Her Life and Legacy
Madame Tussaud was born Anne-Marie Grosholtz but was called Marie to differentiate her from her mother, after whom she was named. Although Marie liked to claim her family line was distinguished, her father, Johann Joseph Grosholtz, came from a long line of pubic executioners, with his father filling that role. Johann chose another route and joined the army, but then was killed two months after Marie’s birth making her mother solely responsible for her. To care for Marie, her mother began working as domestic for her brother-in-law, a bachelor named Dr. Philippe Mathé Curtius. As discussed in this Madame Tussaud book, it would be from him that Marie would hone her skills in wax and ultimately become the famous wax sculptress known as Madame Tussaud.