Eartha Kitt Undressed
Eartha Mae Kitt (born January 17, 1927), is an actress, singer, and cabaret star whose mother was African American and Cherokee, and whose father was a White-American.
She was born out of wedlock, as would have to be the case given the laws regarding miscegenation at the time, in tiny North, South Carolina, but jokes about the fact that many audiences assume her to be from somewhere more exotic. Her hits include "Let's Do It", "C'est Si Bon", "Just an Old Fashioned Girl", "Monotonous", "Love for Sale", "I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch", "Uska Dara", "Mink, Schmink", "Under the Bridges of Paris", and arguably her most recognizable hit, the sexily sung Christmas song "Santa Baby". Kitt's unique style was enhanced as she became fluent in French during her years performing in Europe. She dabbled in other languages as well, which she demonstrates with finesse in many of the live recordings of her cabaret performances.
Eartha Kitt got her start as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company and made her film debut with them in ''Casbah'' (1948). In 1950, Orson Welles gave her her first starring role: as Helen of Troy in his staging of ''Dr. Faust''. A few years later, she was cast in the revue ''New Faces of 1952'' introducing "Monotonous", "C'est Si Bon" and "Santa Baby", three songs with which she continues to be identified. During her run, 20th Century-Fox filmed a version of the play. Orson Welles and Kitt allegedly had a torrid affair during her run in ''Shinbone Alley'', which earned her the nickname by Welles as "the most exciting girl in the world". In 1958, Kitt made her feature film debut opposite Sidney Poitier in ''The Mark of the Hawk''. Throughout the rest of the 1950s and early 1960s, Kitt would work on and off in film, television and on nightclub stages. In the late 1960s television series ''Batman'', she played Catwoman in succession to Julie Newmar. This is the role for which she would best be remembered, owing to her purring feline drawl. She married Bill McDonald from 1960 to 1965 and had at least one child, a daughter, Kitt Shapiro. Eartha has two grandchildren, Justin, 8, and Rachel, 4.
In 1968, however, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon that reportedly made first lady Lady Bird Johnson weep uncontrollably. Professionally exiled from the U.S., she devoted her energies to overseas performances before returning to New York in a triumphant turn in the Broadway spectacle ''Timbuktu!'' (a version of the perennial ''Kismet'' set in Africa) in 1978. In the musical, one song gives a 'recipe' for ''mahoun'', a preparation of cannabis, in which her sultry purring rendition of the refrain "''constantl