singer and the original sex kitten
, Eartha Kitt is as well known for her spunky personality as she is for her trademark purr or tenure as Catwoman
on the cheesy Batman
Kitt was born into a poverty striken sharecropper family in the South in 1928. She never knew her father (he was rumored to have been a white guy that possibly raped her mother) and early in her life she was abandoned by her mother. Already a family outcast, she moved to New York in 1936 to live with her aunt.
At 16 she joined the internationally recognized Katherine Dunham Dance Troop and toured internationally. While in Paris she was spotted by Orson Welles, who immediately cast her in Dr. Faustus. The two had a brief and stormy affair according to Kitt's biography.
Even though her popularity grew with her sexy stage show and more movie roles, it was still the 1950s in segregated America and Kitt's movie career would never really take off. She did however continue to play small roles in movies and TV.
At a luncheon with Lady Bird Johnson, Kitt made some unsavory comments about US involvement in Vietnam, which damaged her career in the US. She was still popular in Europe however and continued her recording career.
Eartha continues to perform and continually blows people away with her energetic, show stopping performances. I saw her in Seattle on Halloween 1997...incredible!
Everything2 editor's note: Ms Kitt died on December 25, 2008.