His baroque life was fodder for countless writers. He was born 'Jean-Claude Julien Léon Tronville to unwed parents in Dijon in 1943 and at 14, working as a bellhop, set out for Paris, encountering Josephine Baker, an entertainer, activist, and French Resistance agent.
Baker mothered the young man as an unofficial addition to the 12 adopted children of her orphan "rainbow tribe".
He, in turn, as a budding showman of his own, fostered her twilight career, took her name and wrote, with Chris Chase, a biography, Josephine: the Hungry Heart. Baker promised his vast archive on early African-American entertainment to the Smithsonian National Museum of African Art.
In 1993, he co-authored with Chris Chase a biography of Josephine Baker, Josephine: The Hungry Heart, described as a "shocking look into the star's seriously whitewashed past".
- Baker, Jean-Claude & Chris Chase. Josephine: The Hungry Heart (2001), Cooper Square Pub; ISBN 0815411723
- McBride, Walter. "Photo Flashback: Remembering Jean-Claude Baker".
- Blumenthal, Ralph (8 February 2018). "Jean-Claude Baker, 'Son' of Josephine Baker, Is Remembered" – via NYTimes.com.
- Jean-Claude Baker Dies at 71; Restaurateur Honored a Chanteuse, nytimes.com, January 16, 2015.
- "Jean Claude Baker". The Times. 2015. Retrieved 2 October 2018.
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