It’s hard to believe that there was once a time when food television programs didn’t exist. Now you can barely turn on the TV without being inundated by a slew of cooking shows, baking competitions, and restaurant renovations. There’s just something comforting and cozy about watching chefs chop, roast, and bake delicious foods from the comfort of our own homes. But it wasn’t until Julia Child stepped into audiences’ living rooms with her series The French Chef that cooking shows began to take off. After all, with her larger-than-life personality and joyful, fearless approach to both cooking and life itself, Child has been considered by many to be the pioneer of the modern cooking show.
Now, Child’s personal and professional life is being chronicled in the new HBO Max dramedy series, Julia. The eight-epiosde series will touch on the crucial elements in her life, like her marriage and ascent to television stardom, as well as those in the world around her, such as the rise of public television and the women’s movement.
So if you’re hungry to see who’s who in the food-centric series, here’s a handy cast and character guide to whet your appetite. Bon appétit!
Julia Child (Sarah Lancashire)
Julia Child was a chef, author, and television personality. She published a variety of cookbooks, starting with Mastering the Art of French Cooking, as well as hosting multiple cooking shows over nearly 40 years. Child was known for her authentic television persona and fearlessness in the kitchen, empowering generations of home cooks to be unafraid of making mistakes or using (and enjoying) indulgent ingredients such as butter and cream. Although she grew up in a family that had a cook, she didn’t learn how to cook herself until meeting Paul Child, whom she would later marry.
Sarah Lancashire is best known for roles in many British television series, especially Raquel Wolstenhulme on Coronation Street and the adult version of Laura Timmins on Lark Rise to Candleford, in addition to performances in Last Tango in Halifax, Happy Valley, and MotherFatherSon. She can also be seen in films like Dad’s Army, Yesterday, and, most recently, Everybody’s Talking About Jamie.
Paul Child (David Hyde Pierce)
Paul Child was Julia Child’s husband. He was a former World War II officer, teacher, and mentor, and met Julia while working in the United States Office of Strategic Services. A lover of world cuisine, he introduced Julia to cooking and often took photographs to provide illustrations for her cookbooks.
In addition to many theatre credits, David Hyde Pierce has played recognizable and fan-favorite television characters such as Dr. Niles Crane on Frasier, Frank Prady on The Good Wife, and Theodore Van Horne on The Powers That Be. He also appeared in episodes of The Outer Limits, The Simpsons, and Saturday Night Live. Pierce’s film credits include Sleepless in Seattle, Nixon, Wet Hot American Summer, and Hellboy. Most recently, he can be seen in the upcoming horror thriller The Georgetown Project (TBA).
Avis DeVoto (Bebe Neuwirth)
Avis DeVoto was a culinary editor, book reviewer, and cook who played an integral role in editing and publishing Julia Child’s book, Mastering the Art of French Cooking, in 1961. Despite their professional relationship, the two women also became fast friends and confidants.
Bebe Neuwirth is best known for her Emmy-winning portrayal of Dr. Lilith Sternin-Crane on both Cheers and Frasier, Nadine Tolliver in Madam Secretary, A.D.A. Tracey Kibre in Law & Order: Trial by Jury, and Diana Carlisle in The Flight Attendant. She is also recognized from her film roles as Nora Shepherd in both Jumanji and Jumanji: The Next Level, Principal Valerie Drake in The Faculty, as well as performances in Say Anything…, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Fame, and, most recently, Tick…Tick… Boom!.
Russell “Russ” Morash (Fran Kranz)
Russell “Russ” Morash is a television producer and director who is known for directing Julia Child’s cooking program, The French Chef. He worked with Child for more than 30 years in addition to creating and producing several other award-winning television shows such as This Old House and The Victory Garden.
Fran Kranz is known for television roles like Topher Brink in Dollhouse, Ron in Homecoming, Yanni in Ballers, and Stan Pearl in Major Crimes. He has also appeared in episodes of Private Practice, Dallas, and Elementary. On the film side, Kranz has starred in The Cabin in the Woods, The Dark Tower, You Might Be the Killer, and, most recently, directing, writing, and producing Mass.
Alice Naman (Brittany Bradford)
Alice Naman was a producer who greatly supported and championed Julia Child and her cooking show. Along with Judith Jones, Naman played an important role in getting The French Chef on air, especially in a time when network executives were likely to reject the prospect of a televised cooking show.
Brittany Bradford is a relative newcomer to the acting world, but can be seen in television roles such as Nia in New Amsterdam, Cindy Hawkins in Fear the Walking Dead, and Imani Hart in The Same Storm.
Judith Jones (Fiona Glascott)
Judith Jones was a writer and editor who was a big supporter of Julia Child, as well as her first book, especially because she felt that it made people better cooks. She joined the Alfred A. Knopf publishing house in 1957 as an assistant before climbing the ranks to senior editor and vice president. In addition to Julia Child, Jones helped to publish cookbooks by chefs such as James Beard, Jacques Pépin, and Lidia Bastianich.
Fiona Glascott has appeared in numerous British television series including Indian Summers, Midsomer Murders, Death In Paradise, A Touch of Frost, and Foyle’s War. She is also known for her film roles in Resident Evil, The Deal, Brooklyn, and Supervized, as well as her turn as Minerva McGonagall in the Harry Potter spinoffs Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald and The Secrets of Dumbledore.
Julia also features guest stars including Isabella Rossellini as cookbook author Simone Beck, Judith Light as publishing president Blanche Knopf, James Cromwell as Child’s father John McWilliams, Adriane Lenox as Virginia Naman, and Jefferson Mays as Albert.
The first three episodes of Julia are available to stream on HBO Max now, with subsequent episodes airing every Thursday through May 5.
‘Julia’ Documentary Trailer Presents Julia Child as the First Celebrity Chef
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