Of Eartha Kitt – Catwoman

Today, the great Eartha Kitt – who rose from the South Carolina cotton fields to become a cabaret star – died at the age of 80. I was watching “The Big Bang Theory” this week when one of the nerds was ranking his favorite actresses who portrayed Catwoman. The choices of course were between Kitt, Julie Newmar, Halle Berry, Lee Merewether and Michelle Peiffer. Of course, he picked Newmar, the first woman to play Catwoman on the screen. No argument there. Well, maybe. My favorite was always the great Eartha Kitt. The second, and first black Catwoman. Kitt brought a certain danger and intense hotness to the roll of Batman’s foe/love interest of the 1960s cult classic television show. With her natural feline qualities, she was born to play Catwoman.

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

Growing up, Batman was always one of my favorite shows. And, as with many shows films in the 60s, the cast was generally all white. Which is why Eartha Kitt appealed to me. She was purrrfect for the role as the long-nailed, black unitard-wearing Catwoman. She only appeared in three episodes during the 3rd and final season of the show, but her mark was indelible. So much so that the though of Halle Berry playing Catwoman 30 years later, didn’t seem that far-fetched. (Although the movie was horrible). In fact, I can’t remember another black person to ever appear on Batman. I don’t know much about Kitt’s musical career and the only movies I remember ever seeing her in are St. Louis Blues and Boomerang. For most of my generation, she is and will always be Catwoman.

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Published in: on December 26, 2008 at 12:15 am  Leave a Comment  

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