Julia McWilliams was born in California in 1912. At six feet, two inches (1.88m) tall, she played tennis, golf, and basketball as a youth and at Smith College, from which she graduated in with a major in History.
Julia did not learn to cook until she met her would-be husband, Paul Child, who grew up in a family very interested in food. After their marriage, the couple ended up living in Paris. While her husband worked for the US State Department, Julia enrolled at the prestigious Le Cordon Bleu cooking school.
Julia co-authored (with two French women) the legendary volumes, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, that introduced American audiences to French cuisine. She translated the French into English, making the recipes detailed, interesting, and practical. First published in 1961, it was a best seller and the book is still in print.
Following this success, Julia wrote magazine articles and a regular newspaper column. She would go on to publish nearly twenty titles under her name and with others. Her PBS television series, The French Chef, debuted in 1963 making Julia Child a household name and presence.
The show ran nationally for ten years and won Peabody and Emmy Awards.
Julia Child had a large impact on American households and housewives. Because of the technology in the 60s, the show was unedited, causing her blunders to appear in the final version and ultimately lend “authenticity and approachability to television.