Meryl Streep as Julia Child
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Julia Child: Her life in pictures

Meryl Streep as Julia Child
Meryl Streep’s mesmerizing performance in “Julie & Julia” had one downside -- walking out of the theater, it was hard to remember what the real Julia Child looked like anymore. That’s because Streep was magnificent at channeling the endearingly awkward mannerisms and high-pitched voice of that master chef. So we decided to comb the L.A. Times article and photo archives for Julia Child highlights. And when we did, we were struck once again: No offense, Meryl, but the real Julia Child is absolutely unforgettable. Bon Appetit!

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Julia Child making a salade nicoise
This 1978 file photo shows Julia Child making a salade nicoise from the kitchen of her vacation home in southern France. More so than the tools and techniques she popularized, Child’s most lasting legacy may be her spirit and sense of humor. This 1985 story was all about her return to the kitchen -- via videotape.

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Julia Child as showman
Julia Child explaining that the weight of a pan, and its temperature, are key to a successful omelet, in this 1961 file photo. Nicholas Roosevelt, omelet specialist, notes Julia Child’s method with interest. In this 1988 article, Child had a different focus: warning the public about U.S. seafood contamination.

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Julia Child demonstrates the usefulness of a rubber spatula
Julia Child demonstrates the usefulness of a rubber spatula, especially for stirring and determining a custard’s consistency, in this 1961 file photo. Click here to read what Julia had to say about Jean Stapleton’s performance.

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Juicing a lemon with Julia
A quick tip from Julia: In a pinch, you can juice a lemon through the corner of a towel fastened to the cook’s apron belt, as demonstrated in this 1961 file photo. This 1989 story is all about the man behind the woman -- Paul Child.

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“Don’t overcook the fish,” Julia Child warned.
But perhaps the most invaluable tip that came during this cooking session, and documented in this 1961 file photo: Don’t overcook the fish. Is it any surprise that it always seemed as if Julia was winning one award or another? Read this 1992 piece on yet another award being bestowed on the legend.

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Familiar face
A favorite of the media, seemingly every Julia Child benchmark was lovingly documented. Here’s a story on Child’s 80th birthday -- and an omelet recipe. This is an undated promotional photograph for one of Child’s many videos.

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Hail to the Chef
This circa 1978 photo was a promotional shot for a public television series honoring Julia Child. It was billed thusly: “Hail to the Chef: ‘American Masters’ salutes cooking-show pioneer Julia Child.” This 1997 book review took on Child’s biography: “Appetite for Life.”

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A day in the life of a living legend
This 2002 file photo caught Julia relaxing on her patio in Montecito. She resisted calling her condominium a retirement home: “I’m not retired, am I?” Here’s the 2002 story that accompanied that photo, and looked at a day in the life of a living legend.

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Julia Child in her kitchen
Julia Child does cook for herself, though not as often as she used to; the kitchen in her Montecito home is tiny. Shown here in a 2002 file photo, she was more likely to be giving a phone interview or thinking about her next book. This 2006 piece relived Julia’s life in France -- and showed you how you could do the same.

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Julia Child at home in Cambridge, Mass.
Julia Child at home in Cambridge, Mass., showing off her tomatoes in this 1992 file photo. Child was reintroduced to a new generation of wanna-be chefs, in part because of a blog written by Julia Powell -- which of course became fodder for the new hit movie. In this 2003 piece, Russ Parsons profiles Powell, and her quirky endeavor to cook through Child’s masterpiece cookbook.

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Food-laden fetes for Julia’s big day
Restaurateur Traci Des Jardins, left, joins Julia Child at a preliminary 90th birthday party in San Francisco, in 2002. “Just wild, isn’t it?” Child said of the turnout. This 2002 story captured the food-laden fetes that came before the big day.

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Julia Child died in 2004, at the age of 91
Julia Child died in 2004, at the age of 91, at her apartment in Montecito. She continues to be adored by the masses. Click here to read her obituary, which ran on the front page of the L.A. Times. The movie “Julie & Julia” includes a mystery that might leave some moviegoers shaking their heads. Well, Times Food Editor Russ Parsons -- a personal friend to Julia Child -- has the answer. (Tread carefully, though, if you haven’t yet seen the movie. This column definitely contains some spoilers.)

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