Josephine Baker was a French actress, singer, and dancer who was born as a child of an Afro-American family in the USA in 1906. She was known as the Bronze Venus, Creole Goddess or Black Pearl.
Her original name was Freda Josephine McDonald and both of her parents were stage performers. For this reason, the little girl grew up around the stage. She started to work for families as a maid when she was only eight. At the age of 12, she left the school and started to live on the street in very poor conditions. Occasionally she performed dances on the corner and luckily she got in the St. Louis Chorus when she was only 15. Soon after she moved to New York City and continued performing with greater expectations. In a short while, she managed to get the highest payment in the chorus.
In 1925 she went to Paris, where she got a job in a theatre on Champs Élysées. She performed erotic dances, often completely nude. She had a great success. Later she left Paris for a European tour. She could be seen on stage in Vienna, Austria and in other countries as well. Then she returned to Paris. Even Ernest Hemingway was enchanted by her beauty and several contemporary artists were inspired to eternalize her in their works. In 1934 she performed in operas after vocal training.
She had a great reputation in Europe but when she returned to the US she couldn’t achieve the same success. In 1937 she traveled back to Paris and after getting married to a Frenchman, she gave up the American citizenship for the French nationality.
In the World War 2, she worked as an intelligence agent when met officers in parties at ministries or embassies. In 1941 she traveled to several countries of North-Africa for gathering information and entertaining soldiers. She was also involved in civil right movements. Baker adopted many children from different nations and ethnicities.
She continued performing in her later years too and spent more than 5 decades in the world of show business. Josephine Baker died in 1975 at the age of 68. Her funeral was held in military honors.