Chubby Checker has been married to his wife, former beauty queen Catharina Lodders, for almost six decades. In the early months of their interracial marriage, they struggled with American racial issues and found it hard to buy a home.
American rock and roll singer and dancer Chubby Checker is known for popularizing dance styles like the Pony Dance and Twist Dance. He is also the man behind the evergreen hit "Let's Twist Again."
However, Checker is not known just for his music and dancing. He is also famous for his long-term and happy marriage to former Miss World Catharin Lodders.
Chubby Checker and his bride-to-be, Catharina Lodders in a photo after his proposal on December 12, 1963. [Left] | Chubby Checker and his wife Catharina Lodders pose for a photo at an event. [Right] | Photo: Getty Images
Although the couple has been married for many years, they faced difficulty at the beginning of their interracial union due to racial issues and struggled to get a place to stay. Find out about Checker's career, his marriage with Lodders, and much more.
CHECKER'S EARLY LIFE AND ACHIEVEMENTS
Checker was born on October 3, 1941. He did several odd jobs as a young boy. These included shoe shining, selling ice, and being an assistant to a butcher.
He was not always called "Chubby Checker." Checker revealed how he came to bear his now-famous name when he appeared on Fox 8 News "Cleveland" in 2015. According to him, he was quite overweight as a young boy.
Chubby Checker poses for a studio portrait in 1961. | Photo: Getty Images
The musician explained that he was doing something for radio personality Dick Clark and playing the piano when a lady said, "that's Chubby." Afterward, the woman added, "that's Chubby like Fats and Checker like Domino."
The lady then joined Checker to Chubby, and it became "Chubby Checker." It turned out that the lady who gave him the name was Dick Clark's wife.
Checker had the gift of imitating other people. Hence, he enjoyed imitating the styles of Jerry Lee Lewis, Fats Domino, and Elvis Presley, who he idolized.
Chubby Checker attends Congresswoman Carolyn Maloney Fundraiser at the Princeton Club of New York on April 24, 2017. | Photo: Getty Images
He Joined his musical group, The Quantrells, who performed on the streets and in churches. Those performances made Philadelphia music executives take notice.
In 1959, he signed with Cameo-Parkway Records. It did not take time before releasing two minor hits, "The Class" and "Dancing Dinosaur." Cameo-Parkway convinced Checker to make his version of Hank Ballard's originally-written and performed tune, "The Twist."
After Checker released his version of the song, he gave the modestly successful Ballard version new life thanks to a dance routine.
"The Twist" was more than just dance but also revolutionary because it allowed couples to break away from each other when on the dance floor.
Thanks to the dance routine, Checker's version of the song was incredibly successful and rose to the top of the Billboard chart in 1960 and again in 1962. By doing so, it became the first and only 45 single ever to top the Billboard chart in two different years.
Following the song's success, Checker recorded more songs. However, none of his other releases managed to attain the lofty heights "The Twist" reached.
Singer/songwriter Chubby Checker visits at SiriusXM Studios on March 23, 2016. | Photo: Getty Images
That did not stop Checker from capitalizing on the song's success as he released songs with similar titles. He also turned "The Twist" into a million-dollar business as his name became one of the hottest in entertainment.
Checker raked in huge revenues by selling "Chubby Checker" shirts, pants, blouses, shoes, sweaters, towels, bracelets, rings, cuff record holders, and more.
Checker was not only known for his singing and dancing. He also starred in two films, "Twist Around the Clock" and "Don't Knock the Twist."
WHO IS CHECKER'S WIFE?
Checker has not only been successful career-wise. He has also enjoyed success in his marriage to Catharina Lodders. His wife is a former Dutch model and beauty queen who made history when she won the Miss World Beauty Pageant in London.
Lodders was only 20 years old when she defeated the other contestants before being crowned. However, that was not her first experience in a beauty pageant.
Checker and Lodders' love for each other ultimately saw them through their initial difficulties.
Chubby Checker and His new bride, Catharina Lodders, following their wedding at temple Lutheran Church on April 12, 1964. | Photo: Getty Images
Before being crowned Miss World in 1962, Lodders (now Rina Evans) won Miss Holland in the same year. She was also the third Runner-up at Miss International 1962.
Despite winning Miss World 1962, Lodders remained humble by insisting she was not the most beautiful girl in the world but only the most beautiful girl at the contest.
A BEAUTIFUL MARRIAGE
Checker and Lodders go way back in their beautiful relationship. The musician proposed to the beauty queen on December 12, 1963, a month after she ended her reign as Miss World. The couple had previously met in Manila.
On April 12, 1964, Checker tied the knot with Lodders at Temple Lutheran Church in Pennsauken, New Jersey. Rev. George L. Garver officiated the couple's wedding.
On May 2, 2016, the Cameo Parkway Facebook fan page shared a photo from Checker and Lodders' marriage, showing the couple as they posed all smiles with the record label's then-president Bernie Lowe and his wife, Roz Lowe.
Chubby Checker attends SiriusXM's "Cousin Brucie's Second Annual Palisades Park Reunion" at State Fair Meadowlands on June 21, 2014. | Photo: Getty Images
When Checker and Lodders married, interracial marriage was legal in New Jersey and the Lutheran Church. However, this did not stop the reverend from becoming the target of racist protests and threats. Eventually, he resigned from the pastorate of the church.
Checker and Lodders remained appreciative of Garver for officiating their wedding and were present at his 100th birthday celebration in 2015.
The couple continued experiencing racial issues in the early months of their marriage. Jet Magazine interviewed Checker and Lodders to find out about their wellbeing in the aftermath of their marriage.
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
Checker expressed happiness about his marriage and said that even though his and Lodder's marriage was interracial, it would succeed despite the odds.
Checker added that Lodders knew about America's racial issues but had no care for them. He revealed he and his wife got along very well and were doing great together before adding that they shared a similar outlook on life.
Checker further said there were no problems between his family and his wife and added that they got to spend time with them frequently.
Chubby Checker in a photo with his wife, Catharina Lodders at The Cutting Room New York on March 6, 2008. | Photo: Getty Images
Meanwhile, after their marriage, the couple moved out of a small apartment they lived in while waiting to complete a bigger one at the Drake. Hence, they spent their first Christmas as husband and wife in Sweden with her parents.
Lodders expressed her desire for her and Checker to have their own home. However, the couple ran into discrimination while trying to purchase a home in suburban Philadelphia.
Checker explained that he and his wife were of a new generation who did not believe in segregation and would not accept it.
He said they would continue looking until they could find the type of home they wanted and get with dignity. During the chat with Jet, Checker revealed the advice he gave to his wife as they learned to adjust to the U.S. as an interracial couple. He said:
"I tell her to 'keep your eyes and your ears open and you'll learn a lot.'"
The couple share three children, Bianca Johanna Evans, born on December 8, 1966, WNBA star Mistie Bass, and musician Shan Egan. They are also grandparents to seven grandchildren.
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