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Movie Review The Josephine Baker Story Born on June 3 1906 Josephine Baker was a survivor Far from the glitter and gaiety that characterized her beloved Paris Bakers beginnings were harsh and difficult Born in the slums of St Louis Missouri Baker grew up sleeping in cardboard shelters and scavenging for food in garbage cans At age 13 Baker left her parents house and got a job as a waitress Soon afterwards she married Willie Wells However the marriage ended in divorce and she returned to her waitress job She then joined a group of performers the Jones Family Band and had her stage debut at the Booker T Washington Theater a black vaudeville house in St Louis By age 18 she was out of Missouri had been discovered in New York and was performing with numerous troupes in various stage productions Some of these productions included the Folies-Bergeres Ziegfeld Follies and the famed Le Negre Revue in Paris In Le Negre Revue Baker danced with a male partner her costumes consisting of a skirt of feathers It was in Paris that Bakers transformation began For a city that was bursting with the spirit and rhythm of jazz Baker was a perfect match She was an entertainer and dancer known for her contortionist positions striking ebony features and her cross-eyed face that she made As she swung from a trapeze at the Folies-Bergere or tossed flowers to her audience Baker embodied the pain and emotion of the times During the early 30s Baker toured Europe recorded songs for Columbia Records and starred in different two films Zou-Zou and Princess Tam-Tam In 1935 Baker hesitantly returned to the United States searching for the success she had in France However American audiences werent ready for a black woman with the style grace and sophistication that Baker possessed Before returning to France Baker divorced her second husband Willie Baker who she had married in
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