The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary






Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1952
Eartha Kitt, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1952

Eartha Mae Kitt, born January 17, 1927, is an actress and singer.

She was born illegitimate in 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," "An Old-Fashioned Millionaire", "Monotonous" "Love for Sale," "I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch," and "Santa Baby."

Eartha Kitt got her start as a member of the Katharine Dunham dance troupe and made her film debut with them in Casbah (1948). A few years later, she was cast in the revue New Faces of 1952 introducing "Monotonous", "C'est Si Bon" and "Santa Baby", her 3 signature songs. During her run, 20th Century-Fox filmed a version of the play and Orson Welles cast Kitt as Helen of Troy in an upcoming play. Welles and Kitt allegedly had a torrid affair, 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 Batman television series of the late 1960s, she played Catwoman in succession to Julie Newmar. This role would be the role she would best be remembered for, due to her purring drawl.

In 1968, however, Kitt came into controversy. She made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon that year that made first lady Lady Bird Johnson weep uncontrollably. She was virtually exiled from the U.S. for a few years. Again, Kitt would appear on film, variety shows, and on the stage in the U.S. and overseas.

In 1984, she returned to hit music with a dance song, "Where Is My Man".

One of her more unusual roles was as Kaa the python in a 1994 BBC Radio adaptation of The Jungle Book. Kitt lent her distinctive voice to the role of Yzma in The Emperor's New Groove and is currently doing other voiceover work such as the voice of Queen Vexus on the TV series My Life as a Teenage Robot.


  • Casbah (1948)
  • New Faces (1954)
  • The Mark of the Hawk (1958)
  • St. Louis Blues (1958)
  • Anna Lucasta (1959)
  • Saint of Devil's Island (1961)
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin (1965) (voice)
  • Synanon (1965)
  • All About People (1967) (short subject)
  • Up the Chastity Belt (1971)
  • Friday Foster (1975)
  • (1982) (documentary)
  • The Serpent Warriors (1985)
  • The Pink Chiquitas (1987)
  • Dragonard (1987)
  • Master of Dragonard Hill (1989)
  • Erik the Viking (1989)
  • Living Doll (1990)
  • Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
  • Boomerang (1992)
  • Fatal Instinct (1992)
  • Unzipped (1995) (documentary)
  • Harriet the Spy (1996)
  • Ill Gotten Gains (1997)
  • I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)
  • The Emperor's New Groove (2000) (voice)
  • The Making and Meaning of 'We Are Family' (2002) (documentary)
  • The Sweatbox (2002) (documentary)
  • Anything But Love (2002)
  • Holes (2003)
  • On the One (2004)
  • Cherrys (2005) (currently filming)
  • Kronk's New Groove (2005) (voice) (currently filming)
  • Instant Karma (2005) (in production)

External links

Last updated: 10-29-2005 02:13:46