Before there was Madonna, and Marilyn there was Josephine. Few people know that she was the richest woman in the world, and richest black woman in the world at the height of her performing years. She was the first to have exotic pets like her pet leopard Chiquita, and also the first to adopt children from around the world, 12 children to be exact and raise them in her bonafide castle in France. She was truly an international talent and wasn’t always celebrated but loved and adored especially by the French.
’The Josephine Baker Story’ in 1991, although made for television was quite an excellent revival of the life and times of the late and great dancer, actress, singer, Josephine Baker. This Biographical Drama was written by Ron Hutchinson and directed by Brian Gibson. With a run-time of 130 minutes they won 1 Golden Globe, another 8 wins and received 12 other notations.
Set in the 1920’s until her death in 1968, viewers are given an in-depth quest from her humble and hated days to super stardom. Lynn Whitfield was the perfect choice to portray Josephine Baker’s life as it was probably one of the best performances in her long career. Diana Ross, Diahnne Abbott, Irene Cara, Holly Robinson Peete, Whitney Houston and Neneh Cherry were all considered for the part, but Whitfield who is a native of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana proved to be the perfect fit.
Not only did the audience taste the glamour but they also enjoyed the intrigue and mystery as well as they learned Baker was a spy during World War II as well as an activist for equal rights in America. This is a movie that won’t soon be forgotten.