Jean-Claude Baker

In January 2015, we were very saddened to learn of the death of Jean-Claude Baker, a much-beloved, long-time member of the vision42 Advisory Committee, and owner/impresario of Chez Josephine, the bustling bistro in Theater Row on Far West 42nd Street. It was named for Jean-Claude’s unofficial foster mother, Josephine Baker, the scandalous dancer from St. Louis who set France afire in the 1920s. La Baker, who had served in France’s Resistance during World War II, took in the 14-year old Jean-Claude as an unoffical addition to the twelve adopted children of her “rainbow tribe.” He, in turn, fostered her twilight career and took her name. For nearly three decades, Jean-Claude, as a budding showman of his own, welcomed and entertained actors and other luminaries at his cafe. He was particularly looking forward to the realization of vision42 as a vast improvement to the environment of 42nd Street. He left instructions for Chez Josephine to stay open after his death, but he himself will be sorely missed.

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