American chef, author, and TV personality. Born Julia McWilliams, she grew up in Pasadena, California, and earned her B.A. in English at Smith College. While serving with the Office of Strategic Services (precursor to the CIA) in Ceylon during the Second World War, she met her husband, Paul Cushing Child, an OSS colleague. After the war he joined the U.S. State Department and was posted to Paris, where Julia Child studied cooking at Le Cordon Bleu and co-authored
Mastering the Art of French Cooking (1961), an immediate best-seller. In 1963 she debuted television's first cooking show, The French Chef, which ran for ten years and made Julia Child a household name. In addition to her many books about food and cooking, her posthumously published memoir, My Life in France (2006), became the basis for Meryl Streep's Oscar-nominated portrayal of Child in the film Julie & Julia. See also pbs.org/food/julia-child.