JOY ADAMSON Biography - Writers


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Joy Adamson                                                                             
born: 20-01-1910                                                                       
birth place: Trooau, Austria                                                           
died: 03-01-1980                                                                       
Real name Fredericke Victoria, Joy Adamson will be remembered as one of the             
twentieth century‚Äôs great conservationists.                                           
Born into a wealthy family in Troppau, Silesia, and brought up in Vienna, she           
studied the piano. Finding it hard to forge a career as a concert pianist, she         
tried dressmaking, bookbinding and drawing, whilst pursuing a strong interest in       
She decided to study medicine, but declined to take her entrance exams, and was         
married to Victor von Klarwill in 1935.                                                 
Whilst travelling in Kenya, she met Peter Bally, a botanist, in 1937. She soon         
divorced her husband, upon him joining her there, and she subsequently married         
Bally in 1938.                                                                         
Accompanying him on his field trips, and painting hundreds of studies of flora         
and fauna, their marriage also soured, and she married George Adamson, the             
British game warden in the North Frontier District.                                     
Joy began painting illustrations of animals and people, as well as plants. The         
Colonial Government of Kenya commissioned her to paint portraits of members of         
22 tribes whose culture was vanishing. These paintings, some 600, now belong to         
the National Museum of Kenya.                                                           
She began her famous association with Elsa, a tame lion-cub whom she was               
determined to teach to return to the wild, in 1956.                                     
'Born Free', her account of the process, was a worldwide success, published in         
1960. It was followed by 'Living Free' (1961) and 'Forever Free' (1962).               
In 1964 she also retrained Pippa, a cheetah described in 'The Spotted Sphinx' (1969),   
and worked with other animals.                                                         
From the 1960s she was a leading conservationist, beginning with her                   
launching of the World Wildlife Fund in the USA in 1962.                               
She was found dead on the 3rd January 1980 in northern Kenya, in suspicious             
circumstances. Supposedly mauled by a lion, a man was later charged with her