On an otherwise lovely day, we’ve learned of the death of American icon Eartha Kitt at 81; you’ve probably heard her voice in stores over the last few weeks, singing a sultry “Santa Baby,” but you may know her best as Catwoman from the Adam West Batman TV show, where she took over the role from Julie Newmar in 1967. In addition to her singing and acting, in 1968 Kitt made a famous stand against the Vietnam War at a White House luncheon, blaming the war for street crime and youth rebellion.1 This outburst caused venues to cancel her contracts and studios to blackball her, forcing her to live and work in Europe for the next ten years. She said that even if she’d known the consequences beforehand, she still would have spoken her mind. We say goodbye to a strong, sassy and talented woman in Eartha Kitt.
Her first appearance on show, in the episode “Catwoman’s Dressed To Kill”:
1According to Notable Black American Women, ed. Jaessie Carney Smith.
Image from the Wikipedia article “Eartha Kitt.”