Documentaries. ‘Secret Daughter.’ A Biracial Woman and the White Mother Who Gave Her Away. Watch Now, in its Entirety.
For over 30 years, actress Norma Storch and her husband, comedian Larry Storch, lived a lie. They told their neighbors and friends that the little black girl who visited them every summer was an abused child that they had informally adopted.
In reality, the little girl was Norma Storch’s biological daughter, June Cross. June was born out of wedlock, as result of Norma’s relationship with a black Jazz singer, James Cross.
Neither James’ mother, nor Norma’s mother approved of the relationship, or the child, and both refused to speak with the couple. For the first four years of June’s life, Norma raised her alone, but struggled with racial abuse in the predominantly white community they were living in. She decided to turn June over to friends of hers, a childless middle-class black couple who lived in Atlantic City, New Jersey.
June Cross grew up to be a Harvard-educated filmmaker, writer, and journalist. She channeled her complicated and often heart-wrenching childhood into her work. In 1996, she created a documentary, Secret Daughter, as part of the PBS series Frontline, for which she served as a producer. The documentary gave viewers an intimate look into her early life as the secret biracial child of a white woman.
Cross, who is estranged from her father, interviewed friends and acquaintances of her father, in addition to her adoptive parents, several extended families, and her mother, who is featured prominently throughout the documentary.
James Cross passed away in 1981, not long after reuniting with June. Norma Storch passed away in 2003.
Watch Secret Daughter, in its entirety, below.