Dec 25 2008 8:31pm

We Will Miss You, Eartha Kitt

Eartha KittOn 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.”

Pablo Defendini
1. pablodefendini
"No, you'd better leave the crimefighting to the men."


All joking aside, Eartha Kitt was a badass. I had the privilege of seeing her on Broadway about two or three years ago, in an otherwise lamentable production, opposite John Stamos (I know, wtf? Don't ask). She still had it, stole the show, and made it palatable. She will be missed.
Sumana Harihareswara
2. brainwane
Her Reading Rainbow voiceover of "Is This A House For Hermit Crab?" will never be paralleled, either.

Irene Gallo
3. Irene
I ran into Eartha Kitt a few years ago --- backstage of an August Wilson play. She wasn't in the show but she was there giving advice to a young actress that was. I had walked through a curtain and was suddenly standing three feet away from her, trying hard not to intrude on what was obviously a very intimate and reverent moment for the younger woman. There was _such_ a presence of strength and calm, I never forgot those handful of minutes.
Michael Cassidy
4. barnowl66
I did not remember her face as I was trying to place her from the picture above. It was not until I listened to her voice in the Batman video that I remembered she played Madame Zeroni in the movie Holes... "If you forget to come back for Madame Zeroni, you and your family will be cursed for always and eternity!"
Liz Gorinsky
5. TooMuchExposition
Awww, man. I also saw her on Broadway (in The Wild Party) about eight years ago, and fell in love with her utterly. I've been meaning to pick up some of her albums ever since, so it's really sad that I never got around to it while she was still here.

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