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Kitt, Eartha (1927–)

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KITT, EARTHA (1927–). Actress, singer. She was born in the cotton fields of South Carolina to become a true diva of stage, television, and film. Her mother was a black Cherokee Indian, her father a white sharecropper, but neither had much to do with her upbringing. She was sent to live with an aunt in Harlem, where she took piano lessons and sang in the choir at church. She attended the high school for the performance arts, but an argument with her aunt left her with nowhere to live, so she left school at age 15 to work in a factory as a seamstress. She lived with friends and was even homeless for a time, before using her immense talent to rise out of her despair. In 1943, she auditioned for the famed Katherine Dunham dance troupe, and eventually toured with it through Europe, South America, and Mexico as a featured dancer. In the 1950s, she sang at nightclubs in Paris, London, and Turkey, building her solo career. She starred in the Broadway musical New Faces of 1952 , and made several musical recordings. She received her first Tony award nomination for her performance in Timbuktu! She made her film debut in The Mark of the Hawk , 1958, and followed with St. Louis Blues , 1958, and Anna Lucasta , 1959. She received national acclaim as The Catwoman on the popular 1960s television series Batman . Famed actor and director Orson Welles once referred to her as “the most exciting woman in the world.” Her career took a turn for the worse after she spoke out against the Vietnam War. The CIA developed a file on her and she was blacklisted, so she moved to Europe to live and work for the next 10 years. She has written three autobiographies, Thursday’s Child, Alone with Me , and I’m Still Here: Confessions of a Kitten .

Filmography: The Mark of the Hawk , 1958; St. Louis Blues , 1958; Anna Lucasta , 1959; Saint of Devil’s Island , 1961; Friday Foster , 1975; The Serpent Warriors , 1985; Dragonard , 1987; Master of Dragonard Hill , 1989; Living Doll , 1990; Boomerang , 1992; Fatal Instinct , 1993; Feast of All Saints , 2001; Holes , 2003; On the One , 2004; Instant Karma , 2005.

Klaproth, Martin Heinrich [next] [back] Kite, Elizabeth Sarah (1864–1954) - French-American History

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