Josephine Baker, also known as Freda Josephine McDonald, was an American French entertainer, civil rights campaigner, and French Resistance agent. Baker rose to prominence as one of Europe’s most popular and well-paid entertainers. She was a dancer and entertainer known as “Black Pearl” and “Creole Goddess,” and her Danse Banane costume was well-known. Josephine made headlines when she became the first black woman to earn the award. On April 12, 1975, she passed away. To learn more about Josephine Baker’s family, parents, and net worth, scroll down.
Who is the Josephine Baker family? Has she adopted many children?
According to the Josephine Baker family, Carrie McDonald, her mother, was a washerwoman who had given up her ambition to be a music hall dancer. Eddie Carson, her father, was a vaudeville drummer. Shortly after Carrie’s birth, he abandoned her and Josephine. Baker retired to a sixteenth-century château she dubbed Les Milandes when she finished performing. Josephine Baker adopted 12 children from Finland, Japan, Korea, Columbia, France, Belgium, and Venezuela between 1953 and 1954. Marianne, a French girl, and Stellina, a Moroccan girl, were adopted by her. Her family was dubbed the Rainbow Tribe by her, According to the Josephine Baker family.
Baker also adopted 10 boys, including Jeannot, a Korean, Akio, a Japanese, and Luis, a Colombian. Baker sold Les Milandes as her children grew older because she ran out of money. According to the Josephine Baker family, Baker and her children went to Monaco as her career could no longer support the huge family she had produced. Baker was resented by several of her children as they grew into adolescence. He was not as tolerant of everyone as the general public assumed. Baker punished one of her sons Jarry in front of the entire family when she discovered he was gay before sending him to live with her ex-husband in Buenos Aires.
Baker bio: early life, parents, childhood, nationality, age
Freda Josephine McDonald was born in 1906 in St. Louis, Missouri, to Carrie McDonald, a laundress, and Eddie Carson, a pianist. Her upbringing predicted her eventual profession. For nickels and dimes, she first performed for the general public on the streets of St. Louis. She later worked as a chorus girl in St. Louis. She married Pullman porter William Howard Baker at the age of 15 but left him when she ran away from St. Louis at the age of 17, believing the city had too much racial discrimination. She made it to Paris, France, in the end. When she breathed her last, she was 68 years old. Her nationality was French, and her ethnicity was unknown.
Josephine received the Legion of Honor, France’s highest honor, in 1961. She ran into financial troubles in the late 1960s and quit performing in 1968. When Josephine’s financial issues were discovered, Grace Kelly, who had married Prince Rainier of Monaco and was now known as Princess Grace of Monaco, offered her a residence in Monaco. Josephine performed at Monaco’s summer ball in 1974 at Princess Grace’s request, and it was a huge success.
How did Josephine start her career?
Baker was recruited for the St. Louis Chorus vaudeville act after persistently pestering a show manager in her hometown. She moved to New York City during the Harlem Renaissance at the age of 15, when she performed at the Plantation Club, Florence Mills’ old haunt, and in the chorus lines of the innovative and massively successful Broadway revues Shuffle Along with Adelaide Hall and The Chocolate Dandies. Baker stated in a 1974 interview with The Guardian that she got her first big break in the buzzing city.
Baker had an excuse to travel around Europe as an entertainer, stopping in neutral countries like Portugal and South America. She carried information regarding airfields, harbors, and German force concentrations in the West of France for transmission to England. Baker returned to the United States in 1951 for a nightclub engagement in Miami. Baker followed up her sold-out performance at the club with a national tour after winning a public battle over desegregating the club’s audience. She performed at the London Palladium in a Royal Variety Performance, and later at the Monegasque Red Cross Gala, celebrating her 50 years in show business.
Who was Josephine Baker husband?
Josephine had dropped out of school at the age of twelve to work as a waitress at the Old Chauffeur’s Club since her family was destitute. She met Willie Wells, a Pullman porter, there and married him at the age of thirteen. Within a year, the couple had divorced. Josephine joined the Jones Family Band, a street entertainment group, and danced with them. In 1921, at the age of fifteen, she married Willie Baker for the second time. Josephine’s show business ambitions were disapproved of by Carrie, who advised her to settle down and care for her husband. Instead, Josephine left her husband and became a Broadway chorus girl when her vaudeville team booked in New York City.
Clara Smith, a blues singer, was one of her connections during her period in the Harlem Renaissance arts community. She began an adulterous affair with Belgian novelist Georges Simenon in 1925. Baker married Jean Lion, a Frenchman, in 1937. In 1940, she and Lion divorced. In 1947, she married French composer and conductor Jo Bouillon, and their 14-year marriage ended in divorce. She later had a relationship with artist Robert Brady, although the two never married. Baker had affairs, if not romances, with Ada “Bricktop” Smith, Colette, and maybe Frida Kahlo.
How did Josephine die? Was she sick?
Baker performed in Joséphine à Bobino 1975, a retrospective revue at the Bobino in Paris honoring her 50 years in show business. The revue, which partly funded by Prince Rainier, Princess Grace, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, premiered to rapturous applause. The demand for seating so high that spectators had to be accommodated with fold-out chairs. Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, Shirley Bassey, Diana Ross, and Liza Minnelli were in the audience on opening night.
Baker was located peacefully in her bed four days later, surrounded by newspapers with praising reviews of her performance. She had a serious brain hemorrhage and was in a coma for a long period. She died peacefully on April 12, 1975, at the age of 68. The French government honored her with a 21-gun salute, making Baker the first American woman to receive French military honors in history.