Famous Like Me > Actress > K > Eartha Kitt
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Profile of Eartha Kitt
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|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||17th January 1927
|Place of Birth:
||North, South Carolina, USA
Eartha Mae Kitt, born January 17, 1927, is an actress and singer whose mother was black/Cherokee, and whose father was white.
She was born out-of-wedlock, as would have to be the case given the laws regarding miscegenation at the time, in tiny North, South Carolina, but jokes about the fact that many audiences assume her to be from somewhere more exotic. Her hits include "Let's Do It", "C'est Si Bon", "An Old-Fashioned Millionaire", "Monotonous", "Love for Sale", "I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch", "Uska Dara", "Mink, Schmink", "Under the Bridges of Paris", and "Santa Baby". Kitt's unique style was enhanced as she became fluent in French during her years performing in Europe. She dabbled in other languages as well, which she demonstrates with finesse in many of the live recordings of her cabaret performances.
Eartha Kitt got her start as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company and made her film debut with them in Casbah (1948). In 1950, Orson Welles gave her her first starring role: as Helen of Troy in his staging of Dr. Faust. A few years later, she was cast in the revue New Faces of 1952 introducing "Monotonous", "C'est Si Bon" and "Santa Baby", her 3 signature songs. During her run, 20th Century-Fox filmed a version of the play. Orson Welles and Kitt allegedly had a torrid affair during her run in Shinbone Alley, which earned her the nickname by Welles as "the most exciting girl in the world". In 1958, Kitt made her feature film debut opposite Sidney Poitier in The Mark of the Hawk. Throughout the rest of the 1950s and early 1960s, Kitt would work on and off in film, television and on nightclub stages. In the late 1960's television series Batman, she played Catwoman in succession to Julie Newmar. This role would be the role she would best be remembered for, due to her purring drawl.
In 1968, however, Kitt came into controversy. She made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon that year that made first lady Lady Bird Johnson weep uncontrollably. She was virtually exiled from the U.S. for a few years. Again, Kitt would appear on film, variety shows, and on the stage in the U.S. and overseas.
In 1984, she returned to hit music with a dance song, "Where Is My Man". In 2000, Kitt again appeared on Broadway in the short but notable run of the revival of the 1920s themed, The Wild Party, opposite Mandy Patinkin and Toni Collette. In 2003, she replaced Chita Rivera in Nine.
One of her more unusual roles was as Kaa the python in a 1994 BBC Radio adaptation of The Jungle Book. Kitt lent her distinctive voice to the role of Yzma in The Emperor's New Groove and is currently doing other voiceover work such as the voice of Queen Vexus on the animated TV series My Life as a Teenage Robot.
- Casbah (1948)
- New Faces (1954)
- The Mark of the Hawk (1958)
- St. Louis Blues (1958)
- Anna Lucasta (1959)
- Saint of Devil's Island (1961)
- Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965) (voice only)
- Synanon (1965)
- All About People (1967) (short subject) (narrator)
- Up the Chastity Belt (1971)
- Friday Foster (1975)
- All By Myself: The Eartha Kitt Story (1982) (documentary)
- The Serpent Warriors (1985)
- The Pink Chiquitas (1987)
- Dragonard (1987)
- Master of Dragonard Hill (1989)
- Erik the Viking (1989)
- Living Doll (1990)
- Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
- Boomerang (1992)
- Fatal Instinct (1993)
- Unzipped (1995) (documentary)
- Harriet the Spy (1996)
- Ill Gotten Gains (1997)
- I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)
- The Emperor's New Groove (2000) (voice)
- The Making and Meaning of 'We Are Family' (2002) (documentary)
- The Sweatbox (2002) (documentary)
- Anything But Love (2002)
- Holes (2003)
- On the One (2004)
- Cherrys (2005) (currently filming)
- Lieutenant Schuster's Wife (1972)
- To Kill a Cop (1978)
- Desperately Seeking Roger (1991)
- Feast of All Saints (2001) (miniseries)
- Santa Baby! (2001) (voice)
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