Chubby Checker, an American rock and roll icon, has been wowing audiences for 80 years. He’s most famous for introducing dances like the Twist and the Pony and for hit songs like “Let’s Twist Again.”
Born in 1941 in South Carolina and growing up in South Philadelphia, Checker was known even in high school for his amazing ability to mimic stars like Elvis Presley and Fats Domino.
In 1959, Chubby Checker recorded his own take on “The Twist,” a song originally by Hank Ballard, after signing with Cameo-Parkway Records. With Checker’s version and its cool dance moves, “The Twist” became a massive hit.
The dance was groundbreaking; it let couples dance separately instead of together. Chubby didn’t stop there; he had 34 hit songs and was the first rock-and-roll artist to get a Grammy. On the personal side, he’s been married to ex-beauty queen Catharina Lodders for 57 years, and their love has faced many challenges.
Thurston Hopkins/ Twist idol Chubby Checker and his bride-to-be Catharina Lodders, the 1963 pic.twitter.com/C5NONbeeii
— oscar angilletta (@angil_55) April 28, 2014
In 1964, the same year Chubby Checker married Catharina Lodders and the Civil Rights Act was introduced, bans on interracial marriages still existed in parts of the U.S. This Act brought big changes like ending segregation and improving voting rights for African-Americans. But, the couple had to wait three more years before the ban on interracial marriage was lifted everywhere. Facing criticism for marrying a white woman, Chubby Checker boldly stated in a 2015 interview with Philadelphia Magazine: “I didn’t care. Love ain’t got no color on it.”
At just 22 years old, Chubby Checker and Catharina Lodders bravely got married at Temple Lutheran Church in Pennsauken, New Jersey, undeterred by the challenges of being an interracial couple. Rev. George L. Garver led their wedding, and interestingly, didn’t mention anything about their different races. Shortly after their wedding, Jet Magazine interviewed the couple. The article painted a picture of two young people deeply in love and happily enjoying married life.
Chubby Checker was optimistic about his marriage to Catharina Lodders, declaring that their bond would thrive regardless of any challenges. While she was aware of the racial tensions in America, Lodders wasn’t deterred. The couple clicked, enjoying each other’s company immensely, as they shared similar perspectives on life. Their love story began in Manila in January 1962. Just a year later, in December 1963, right after her term as Miss World concluded, Checker proposed to her at his parents’ home.
In 1962, at only 20 years old, Catharina Lodders from the Netherlands made headlines by winning the Miss World Beauty Pageant in London, and earlier that same year, she had also clinched the Miss Holland title. After their wedding, Chubby Checker and Lodders experienced prejudice firsthand when they attempted to buy a house in Philadelphia due to their interracial relationship. But the couple remained undeterred. By 1965, they had purchased a home just outside of Philadelphia, and they continue to live there to this day.
This week, @chubby_checker’s #1 hit “The Twist” sits at #8 on the charts top 10.
It now becomes the 6th longest top 10 song in HISTORY & the oldest song to reach such a milestone. pic.twitter.com/qYorntVH7z
— Moises Top 100 (@ChartMosesMedia) October 19, 2021
Chubby Checker and Catharina Lodders have a love story that’s lasted for an impressive 57 years, a testament to their deep understanding and commitment. Their union brought forth three accomplished children: Bianca Johanna Evans, WNBA star Mistie Bass, and talented musician Shan Egan.
Their family joyfully expanded further with seven grandchildren. In a touching gesture, in 2016, the couple visited their wedding’s officiator, Pastor Garver, on his milestone 100th birthday, as reported by Herald-Tribune. Their enduring love stands as a shining example that love truly overcomes obstacles. If you’re moved by their journey, spread the love and share their heartwarming story on Facebook.