Julie Powell, best-selling author of ‘Julie & Julia,’ dead at 49
( NYPost )
Julie Powell, the food writer best known for her wildly popular memoir “Julie & Julia,” has died suddenly at the age of 49.
The best-selling author passed away at her home in Olivebridge, New York, last Wednesday after going into cardiac arrest, according to the New York Times. She is survived by her husband, brother and parents.
Powell became a literary sensation in 2005 following the release of “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen” — a humorous account of her attempt to re-create every recipe from Julia Child’s classic cookbook “Mastering the Art of French Cooking.”
The tome sold more than one million copies, and led to a 2009 film adaptation directed by Nora Ephron and starring Meryl Streep. Oscar nominee Amy Adams played Powell in the hit movie, which grossed almost $130 million at the box office.
“She had so much talent and emotional intelligence,” Powell’s editor, Judy Clain, told the New York Times. The publication was the first to report the writer’s tragic death on Tuesday.
Powell was born and raised in Austin, Texas, and graduated from Amherst College in 1995.
Feeling adrift and fearing she would never make it as an author, Powell began blogging in 2002, writing about her attempts to cook recipes from Child’s iconic cookbook. The blog, titled the “Julie/Julia Project,” was picked up by Salon.com, where it gained thousands of devoted readers.
At the time, blogging was still a relatively new format, and Powell became one of its leading figures, winning widespread praise for her accessible and self-deprecating style of writing.
“She wrote about food in a really human voice that sounded like people I knew,” fellow food blogger Deb Perelman told the Times. “She communicated that you could write about food even without going to culinary school, without much experience, and in a real-life kitchen.”
The blog served as the basis for the 2005 “Julie & Julia” book, which in turn served as inspiration for the 2009 film of the same name.
That same year, Powell published her second book, “Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat and Obsession.” Despite receiving critical praise, the book did not sell as well as her blockbuster debut.
Powell and her husband, magazine editor Eric Powell, left New York City in 2018, settling permanently in Olivebridge, a tiny town in the Catskill Mountains.
The writer’s sudden death was met with shock on Twitter, where thousands of fans flocked to pay tribute.
“I remember with alarming clarity what it felt like to find Julie Powell’s blog in the mid-2000s, when I was bored and frustrated and not writing what I wanted to; she made things feel possible in a way I had not seen them before. I’m so sad about this news,” one wrote.
“This is just heartbreaking news,” another mourned. “Follow those dreams you’re dreaming right now.”