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Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt

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Also Known As: Eartha Mae Keith-Fields, Eartha Mae Keith Died: December 25, 2008
Born: January 17, 1927 Cause of Death: colon cancer
Birth Place: North, South Carolina, USA Profession: singer, actor, dancer

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Before Madonna, Halle Berry or Angelina Jolie, there was Eartha Kitt. The self-proclaimed "original Material Girl" purred her way to Hollywood stardom as fierce feline villain Catwoman on the campy television series, "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68). She was also a star of the Broadway stage, cabaret performer, and a recording artist. Proving she was more than just a sex kitten, Kitt raised eyebrows and put her career on the line by speaking out about the Vietnam War - to First Lady Johnson - and becoming a fervent supporter of the gay community. The sultry and somewhat kooky artist received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, cementing her legendary status in theater, film, television, and music.

Before Madonna, Halle Berry or Angelina Jolie, there was Eartha Kitt. The self-proclaimed "original Material Girl" purred her way to Hollywood stardom as fierce feline villain Catwoman on the campy television series, "Batman" (ABC, 1966-68). She was also a star of the Broadway stage, cabaret performer, and a recording artist. Proving she was more than just a sex kitten, Kitt raised eyebrows and put her career on the line by speaking out about the Vietnam War - to First Lady Johnson - and becoming a fervent supporter of the gay community. The sultry and somewhat kooky artist received her own star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, cementing her legendary status in theater, film, television, and music.

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
 Holes (2003) Madame Zeroni
4.
 Anything But Love (2003) Herself
5.
 Emperor's New Groove, The (2000) Voice Of Yzma
6.
 I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998) Cult Leader
7.
 Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story, The (1998) Voice Of Bagheera
8.
 Ill Gotten Gains (1997) Voice Of
9.
 Harriet the Spy (1996) Agatha K Plummer
10.
 Unzipped (1995) Herself
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Grew up in rural South
:
Moved to Spanish Harlem to live with an aunt in the 1940s
:
Joined the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe
1945:
Made Broadway debut in "Blue Holiday"
1946:
Toured Europe in "Bal Negre" with the Katherine Dunham Troupe
:
Began career in Europe as dancer-singer-actress before returning to NYC and Hollywood in the 1950s
1951:
Appeared as Helen of Troy opposite Orson Welles in "Orson Welles' Faust"
1952:
Gained notice for her work in the Broadway revue, "New Faces of 1952"
1954:
Made film debut performing songs in the plotless musical comedy revue, "New Faces of 1952"
1955:
Earliest TV appearances include a guest spot on the NBC variety special, "Show Biz"
1957:
Film acting debut, "Mark of the Hawk"; also sang the song, "This Man Is Mine"
1958:
First top-billed acting role in a feature, "Anna Lucasta"
1965:
Returned to features to play a role in "Synanon"
1968:
Played role of Catwoman in the ABC series "Batman"
1969:
Starred in the syndicated one-woman concert, "The Eartha Kitt Show"
1972:
TV-movie debut, "Lieutenant Schuster's Wife"
1975:
Returned again to features to play a role in "Friday Foster"
1978:
Returned to Broadway after two decades in "Timbuktu," a revised, all-black version of the musical, "Kismet"
1978:
First role in a miniseries, "To Kill a Cop" (NBC)
1981:
Was the subject of the documentary film, "All by Myself"
1985:
Toured in the musical, "Blues in the Night," in the role of "Woman of the World"
1986:
Began acting more regularly in features with her role in "The Serpent Warriors"
1988:
Appeared on the London stage as Carlotta Campion in the Stephen Sondheim-James Goldman musical "Follies"
:
Began annual concert appearances in New York City's Cafe Carlyle in the 1990s
1992:
Had a supporting role as Lady Eloise in the hit film "Boomerang" starring Eddie Murphy
1993:
Acted in the USA Network's action fantasy series, "Matrix"
1994:
Released first album in several decades, <i>Back in Business</i>
1995:
Appeared in the Isaac Mizrahi documentary "Unzipped"
2000:
Returned to Broadway as co-star of the musical "The Wild Party"; received Tony nomination
2000:
Provided the voice for the villainess Yzma in the Disney animated comedy "The Emperor's New Groove"
2001:
Toured in a stage production of "Cinderella"
2003:
Replaced Chita Rivera as Liliane in "Nine" at the Eugene O'Neill Theatre
2003:
Voiced Queen Vexus on the animated TV series "My Life as a Teenage Robot" (Nicktoons Network)
2006:
Co-starred in the Off-Broadway musical "Mimi le Duck"
2007:
Appeared in the independent film "And Then Came Love" opposite Vanessa L. Williams
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

P S 136: New York , New York -
The School of Performing Arts: New York , New York -

Notes

For years, Kitt was unaware of her actual date of birth due to her adoption, so she chose her own birthday, January 26. In 1997, fans tracked down her birth certificate which indicated she was born January 17, 1927.

"I wasn't black enough to be black or white enough to be white, so I had no race, creed or color. I made my own race--me." --Eartha Kitt quoted in New York Press August 7, 1991.

"How can you understand what I've been through? . . . I have no mother. I have been the victim of racism. Every time I perform I have to deal with the terror of the tremendous pain of rejection. And then my career was so successful and then I nearly lost it all." --Eartha Kitt quoted in The Daily Telegraph, June 26, 2000.

"If the audience had never loved me, I would never have become Eartha Kitt." --from The Daily Telegraph, June 26, 2000.

She was given the Golden Rose of Montreux for "Kaskade" (1962).

Kitt was named Woman of the Year by the National Association of Negro Musicians in 1968.

Companions close complete companion listing

companion:
Arthur Loew Jr. Reportedly wanted to marry Kitt but his wealthy family opposed the union.
companion:
Charles Revson. Cosmetics executive.
husband:
William McDonald. Real-estate dealer. Married in June 1960; divorced; father of Kitt Shapiro.

Family close complete family listing

father:
William Keith-Fields. Caucasian; Kitt did not know him.
mother:
Mamie Reily. Half-Cherokee, half-black; gave Kitt up to live with foster parents.
daughter:
Kitt Shapiro. Real estate broker. Worked as Kitt's business manager; as of 1990 lived in Greenburgh, Westchester, New York.
grandson:
Jason Marshall Shapiro. Father, Charles Shapiro; mother, Kitt Shapiro.
granddaughter:
Rachel Shapiro.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

Bibliography close complete biography

"Thursday's Child"
"Alone With Me"
"I'm Still Here" Sidgwick & Jackson
"Rejuvenate!" Scribner
VIEW COMPLETE BIBLIOGRAPHY

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