Eartha Kitt was born in North, South Carolina on January 12, 1927. The
daughter of a sharecropper, she was named Eartha in homage to the goodness
of the earth. After the death of her mother Eartha moved to New York City
to live with an aunt. Eartha began to take piano lessons and at church she
sang in the choir and acted in plays. After an audition she was admitted to a
high school for the performing arts. But her relationship with her aunt, which
had never been good, deteriorated and she would eventually be thrown out of her aunt’s home.
After staying with friends for a few days she decided to drop out of school and get a
job. Eartha found work as a seamstress in a factory but lost her job after an illness
kept her out of work for two weeks. She briefly returned to school and
unsuccessfully tried to reconcile with her aunt before leaving for good.
Eartha found temporary work in a factory and then spent the summer at a camp
in Connecticut working on a farm. In 1943 she auditioned for Katherine Dunham’s
dance studio. By age 20 she was a featured dancer traveling with the troupe
through Europe, South America and Mexico. In 1950 Eartha left the troupe and began
performing in nightclubs in Paris, London and Turkey. In 1952 she starred in the Broadway musical
"New Faces of 1952." She recorded a number of successful songs in the early
1950s as well. Unwilling to contribute to the discrimination rampant in American
society Eartha decided that she would not perform before segregated audiences and
included that requirement in her contracts.
Eartha's other Broadway shows include "Bal Negre," "Mrs. Patterson," "Shinbone Alley," "Jolly's Progress," "Timbuktu!," "The Wild Party" and most recently "Nine." She received her
first Tony nomination for her performance in "Timbuktu!" and she starred on
the West End stage in a production of Stephen Sondheim's "Follies."
Eartha has starred in such films as "St. Louis Blue," "Anna Lucasta,"
"Friday Foster," "Fatal Instinct," "Boomerang" and "Holes."
Eartha’s tv guest appearances include "Burke’s Law," "Ben Casey,"
"Mission Impossible," "Miami Vice," "Living Single" and "New York Undercover."
In 1966 she had a recurring role in the popular series "Batman" appearing
in the role of Catwoman.
In 1968 Eartha spoke out against the Vietnam War at a White House
luncheon in the presence of Lady Bird Johnson. As a result of her outspoken
anti-war position she was blackballed and was unable to find work in the U.S.,
with the exception of a few talk shows. Eartha's career took a turn for the worst and
the CIA developed a file containing personal and professional information.
Eartha moved to Europe, where she lived and worked for the next ten years,
struggling financially and ignored by many friends. Eartha has said she would
have spoken out even if she had known the consequences.
Besides being a successful actress Eartha is also an author of three
autobiographies including "Thursday's Child," "Alone With Me" and "I'm
Still Here: Confessions of A Sex Kitten."
Eartha was married to businessman William McDonald from 1960 to 1965. They
had one daughter, Kitt who was born in 1961. She’s also the grandmother of two.
Eartha's film credits include the following:
- Preaching To The Choir (2006)
- Kronk's New Groove (2005)(Voice)
- Holes (2003)
- Santa Baby! (2001)(Tv Movie)(Voice)
- Anne Rice's The Feast of All Saints (2001)(Showtime Miniseries)
- The Emperor's New Groove (2000)(Voice)
- Ill Gotten Gains (1997)(Voice)
- Harriet The Spy (1996)
- Fatal Instinct (1993)
- Boomerang (1992)
- Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
- Desperately Seeking Roger (1991)
- Living Doll (1990)
- Erik The Viking (1989)
- Master of Dragonard Hill (1989)
- Dragonard (1987)
- The Pink Chiquitas (1987)(Voice)
- The Serpent Warriors (1985)
- A Night On The Town (1983)(Tv Movie)
- To Kill A Cop (1978)(Tv Movie)
- Friday Foster (1975)
- Lieutenant Schuster's Wife (1972)(Tv Movie)
- Up The Chastity Belt (1970)
- Synanon (1965)
- Uncle Tom's Cabin (1969)
- Saint Of Devil's Island (1961)
- Anna Lucasta (1959)
- St. Louis Blues (1958)
- The Mark Of The Hawk (1958)
Check out the following sites for additional information about Eartha:
Eartha Kitt@Internet Movie Database
Eartha Kitt@Colored Reflections.com
Eartha Kitt Fan Club
Eartha Kitt Interview
Eartha Kitt@African American Publications.com
Eartha Kitt Interview@Broadway.com
Eartha Kitt@University of South Carolina-Aiken
Eartha Kitt News
Eartha Kitt News, Interviews & Updates