Chef Julia Child Dies at 91

Julia Child, the tall, gregarious chef who redefined the American culinary landscape with her landmark books and television shows, died Friday August 13, 2004 in Montecito, CA, after bouts with kidney failure; she was 91, two days shy of her 92nd birthday.

At a commanding height of 6 feet, 2 inches, Child preached a cooking style that reveled in the joys of good food and sharing it wholeheartedly, mixing French and American styles. Unpretentious in her cooking, she was an earthy and human role model for aspiring cooks, and was never afraid to make a mess or pick up dropped items without a care; her on-the-fly cooking style was parodied in a now-legendary Saturday Night Live skit in which Dan Aykroyd as Child merrily continued on with a recipe after slicing open numerous veins and spattering blood all over the kitchen.

Child, who never took a cooking lesson until she was in her 30s, embarked on her culinary career in Paris after World War II, co-authoring Mastering the Art of French Cooking. That book, still in print, led to her famous, long-running PBS show The French Chef, which ran from 1962-1973 and won both an Emmy and Peabody Award. Numerous books and television shows followed, and she worked well into her 80s. As a fitting tribute, her kitchen is now a permanent exhibit at the Smithsonian Institute. Child, who had no children and whose husband died in 1994, is survived by extended family.

Prepared by IMDb staff

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