Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt / CatwomanOne of my favorite entertainers of all time passed away Christmas Day five years ago - Eartha Kitt. What a grand lady she was. Although she told people she was the first, Eartha Kitt was the third actress to play Catwoman back in 1967. Her autobiography places that event in 1971, she was old school that way, stars couldn't admit your age.

She was indomitable, courageous when it came to speaking her mind as witnessed by her infamous blacklisting after criticizing President Johnson's war policy at a 1968 White House reception. When asked by Lady Bird Johnson about the  Vietnam War she replied, "You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot." This caused the First Lady to burst into tears. (What did Lady Bird expect? African-Americans were dying at a disproportionately high rate during that war.)

She was labelled "a sadistic nymphomaniac" by the CIA. Had Batman not already been cancelled you can be assured Catwoman would have been recast again. No one in TV would touch her for at least a decade, by then she was largely forgotten by American audiences. She instead wowed audiences in Europe and Asia where she blossomed into an iconic gay Diva.

"The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth — in a country that says you're entitled to tell the truth — you get your face slapped and you get put out of work," Eartha told told Essence magazine in the 1980s. Jimmy Carter invited her back to the White House in 1978.

If you ever get a chance to listen to any of her live concert tracks by all means do so - they're so campy and vampy, she never lost her hold on the audience which, in later years, tended to be very internationale and predominantly gay.

This performance is from a year before she died in 2008:

More Las Vegas Legends!