Sunday, December 28, 2008

Remembering Eartha Kitt

Gina Wilhelm Actress

Eartha Kitt passed away on Christmas Day at the age of 81. She had continued performing up until her final days.

Among her many, many claims to fame were her portrayal of Catwoman on the "Batman" TV show and her recording of "Santa Baby," made in 1954, which is still played every Christmas.

Orson Welles once called the actress the "most exciting woman in the world."

She was nominated for a Tony for her performance in 1978's "Timbuktu!," an African-American take on the earlier play "Kismet."

She was still on Broadway in the 2003 revival of "Nine." In 2006 she appeared off-Broadway in "Mimi le Duck."

She also released an album in 2006, "Eartha Kitt: Live at the Carlyle."

After a harrowing childhood, Eartha struck out on her own as a teenager, eventually joining the Katherine Dunham Company, which took her on tour to Europe, where she was discovered by Orson Welles.

On returning to New York, she performed at the Village Vanguard, which led to her being cast in "The New Faces of 1952."

She was always outspoken, which as often happens, caused her to have some career problems when she made some anti-war comments at a White House luncheon in 1968.

She returned to Europe for a few years after that, as it was hard for her to get work in the US (The comments reportedly made Lady Bird Johnson cry).

Ms. Kitt wrote three autobiographies and was doing voice over work into 2007. She also appeared in the film "And Then Came Love" in 2007.

One-of-a-kind, she will be missed.

Gina Wilhelm Actress

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