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Inside Chubby Checker’s Interracial Marriage of 58 Years with Miss World Catharina Lodders

Gracious Egedegbe
Oct 07, 2021
04:30 P.M.
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American rock and roll singer and dancer Chubby Checker has been married to a former beauty queen Catharina Lodders for 58 years. Find out about the couple's beautiful and long-lasting marriage.

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Rock and roll singer and dancer Chubby Checker is mainly known for making many dance styles like the Twist and the Pony he made popular. He is also famous for his hit songs like "Let's Twist Again."

The 80-year-old has enjoyed a successful career and is still active. Happily married to Catharina Lodders, a former beauty queen for 58 years, the pair's relationships withstood the tests of time.

Chubby Checker poses for a studio portrait in 1961. | Photo: Getty Images

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WHO IS CHUBBY CHECKER?

Checker was born Ernest Evans on October 3, 1941, in Spring Gulley, South Carolina. He grew up in the projects of South Philadelphia and lived with his dad and mom, Raymond and Eartle Evans, and two brothers.

As a young boy, Checker worked several jobs such as shining shoes, selling ice, and being a butcher's assistant. He got the nickname "Chubby" while working as a teenager at Tony Anastazi's Produce Store.

During a 2015 appearance on Fox 8 News Cleveland, Checker revealed he was overweight while younger and so got the name "Chubby Checker."

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He was doing something for Dick Clark and playing the piano when a lady said, "that's Chubby." Then, she added, "that's Chubby like Fats and Checker like Domino."

The woman put Checker on the Chubby, making it become "Chubby Checker." Checker further revealed that the lady in question was Mrs. Dick Clark.

One of Checker's greatest gifts was his knack for imitating others. He loved impersonating the styles of his musical heroes like Fats Domino, Elvis Presley, and Jerry Lee Lewis.

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Checker started performing on the streets and in churches with his singing group, "The Quantrells." His performances generated the attention of Philadelphia music executives.

In 1959, he signed with Cameo-Parkway Records and released two minor hits, "The Class" and "Dancing Dinosaur." The record label urged him to make his version of "The Twist," which Hank Ballard had originally written and performed.

Ballard's version was modestly successful in the music charts. However, when Checker released his version with an accompanying dance routine, the song had a new life.

Singer/songwriter Chubby Checker visits at SiriusXM Studios on March 23, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images

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"The Twist" was revolutionary as a dance movement as it gave couples the freedom to break apart on the dance floor.

Checker's version of the song was hugely successful and topped the Billboard chart in 1960 and 1962, becoming the first and only 45 single ever to top the chart in two different years.

Checker recorded many more songs in the years that followed, but none attained the heights reached by "The Twist." However, he continued to capitalize on the song's success and released songs with similar titles.

Chubby Checker attends Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Fundraiser at the Princeton Club of New York on April 24, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images

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Besides singing and dancing, he also featured in two films, "Twist Around the Clock" and "Don't Knock the Twist," which were released in 1961 and 1962, respectively. Checker is now 80 years old but continues to sing and dance.

Checker and Lodders faced discrimination when trying to buy a new home in Philadelphia.

Chubby Checker attends SiriusXM's "Cousin Brucie's Second Annual Palisades Park Reunion" at State Fair Meadowlands on June 21, 2014. | Photo: Getty Images

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WHO IS CATHARINA LODDERS?

Catharina Lodders is a Dutch model. She made history in 1962 when she contested in and won the Miss World Beauty Pageant in London. She was 20 years old when she won the crown.

Before winning Miss World 1962, Lodders, who now goes by Rina Evans, following the shortening of her first name and marriage to Checker, won Miss Holland 1962. She also finished as the 3rd Runner-Up in the Miss International 1962 pageant and won Miss Benelux.

After winning the Miss World Pageant, Lodders remarked that she was not the most beautiful girl in the world but only the most beautiful girl at the contest.

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CHECKER AND LODDERS' MARRIAGE

Checker proposed to Lodders on December 12, 1963, at the home of his parents. His proposal came a month after her reign as Miss World ended. He revealed he met her in Manila the prior January.

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The couple married on April 12, 1964, at Temple Lutheran Church in Pennsauken, New Jersey. The couple was 22 when they tied the knot. Rev. George L. Garver officiated their wedding ceremony and made no mention of the interracial nature of their union.

On May 2, 2016, Cameo-Parkway Fan Page's Facebook account shared a picture of Lodders and Checker on their wedding day flanked by the record label's President, Bernie Lowe, and his wife, Roz.

Chubby Checker attends Global Gaming Expo's (G2E) sixth annual Casino Entertainment Awards at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino on October 10, 2018. | Photo: Getty Images

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Months after tying the knot, Jet Magazine interviewed Checker and his wife to learn how they were doing. The couple looked happy together and expressed their love for each other during the chat.

Checker said he loved his marriage and felt it was great. He also expressed the belief that his interracial marriage with Lodders would succeed no matter the condition.

Checker also said his wife knew about the racial problems in America but did not care about them. He said they got along well and had a ball together. He further asserted that they were two people with a similar outlook on life.

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During the early months of their marriage, Checker and Lodders faced discrimination when they tried purchasing a new home in Philadelphia.

Checker said they were of a new generation, did not believe in segregation, and would not take it. However, he added that they would keep looking until they found the kind of home they wanted and could get with dignity.

Checker also advised his wife to keep her eyes and ears open so she could learn so much while they got to know about each other and adapt to the country as an interracial couple.

Chubby Checker in a photo with his wife, Catharina Lodders at The Cutting Room New York on March 6, 2008. | Photo: Getty Images

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The love and togetherness that bound the couple remains despite the odds and has helped them nurture their marriage, which lasted 58 years and counting.

Checker and Lodders welcomed their first child, Bianca Johanna Evans, on December 8, 1966. They are also parents to WNBA player Mistie Bass and musician Shan Egan. Per Reuters, they are grandparents to seven children.

In 2016, Herald-Tribune reported that Checker and Lodders visited their former pastor, Garver, who officiated their wedding on his 100th birthday. The beautiful couple looked so good together as they posed for snaps with Garver and his loved ones.

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