December 25, 2008


Farewell Eartha Kitt


The astonishingly lovely and multi-talented Eartha Kitt, possessor of multiple Grammy awards and Tony nominations, passed away Christmas day. Eartha, who made mulatto delicious decades before Haille Berry, also possessed the coolest female name ever and unmistakable diction. Although it's a mere blip on her resume, she is most famous to me in her role (and rolling purr) as Catwoman on the Batman TV series of the 1960s. Before that she is probably most widely known for her 1954 recording of "Santa Baby," making for an interesting coincidence regarding the day of her death.

Eartha always claimed a personal reserve and even shyness, but her entertainment persona was pure seduction, and she played diva to the hilt. Comedy writer Bruce Vilanch recalled a 1971 interview he had with her, whereby she claimed she suffered unemployment due to her off-topic slamming of the Vietnam War at a Lady Bird Johnson beautification luncheon (she was headlining at a Chicago nightclub at the time). "She'd already been a legend for twenty years, and legends have very vague calendars," said Vilanch. "I had a great time interviewing Eartha, who spent a lot of time telling me how she had created Eartha and was now spending the seventh day resting."

Rrrowwrrr, baby.

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well, there you have another "conundrum" post: who was the better Catwoman, Eartha Kitt or Julie Newman (well, actually, there is no real "conundrum" there, we all KNOW that answer).

But I find Vilanch's comment interesting. The article you link to certainly implies that she was in fact investigated by the CIA and FBI and possibly her career and reputation, in the U.S. at least, suffered. Vilanch seems to be implying that she was making it up.

Either way, Eartha was indeed an amazing woman to be sure, and a national treasure.
sorry .. i meant Newmar, not Newman.
If you haven't seen her in the film "St. Louis Blues," I urge that you do so. Great film, and a cast that includes Nat King Cole, Louis Armstrong and Pearl Bailey.
Joe - I will give it a look (maybe Netflix carries it?)

Anita - It's kind of a toss-up on the Catwoman competition, although if it's based on who had the most profound effect on my puberty, then it was JN (thanks for everything).
I couldn't find it on Netflix, so I went to the TCM site because that's where I saw it. They don't have it scheduled (probably showed it right after Eartha died) so I requested it for you. Keep an eye out!
Happy New Year to the O'Tim family!
Was reading your blog and just wanted to invite you to visit Robot Nine. My blog has daily images and stuff, always something interesting and intruiging ngoing up. January 7 is a new Picture Puzzle, lots of fun and you can win a used book!
Will Spin and Marty be there?
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