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Eartha Kitt as Catwoman
A 1967 view of Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. Orson Welles had dubbed her “the most exciting woman in the world.” Image courtesy of Scott Sebring.
 

Eartha Kitt

Catwoman #3 (1967-68)

 

Born: 17 January 1927 in North, SC

Born in Orangeburg County, South Carolina, between Columbia and Charleston, Eartha Kitt rose from poverty to become a noted entertainer. One of her splashy roles was in the movie New Faces of 1952, which also featured Robert Clary (Hogan’s Heroes, and a Holocaust survivor) and dancer Carol Lawrence. During this time period, Orson Wells referred to Kitt as “the most exciting girl in the world.”

Kitt made three appearances on Batman, on 14 and 28 December 1967, and on 4 January 1968. Her role did not contain the usual sexual tension between herself and Adam West’s Batman, because they were of different racial backgrounds—and that was not tolerated in 1960s television. (Ironically, the first interracial kiss took place on Star Trek, in 1968)

Not long after her appearance, Kitt stirred up controversy during a visit to the White House. Anti-war remarks she made to Lady Bird Johnson caused the First Lady to cry, and resulted in Kitt’s blacklisting and virtual exile from the United States for many years.

However, no one can keep a feline down. She was involved in an auto accident in Conneticut in the summer of 2004, but sustained minor injuries. Not long after, she attended the opening of an eatery in Manhattan, catering to cats! And she remains active as an entertainer, much as she has for the last 50 years or so.

 
 

Life with the cats

At left, Kitt at the opening of a restaurant catering to cats, in Manhattan, August 2004. At right, another view of her as Catwoman, late 1967.