia,” “Julia’s Menus for Special Occasions,” “Julia’s Breakfast, Lunch, and Supper” (1999), and “Julia and Jacques Cooking at Home” are just a few of the many cookbooks she has published. She is also the author of numerous television cooking shows (1999).
On a Boston TV station in 1982, Child was invited to appear on a book review show, and viewers were impressed by her cooking demonstration. Boston’s WGBH broadcast the first episode of “The French Chef” in February 1963, and the show ran for 10 seasons, airing 201 episodes.
Julia then hosted “Julia Child & Company” from 1978 to 1979, “Julia Child & More Company” from 1979 to 1980, “Dinner at Julia’s” from 1983 to 1984, “Cooking with Master Chefs: Hosted by Julia Child” from 1993 to 1994.
“In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs” from 1995 to 1996, “Baking with Julia” from 1996 to 1998, and “Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home” from 1999 Vintners Richard Graff and Robert Mondav, along with Child, formed the American Institute of Wine & Food in 1981 with the goal of “advancement of the understanding, appreciation, quality of wine and food.”
Three of Child’s shows were shot in her kitchen in Cambridge, Massachusetts. In 2001, she gave the kitchen to the National Museum of American History at the Smithsonian Institution in Washington, D.C.
It was September 1, 1946, when Julia married Paul Cushing’s Child. With the Office of Strategic Services, Paul was stationed in Kandy in Ceylon. He met his future wife while he was in town.
Paul became an exhibits officer in Paris after joining the US Foreign Service and moving to Washington, D.C. Julia took cooking classes at Le Cordon Bleu while living in France and graduated in 1951.
After Paul’s retirement in 1961, the couple relocated to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where they have lived ever since. After a protracted illness, Paul passed away in a nursing home in Lexington, Massachusetts, in 1994.
The next year, Julia started The Julia Child Foundation for Gastronomy and Culinary Arts “to continue her far-reaching impact as a teacher and mentor after she died.” Non-profit organizations were given grants and awards in her honor after her death in 2004 when the Foundation was established.
Death and Legacy
Julia passed away on August 13th, 2004, from kidney failure in a Montecito, California assisted living facility. Two days before her 92nd birthday, she was in good health. The child’s ashes were interred in the Neptune Memorial Reef, a submerged mausoleum near Key Biscayne, Florida.
Celebrity Chefs Forever” stamps featuring Julia Child, James Beard, Joyce Chen, Felipe Rojas-Lombardi, and Edna Lewis were issued by the United States Postal Service in 2014.
Nominations and Awards
“The French Chef” garnered Child three Primetime Emmy nominations and one win in the category of Outstanding Achievement in Educational Television – Individuals. “The French Chef” (1972) and “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs” (1973) were also nominated for outstanding informational series (1994).
With two Daytime Emmy wins in 1996 and 2001 for Outstanding Service Show Host for “Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home,” Julia has also been nominated twice for “Baking with JuliaOutstanding “‘s Service Show Host honor (1997 and 1999).
In 1965, “The French Chef” won her a Peabody Award, and in 1980, “Julia Child and More Company” won her the U.S. National Book Award for Current Interest (hardcover). In 2000, Child was made a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and given the Knight of France’s Legion of Honor award.
As a posthumous honor, she received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 2003 and the National Women’s Hall of Fame posthumously in 2007. Many universities, including Harvard, Brown, and Johnson & Wales awarded Julia honorary doctorates.
What is Julia’s Child Net Worth?
Estimated worth $50,000,000
How Much Money Did Julia Child Make?
To put that into perspective, when she passed away in 2004, Julia Child had an estimated net worth of $50 million (after adjusting for inflation).
Cookbooks like “Mastering The Art of French Cooking” and “My Life in France,” which were published posthumously in 2006, helped popularise French cuisine in the United States, and she went on to publish 16 more cookbooks and a memoir, “My Life in France.”
In addition to “The French Chef” (1963–1973), “In Julia’s Kitchen with Master Chefs” (1995–1996), and “Julia & Jacques Cooking at Home” (1999–2000), Julia appeared on numerous other shows as well. In Nora Ephron’s 2009 film “Julie & Julia,” Meryl Streep played a Child.
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Frequently Asked Questions
How Much Money Did Julia Child Have When She Died?
As of her death in 2004, Julia Child had a net worth of $50 million (adjusted for inflation) in the United States.
How Did Julia Child Get So Rich?
Author and television personality Julia Child made French cuisine available to American audiences. A pioneer in television cooking shows for women, she taught viewers how to make delicious French fare with just a few simple steps.
Does Julia Child Pay for the French Chef?
To put it another way, “The French Chef” was seen as an “experiment” when it first began, according to Julia Child. It was Russ Morash’s story in the documentary that she was given a small budget and no studio to work with (they borrowed a demonstration kitchen from the local gas company)