Julie Powell, Food Writer Who Inspired Nora Ephron Film ‘Julie & Julia,’ Dies at 49

Julie Powell, a prominent food writer whose popular blog the “Julie/Julia Project” inspired Nora Ephron’s final feature film, “Julie & Julia,” died of cardiac arrest on Oct. 26 in her home in Olivebridge, N.Y., her husband Eric confirmed to the New York Times. Powell was 49.

On her blog, Powell embarked on cooking every recipe in Julia Child’s “Mastering the Art of French Cooking” and writing about it. Her food blogging journey served as the narrative basis for “Julie & Julia,” which starred Meryl Streep as Child and Amy Adams as Powell, in a story that oscillated between the 1950s and early 2000s. Streep was nominated for best actress at the 82nd Academy Awards for her performance.

Frustrated with her dead-end gig working for the Lower Manhattan Development Corporation in 2002, Powell began the “Julie/Julia Project” on Salon.com and quickly gained a large following — Salon previously shared that her page racked up about 400,000 page views by the end of the year. Soon, Powell signing a book deal with Little, Brown and Company to turn her blog into printed material. The resulting book, “Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen,” was published in 2005.

Powell went on to write another food-centered book in 2009, titled “Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession,” which weaved her experiences learning how to butcher in Kingston, New York with ruminations on her and her husband’s extramarital affairs.

Powell was born on April 20, 1973 in Austin, Texas, to father John and mother Kay Foster. She graduated from Amherst College in 1995 with a bachelor’s degree in theater and fiction writing.

Powell is survived by her parents, John and Kay, her husband Eric and her brother Jordon.

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