Josephine Baker Picture Gallery

Josephine Baker 1951
Josephine Baker 1951. Getty Images / Hulton Archive
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Josephine Baker at Madame Tussauds

Josephine Baker - Madame Tussauds
Josephine Baker - Madame Tussauds. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

In 2008, dancer and entertainer Josephine Baker was honored at Madame Tussauds in Berlin in this iconic pose, her "banana dance" from her 1920s act with the Folies Bergère, based in Paris.

The American-born Baker went to Paris where she had far more success than she did in America. She became a French citizen. During World War II, she worked for the Red Cross and the French Resistance.

When, in the 1950s, she encountered discrimination in the United States, she became active in the early civil rights movement.

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Josephine Baker and Her Banana Dance

Josephine Baker 1925
Josephine Baker 1925. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker became noted in the mid-1920s after she moved to Europe. One of her most famous images is this one, which Madame Tussauds museum in Berlin, Germany, copied for a wax statue of Baker in 2008. This costume was one she wore from about 1926, when appearing with the Folies-Bergère. When wearing this costume, she appeared on stage by climbing backwards down a tree.

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Josephine Baker and Tiger Rug - 1925

Josephine Baker 1925
Josephine Baker 1925. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker poses on a tiger rug, wearing a silk evening gown and diamond earrings, in a typical 1920s image of wealth.

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Josephine Baker - Powerful and Rich

Josephine Baker 1925
Josephine Baker 1925. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker nurtured an image of herself quite contrary to the images of her childhood in East St. Louis, Illinois, where she survived the 1917 race riots.

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Josephine Baker's Pearls

Josephine Baker's Pearls - 1925
Josephine Baker's Pearls - 1925. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker is shown in 1925 with her iconic pearls. During this period, "La Baker" was working in Paris, appearing with the jazz revue La Revue Nègre and then with the Folies-Bergère, also in Paris.

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Josephine Baker and Her Pearls

Josephine Baker 1925
Josephine Baker. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Photographs of dancer Josephine Baker from the 1920s frequently featured her wearing pearls.

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Josephine Baker With Elephant

Josephine Baker 1925
Josephine Baker 1925. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker, an American-born dancer who found success in Europe in the 1920s, achieved her fame at the same time the Harlem Renaissance was blossoming in America, and women like Billie Holiday were becoming famous in the jazz world in the United States.

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Josephine Baker in 1928

Josephine Baker 1928
Josephine Baker 1928. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker shows off her famous smile -- and signature opulent dress, here with fur -- in a 1928 portrait.

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Josephine Baker at the Parisian Folies Bergère

Josephine Baker 1930
Josephine Baker 1930. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker used her dancing and comic talents at the Parisian Folies Bergère after her jazz revue failed. She is shown here in one of her elaborate costumes, often -- as with this one -- made of feathers.

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Josephine Baker in a Feather Dress

Josephine Baker 1930
Josephine Baker 1930. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

In this 1930 photograph, Josephine Baker is wearing a dress decorated with feathers -- a signature style during her time with the Folies Bergère in Paris, where she was a comedienne as well as a dancer.

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Josephine Baker Posing With Cheetah - 1931

Josephine Baker 1931
Josephine Baker with cheetah 1931. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker poses in 1931 with her pet, tame cheetah, Chiquita, in a formal portrait. Her dress picks up the tones and spots of the cheetah.

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Josephine Baker Out for a Walk - 1931

Josephine Baker 1931
Josephine Baker 1931. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker takes her pet, tame cheetah, Chiquita, for a walk in this news photo from 1931.

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Josephine Baker in Buenos Aires, about 1950

Josephine Baker 1950
Josephine Baker 1950. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker, the American-born singer and dancer who achieved most of her success in Europe, worked for the Red Cross during World War II, contributing intelligence to the French Resistance. She is shown here in a visit about 1950 to Buenos Aires.

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Josephine Baker Performing in the 1950s

Josephine Baker 1950s
Josephine Baker 1950s. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker. wearing an elaborate costume reminiscent of her days with the Folies Bergère in Paris, entertains another generation with her singing and dancing.

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Josephine Baker in 1951

Josephine Baker 1951
Josephine Baker 1951. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker flashes her famous smile, this time backstage at a performance in Los Angeles in 1951. While she found more success in the United States than she had found at the beginning of her career, she also found that racial discrimination was still alive and active.

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NAACP Protests Discrimination by Stork Club Against Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker - 1951 NAACP Protest
Josephine Baker - 1951 NAACP Protest. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

In October of 1951, entertainer Josephine Baker entered the famous New York City nightclub, the Stork Club -- and was refused service because of her color. The NAACP staged a protest outside the Stork Club in reaction, and Josephine Baker became active in the civil rights struggle of the 1950s and 1960s.

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Studio Portrait of Josephine Baker

Josephine Baker 1961
Josephine Baker 1961. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Still glamorous in her mid-50s, Josephine Baker wears a strapless evening gown and a fall with her hair pulled back, a cape draped over her arms, in this 1961 studio portrait.

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Josephine Baker in Amsterdam, 1960

Josephine Baker 1960
Josephine Baker 1960. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Though Josephine Baker's World Village fell apart in the 1950s, she continued to entertain on stage. This photograph was taken in Amsterdam, where she performed on November 16, 1960.

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Josephine Baker Reflects on World War II Service

Josephine Baker 1970
Josephine Baker 1970. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

Josephine Baker, better known as a dancer, singer and comedienne from the 1920s, was a French citizen after emigrated from the less-welcoming United States. During World War II, Baker worked with the Red Cross and fed intelligence to the French Resistance. In this photograph, she looks back at wartime memorabilia collected during that time.

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Josephine Baker at Red Cross Gala in Monte Carlo

Josephine Baker 1973
Josephine Baker 1973. Getty Images / Hulton Archive

About 1973, as she was staging yet another comeback, Josephine Baker performed for the Red Cross Gala in Monte Carlo. Baker had worked with the Red Cross during World War II, when France, where she had taken citizenship in the 1920s, was taken over by the Nazis.