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Paul Cushing Child

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Latin School

1.85 m

Paul Child

Paul Cushing Child sitting on a chair while wearing his civil servant unifrom

January 15, 1902 (age 92) (
May 12, 1994 (aged 92), Lexington, Massachusetts, United States
Julia Child (m. 1946–1994)

Marriage location


Julia and Paul Child's Real Spy Adventures with the OSS

Paul Cushing Child (January 15, 1902 – May 12, 1994) was an American civil servant and diplomat. He is best known as the husband of celebrity chef Julia Child.


Early life

Paul Cushing Child and Julia Child in black and white sitting together

Child was born in Montclair, New Jersey, on January 15, 1902, to Bertha Cushing and Charles Tripler Child. When he and his twin brother Charles were six months old, their father died and the twins moved with their mother to her family's home in Boston, where Paul attended Boston Latin School

Paul Cushing Child and Julia Child sitting together with a portion of food in front of them

He took an extension course at Columbia College and later became a teacher in France, Italy, and the United States, giving instruction in various subjects including photography, English, and French. In 1941, while at Avon Old Farms School, he was a teacher and mentor to John Gillespie Magee, Jr., who later wrote the famous poem "High Flight." Child also taught judo and was a fourth degree black belt.

Government service and marriage

During World War II, Child joined the OSS. While stationed in Kandy, Ceylon (now Sri Lanka); he met Julia McWilliams, who also worked for the OSS. They married on September 1, 1946, in Lumberville, Pennsylvania, and later moved to Washington, D.C. Child was known for his sophisticated palate. 

Paul Cushing Child and Julia Child wearing white sleeves while celebrating valentine's day together

After he finished his work with the OSS, Child joined the United States Foreign Service and introduced his wife to fine cuisine. In 1948, the U.S. State Department assigned Child to be an exhibits officer with the United States Information Agency. While in Paris, his wife took up cooking and became a student at the famed Paris cooking school, Le Cordon Bleu.

Paul Cushing Child and Julia Child wearing long sleeves while standing together

After five years in Paris, Child was reassigned to Marseille, Bonn, and Oslo. In April 1955, he was summoned from Bonn to undergo interrogation in Washington, D.C. While there, he was questioned about his political beliefs and the political beliefs of his co-workers. 

Paul Cushing Child and Julia Child smiling together while holding a glass of wine

Specifically, he was questioned about Jane Foster, a friend of the Childs' during World War II. Feeling his privacy had been violated through the interrogation, Child and his wife's oppositions to the Senate investigations were reinforced. Child retired from government service in 1961.

Later years

Following his retirement, the Childs moved to Cambridge, Massachusetts, where his wife wrote cookbooks and he supplied photographs and illustrations for them. Child was also known as a poet who frequently wrote about his wife. His prose was later celebrated in an authorized biography of Julia. In Appetite for Life, portions of the letters he wrote to his twin brother, Charles, while the Childs lived abroad were included as illustration of his love and admiration for his wife and her cooking skills and talent.

Paul Child died at a nursing home in Lexington, Massachusetts, on May 12, 1994, following a long illness. His widow died ten years later, on August 13, 2004.

Paul Child was portrayed by Stanley Tucci in the 2009 comedy-drama film Julie & Julia, which was adapted in part from Julia Child's memoir My Life in France.


Paul Cushing Child Wikipedia

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