A Look Back at Julia Child and 'GMA'

It was in 1963, in the days long before TV chefs were popular, that Julia Child graced television screens across the country, bringing gourmet French cooking, and her indomitable spirit, into America's living rooms.

For more than four decades, Child continued her crusade against boredom in the kitchen, often appearing on "Good Morning America." Over the years, she became a great friend of the show.

With the upcoming movie "Julie & Julia" on the way, "GMA" takes a look back at the woman who changed the face of cooking in the United States.

Click here to visit "Good Morning America's" special Julia Child section for recipes, videos and facts about Child's incredible life.

Often appearing with a bewildered Charles Gibson, Child showed "GMA" viewers how to make the most pretentious French cuisine in sometimes the most unpretentious way.

"I'm sort of a journeyman cook," Child said in an interview before her death in 2004. "I do a bit of everything, but I'm not a specialist in anything. I'm a serious home cook, but I'm not a pro."

For master chef Emeril Lagasse, Child had an infectious way of cooking.

"She just outright had incredible passion for what she was doing, no matter what she was cooking," Lagasse said in 2004.

It was a passion that expanded beyond cooking, back to World War II, when she worked for the Office of Strategic Services, or OSS, a precursor to the CIA. It was while working for the OSS, first in Ceylon (now Sri Lanka) and later in China, that she began a relationship with fellow employee Paul Child -- the two married at the end of the war.

It was in France where Child, found her other great love -- French food. She enrolled at the Cordon Blue Cooking School and would later write "Mastering the Art of French Cooking," one of the most influential cookbooks of all time. That book led to her television debut, but it was not just the food that was a hit -- her self-effacing sense of humor was what kept viewers coming back.

Her signature style was to poke fun at her own shortcomings, especially when things started to unintentionally fly all over the set instead of into her frying pan.

"She happened to be very funny, which she was," world famous chef Jacques Pepin told "GMA" in 2004. "So she could really relate to the audience."

She was such a character that one of Dan Akroyd's funniest bits on "Saturday Night Live" was an extreme impression of Julia Child -- one that Child later called "terribly funny."

More than anything, however, Child made sure her viewers knew that the real joy of cooking came in eating, and she wished everyone a great meal with her classic tag line, "Bon appetite."

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