‘Julie & Julia’ Writer Julie Powell Dies Unexpectedly at 49 Years Old

On October 26, the world lost one of the greatest food writers of this generation – Julie Powell. The food writer’s death was confirmed by her husband, Eric, who revealed the cause of death to be cardiac arrest. She was just 49 years old at the time, having celebrated her birthday in April.

And people are stunned by the author’s final tweet:

In the early-2000s, Powell started writing a blog in which she successfully cooked all 524 recipes in Mastering the Art of French Cooking by Julia Child – the blog was named Julie & Julia. It didn’t take long for it to blow up, resulting in several follow-up projects from Powell.

As a result of the blog’s success, Powell penned her first memoir – Julie & Julia: 365 Days, 524 Recipes, 1 Tiny Apartment Kitchen – in 2005. Her story then inspired a film called Julie and Julia in 2009, which starred Meryl Streep and Amy Adams. This was the icing on the cake for Powell.

'julie & julia' writer julie powell dies unexpectedly at 49 years old
Joe Seer / Shutterstock.com

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“JULIE AND JULIA became an instant classic and it is with gratitude for her unique voice that we will now remember Julie’s dazzling brilliance and originality. … She was a brilliant writer and a daring, original person and she will not be forgotten,” said Powell’s editor, Judy Clain

Powell published a second book – Cleaving: a Story of Marriage, Meat, and Obsession – in 2009, around the same time as the release of Julie and Julia. The book not only talked about her time spent learning how to butcher meat but the affairs both her and her husband had. 

Mary Elizabeth Williams, a senior writer at Salon.com (where Julie’s blog was originally published) and manager at Open Salon, had high praise for Powell and her impact on the food writer market. “She truly made her own lane. We were lucky enough to be the conduit.” 

“I’ve always found that when you’re stuck or you’re in a rut, you have to do something crazy that’s just for you. It doesn’t have to make any sense… to anyone else. If everyone is telling you, ‘That’s crazy. Don’t do that,’ you may be onto something,” said Powell in a 2009 interview. 

Julie Powell Leaves Behind a Powerful Writing Legacy

Julie Powell was born on April 20, 1973, in Austin, Texas, and passed away on October 26, 2022, in Olivebridge, New York. She leaves behind her husband, parents, and brother. Fans will always remember the joy she brought and the smiles she created as they followed her on her journey.

Her writing has appeared in a variety of big-name publications – including, but not limited to Bon Appétit, the New York Times, House Beautiful, Food and Wine, the Washington Post, and the Boston Globe. Her work has garnered a lot of attention and has resulted in numerous awards. 

“I always used cooking as a sort of comfort and Julia Child’s cookbook had been with me since I was a small child, and so when I was looking for something to do to challenge myself and sort of give my life some purpose, Julia’s book spoke to me,” said Powell in an interview back in 2009.

She most recently started writing for Salon.com again – just like the old days. She wrote a series of blogs about the new Food Network television show called The Julia Child Challenge. While she wasn’t involved in the show, Salon.com thought she would be perfect for commentary.

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Our hearts are with the Powell family and her community of fans, who are all grieving during this difficult time. Powell’s legacy will forever live on and her story will forever be told through the lens of her own words.

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