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Josephine Baker

Baker, Josephine, 1906–75, African-American dancer and singer, b. St. Louis, Mo., as Freda Josephine McDonald. In 1923 and 1924 she appeared in Broadway chorus lines. She became a sensation in Paris in La Revue Nègre (1925), renowned for her jazz singing, dancing, and exotically skimpy costumes. By 1927 she was one of Europe's most famous and highly paid entertainers. Naturalized as a French citizen in 1937, she worked for the Resistance in World War II and was awarded (1961) the Legion of Honor. She died in Paris after 14 triumphant performances of Josephine, celebrating her 50 years as a performer in Paris.

See P. Rose, Jazz Cleopatra (1989); J.-C. Baker and C. Chase, Josephine (1994); B. Jules-Rosette, Josephine Baker in Art and Life (2007).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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See more Encyclopedia articles on: Music: Popular and Jazz: Biographies


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