Articles

Eartha Kitt; Actress, Singer, Dancer, and Anti-War Voice Dead at Age 81

In dissent, hippie scene, obituaries, peace, television on December 28, 2008 by Editor Z

Eartha Kitt, the versatile singer, actress, and dancer who Actor-Director Orson Welles once referred to as “the most exciting woman alive” and was one of the first African -American sex symbols and best known for her recurring role as Catwoman in the late 1960s “Batman” television series, died Christmas Day of Colon Cancer. Evidently she was still performing at the age of 81, despite her health problems.

Reuters:

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – Eartha Kitt, who rose from the Southern cotton fields to captivate audiences around the world with sultry performances as a singer, dancer and actress, died on Thursday at the age of 81.

Kitt died of colon cancer for which she was recently treated at Columbia Presbyterian Hospital in New York, said Andrew Freedman, a long-time friend and publicist.

The cancer was detected about two years ago and treated but recurred after a period of remission.

In addition to acting she also was a well known singer who had a night club act. Here is what she said of her approach to performing:

In an interview with The Times of London in April Kitt described her approach to performing by saying: “I do not have an act. I just do Eartha Kitt … I want to be whoever Eartha Kitt is until the gods take me wherever they take me.”

Also in 1967, Kitt endured much criticism and her career was even adversely affected, when at a luncheon with then U.S First Lady Lady Bird Johnson on deteriorating conditions in the urban communities, she infamously denounced the U.S involvement in the Vietnam War.

At the White House, 1968: “I am a mother and I know the feeling of having a baby come out of my gut. I have a baby and then you send him off to war. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.”

Kitt also grew up in the South and her act and performances were not just popular with crowds in the U.S, but also across the Atlantic in Europe. Rest in Peace.

Kitt endured adversity time and again whether it be segregation, poverty, abuse, career slides, or unfair blacklisting or harassment for her vocal dissent against the Vietnam war.

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