40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker
40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker

40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker

Khalid Elhassan - July 2, 2019

40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker
Princess Grace and Josephine Baker. Tumblr

4. Princess Grace Came Through For Baker

In her later years, Josephine Baker fell on hard times. She lost nearly everything, and she and the children of her ‘Rainbow Tribe’ were on the verge of becoming homeless, when Grace Kelly, by then Princess Grace of Monaco, stepped in to save her friend, by smoothing things over with creditors. Baker lost her chateau in France, but Princess Grace saw to it that she had a roof over her head by arranging a villa for her in Monaco. The Princess, along with her husband, Prince Rainier, and Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis, also financed a revue celebrating 50 years of Baker’s career, that opened to rave reviews in Paris.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker
Poster for Josephine Baker’s final show. Pintrest

3. She Went Out On High Note

Josephine Baker’s highly acclaimed revue in 1975 proved to be her last hurrah. It opened on April 8th, 1975, with a performance at the Bobino music hall in Paris – where most of the biggest names of 20th century French music had performed. The show, titled Josephine a Bobino 1975, celebrated 50 years of her entertainment career, and was a smashing success. Demand for seats was so high, that foldout chairs had to be added to accommodate the throngs, who included Diana Ross, Sophia Loren, Mick Jagger, Liza Minnelli, and other celebrities. Four days later, she was found lying in a coma in her bed, surrounded by newspapers containing glowing reviews of the revue. She had suffered a brain hemorrhage, and died on April 12th, 1975.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker’s funeral procession. Factinate

2. She Received a Heroine’s Burial

In recognition of her wartime heroic exploits and contributions to France, Josephine Baker had been named a Chevalier of the Legion d’honeur by Charles de Gaulle. Among the medals awarded her by the French military were the Croix de Guerre and the Medal of Resistance with Rosette. Upon her death, her funeral became the occasion for a huge procession, and Baker became the first – and only – American woman to receive full French military honors at her burial, complete with an honor guard and gun salutes.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker
Angelina Jolie’s multiracial family. Getty Images

1. Her Influence Continued After Her Death

Dance historians credited Josephine Baker with being the Beyonce of her day, and with revolutionizing onstage performances. In her day, she was actually bigger than Beyonce, who paid Baker tribute in 2006 by performing her bana dance in the Radio City Music Hall. Baker’s legacy extends beyond her public career, and her private life seems to influence celebrities to this day. In 2003, Angelina Jolie cited Baker and The Rainbow Tribe as the model for the multiracial and multicultural family she was then beginning to create through adoption.

40 Fascinating Facts About the Fabulous Josephine Baker
Josephine Baker. Pintrest

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Where Did We Find This Stuff? Some Sources and Further Reading

CMG Worldwide, Josephine Baker’s Official Site – Josephine Baker‘s Biography

Encyclopedia Britannica – Josephine Baker, French Entertainer

Factinate – 42 Extravagant Facts About Josephine Baker, the Black Pearl of Paris

Jones, Sherry – Josephine Baker‘s Last Dance (2018)

National Women’s History Museum – Josephine Baker

State Historical Society of Missouri – Josephine Baker

Wikipedia – Josephine Baker

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