Eartha Kitt
American actress
Eartha Kitt
Eartha Mae Kitt was an American singer, actress, and cabaret star. She was perhaps best known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 hit recordings of "C'est Si Bon" and the enduring Christmas novelty smash "Santa Baby. " Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the world.
Eartha Kitt's personal information overview.
News abour Eartha Kitt from around the web
Isaac Mizrahi at the Café Carlyle: A Gift That Keeps on Giving
Huffington Post - 20 days
Calling his Cafe Carlyle show, "Does This Song Make Me Look Fat?" Isaac Mizrahi signals surreal leaps of fancy from music, to looks, to insecurities. Who could ask for more from an evening? Multitalented, the fashion designer/ entertainer croons cabaret standards backed by a great band, his act sprinkled with self-mocking quips recalling Joan Rivers at her most cheeky! Really, what's not to love? For "C'est Si Bon," en francais of course, he pays tribute to Eartha Kitt, recounting that she would say, "I love a horny young hornplayer." Cue Benny Benack III, the youngest member of his band at 26, who solos on his trumpet, manipulating mutes for that wa wa sound. He can play! And Mizrahi feigns competitive chagrin, pouting and pacing in patent leather shoes showing just a bit of diamond ankle bracelet. The man, best known for fashion and costume design, as evidenced by the spectacular career exhibition at the Jewish Museum last year, knows how to accessorize. But more: This Brook ...
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Huffington Post article
New Petula Clark Musical From Bruce Vilanch Could Be Headed to Broadway
Huffington Post - 21 days
From penning witty zingers for the Tony Awards to hosting Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS fundraisers, Bruce Vilanch is no stranger to the New York theatre community. In 2005, Vilanch even starred as Edna Turnblad in Hairspray. When the Hollywood funnyman returns to Broadway, though, he hopes it’s as writer of the next great jukebox musical. “Think Mamma Mia!” said Vilanch when describing his new musical Sign of the Times. “In fact, please think Mamma Mia! -- because Mamma Mia! ran only 12 years, so please think of that!” Like other “jukebox musicals” -- productions such as Jersey Boys and Beautiful - The Carole King Musical -- Sign of the Times utilizes hit pop songs rather than an original score. In this case, the music of Grammy Award-winning, ‘60s British pop icon Petula Clark “and other hit-makers of the day” takes center stage. “When I was in college, and I was hearing Petula’s music, every time I would hear one of her songs, I’d say, ‘What show is that from?’” the comed ...
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Huffington Post article
A Friendship Between Two 1960s Photographers Highlights Art's Power To Spark Change
Huffington Post - about 1 year
In the early 1960s, Gordon Parks was working as an editorial magazine photographer for Life magazine. By this point, the influential artist from Kansas had already captured his iconic "American Gothic" portrait -- a recreation of the well-known Grant Wood painting -- which he produced during his tenure with the Farm Security Administration. He'd published his powerful "Harlem Gang Leader" photo essay for Life and snapped images of beloved figures like Eartha Kitt, Sidney Poitier and Duke Ellington. He was on his way to working with the likes of Muhammed Ali, even directing that unforgettable film "Shaft." Peter Beard, a native New Yorker younger than Parks, was an art student at Yale in 1960, learning from Josef Albers and dabbling in projects for Diana Vreeland at Vogue. He'd made trips to the African continent already, but was a few years away from documenting the tragic demise of 35,000 elephants and other animals in Kenya, the subjects of his first book, The End of the Game. H ...
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Huffington Post article
Eartha Kitt On Piano Jazz
NPR - about 2 years
In 1993, Kitt and McPartland perform a stirring version of "God Bless the Child" and wind up the hour with the seductively swinging "You'd Be So Nice to Come to Home To." » E-Mail This
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NPR article
More Than Just Jazz Solos
Wall Street Journal - over 3 years
"Trombone for Lovers," a tribute to Eartha Kitt and more in this week's Jazz Scene.
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Wall Street Journal article
Eartha Kitt's Only Child Honors Legendary Mom With Lifestyle Collection Of Home, Gift Items
Huffington Post - over 3 years
When she was closing up her mother's Connecticut home, Kitt Shapiro, the only child of the late, legendary entertainer Eartha Kitt, kept coming across scraps of paper with handwritten sayings on them: "You'll fall for anything if you don't stand for something," "I like to use the freedom of my own imagination," and "Don't panic!" Kitt was always writing things down, including ideas, songs, feelings, even cliches if they inspired or motivated her.
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Huffington Post article
Eartha Kitt's 'Kittisms' live on in Simply Eartha home fashions
Monsters and Critics - over 3 years
I love the late actress Eartha Kitt, and my father adored her and always championed her when we hashed over
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Monsters and Critics article
Liz Smith: Put on Your Kinky Boots and Dance to the Music of Broadway's Newest Hit! Tony Awards --Watch Out
Huffington Post - almost 4 years
"Be yourself! Everyone else is taken!" says the magnificent drag queen star (Billy Porter) in the opening of Broadway's newest hit musical Kinky Boots. This is a major morality play, set to rowdy irresistible Cyndi Lauper music and adapted from a little Miramax failure of a movie, with his usual brio, by the "king/queen" of teaching us to do right, Harvey Fierstein himself! Let's face it, when Tony time rolls around, theater folks will not only have an entire musical cast to consider but also choreography, costumes, lighting, set, direction and the stars themselves -- red kinky boots! The show opens with an appealing little boy dancing and gamboling, in a pair of ruby red high heels. It telegraphs that we are on our way, riding a comfortable Broadway idea where reverse stories about struggling gays, transvestites, downright drag queens, closet queens, and even transsexuals find themselves so popular these days. (How the mighty "straights" have fallen to their or ...
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Huffington Post article
Dana Oliver: Is It Ever Too Cold For Lingerie?
Huffington Post - over 4 years
When it comes to my pajamas, I've never been a long johns kind of girl. But once the temperatures dip into the lower 50s at night, I am tempted to count sheep in my alma mater's sweatshirt and pants (go TU!) instead of négligée. Yes, I wear lingerie to bed. And no, it's not necessarily to allure my man. I simply prefer bedroom attire that is much more luxurious. Maybe it has to do with watching the women on my mother's side of the family pour their curves into satin slips. Or it could be my infatuation with the seductive numbers worn by old Black Hollywood stars like Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt and Dorothy Dandridge. Whatever the psychological reasoning behind my attraction to finer PJs, I still struggle with staying sexy in cold-weather sleepwear. I feel flannel is simply not flattering or comfortable, and footie pajamas aren't ideal when my toes need to breath in the middle of the night. These heavier fabrics only make me sweat more when the heat is blasting from the ven ...
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Huffington Post article
A river runs through the Thursday OPEN thread - over 4 years
The New River, south of Draper | Shot by Dan “The river is constantly turning and bending and you never know where it’s going to go and where you’ll wind up. Following the bend in the river and staying on your own path means that you are on the right track. Don’t let anyone deter you from that.” Eartha Kitt
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These Celebrities Have Been Banned From Some Of America's Top Hotels
Business Insider - over 4 years
What does a celebrity bring when checking into a hotel? Glamour, buzz, and sometimes, a whole lot of chaos. Sure, hosting a famous guest can translate into great PR for a hotel, but “it can also be a mixed bag,” admits Mark Plonkey, the general manager of Denver’s Hotel Teatro. “The one thing I’ve learned throughout the years is that public persona is not always the reality behind closed doors.” See which celebrities have been banned from hotels > With their whirlwind lifestyles, many celebrities spend a lot of time in hotel rooms—and sometimes, hotels end up turning their famous guests away, even banning them, for bad behavior. The history of celebrity-trashed hotels has its roots, of course, in rock ’n’ roll. Back in the 1960s, The Who was supposedly banned from all Holiday Inns after drummer Keith Moon backed a car into a hotel pool. What does it take to get officially banned these days? John Travolta recently got bad press with reports of “creepy” behavior that has made ...
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Business Insider article
POLL: Which Catwoman Costume Does Our Favorite Heroine Justice?
MTV News - over 4 years
There are only a few short days left before "The Dark Knight Rises" finds its way to a theater near you... But before we collapse into a heaving, quivering mass of fangirl jelly at the thrill of finally seeing Gotham and its vigilante superstar back in their IMAX glory—OMG THIS MOVIE IS GOING TO BE SO EPIC AAAAGH—let's talk about something else we're super-psyched to see that's at last getting some screen time in Christopher Nolan's amazing Batman story: Catwoman, and, of course, her cat suit. The crazy cat lady who our batty superhero loves to hate (and hates to looooove!) has seen her way on screen in six different iterations, from Eartha Kitt's dulcet-voiced feline in the 1966 TV series to Halle Berry's bondage-chic anti-heroine in the 2004 "Catwoman" feature film. And with Anne Hathaway about to make her debut in the catty "Dark Knight Rises" getup, it's time to turn a critical eye toward the style sensibilities of these very different Catwomen, from the vintage vixens to the ...
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MTV News article
Baked Okra and Baklava — A Hazan Family Shabbat
Forward - almost 5 years
As we opened the door of my Sephardic immigrant grandparents, Nonno David and Nonna Giulia’s Manhattan apartment, we might be greeted by the seductive sounds of Eartha Kitt singing Ushdakara, the Turkish lullaby, or perhaps Melina Mercouri’s Ta Pedia Tou Pirea. Nonno David, who had little formal schooling, spoke eight languages and often played some of his favorite music before Shabbat. I loved watching him happily dancing in the living room, getting in the mood for a splendid meal with family. The smells of Nonna Giulia’s delectable cooking, which we all looked forward to, filled the apartment. There was usually a plate of Borekitas waiting for us — little pies filled with either spinach, eggplant or cheese, to wet our appetites before dinner. Of course, the house was immaculate, the table was set with her special Shabbat cloth and the candlesticks were ready to be lit on the living room coffee table. Click here for the rest of the article...
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Forward article
My "Great Old Old Broad" Series: Eartha Kitt - almost 5 years
"I've always referred to myself as the sepia Cinderella." Last Sunday's screening at New Haven's Lyric Hall of the documentary "Broads," that features salty, outspoken interviews with actresses of a certain age remind me of some of my own favorite interviews of like-minded dames.
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TV Review: Community 3.19 ‘Curriculum Unavailable’
Obsessed with Film - What Cultur - almost 5 years
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars Community goes back to the well this week to strike gold with another fake clip show episode. Repeating premises hasn’t done Community well in the past (paintball follow up), but this may be the first time they’ve surpassed the original. The benefit of this format is the chance to pack in as many surreal jokes and obscurity as possible, the writers achieve this with a decent plot that culminates in a fantastic sequence in the third act which sees the study group in a mental institution, and this time it’s not because of Mercury poisoning. We pick up the episode two months after the study groups expulsion and they’re still hanging out together thankfully. Leaving Greendale has made them all a bit on edge, particularly Abed, who is brought home by the only policeman in Greendale dressed as Inspector Spacetime after going through dumpsters on campus, believing the Dean to be an impostor. Abed is recommended a fake psychiatrist (guest star John Hodgman) by th ...
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Obsessed with Film - What Cultur article
Myrdith Leon Mccormack: Six Degrees Of Seperation
Huffington Post - almost 5 years
It's been said that there are six degrees of separation between every two individuals on the planet. This statement no longer holds true. With today's technology, the entire world is at our fingertips. And thank goodness for me as a manicurist, that's a lot of hands to be done. The privilege of touch is much more valuable to me than one can imagine. With the power of touch, one can heal, preserve, destroy, and empower. And my career choice as a manicurist has opened doors for me that I could have only imagined. The six degrees of separation, seem to me to be decreasing. Since I was a little girl, through the pages of fashion magazines, movies, and comic books, I dreamed of everything a normal child would want to be, get and possess. It is now that I have come to appreciate their value. Iman, Naomi Campbell, Beverly Johnson, Christy Turlington -- the original fashion beauties. Etta James, Eartha Kitt, Anita Baker -- entertainment icons that I have had the hon ...
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Huffington Post article
A Private Screening of Positive Negatives, The Photography of David Johnson, the First African-American Student of Ansel Adams.
Alameda Patch - almost 5 years
Join the Alameda Social Club as we bring a Film Festival experience to Alameda. This amazing film uses David's photography to tell the story of his journey to discover and master his craft while dealing with all of the social challenges of the times. David Johnson has the distinction of being Ansel Adams' first African-American student at the California School of Fine arts (CSFA) now known as the venerable San Francisco Art Institute. David Johnson used his camera to not only tell his story but to capture images that are so candid and honest that they clearly depict the spirit and mood of the time. Included in Johnson's artistic vision was his desire to depict people positively in the presence of discrimination, thus capturing the emotions of the Civil Rights movement.   He has deep roots here in the Bay Area and spent a considerable amount of time in the Fillmore District of San Francisco and even lived in Alameda for a period as he worked at the Alameda Naval Base. David's amaz ...
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Alameda Patch article
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Eartha Kitt
  • 2008
    Age 81
    Kitt died from colon cancer on Christmas Day 2008, at her home in Weston, Connecticut.
    More Details Hide Details Her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, discussed her last days with her mother: "I was with her when she died. She left this world literally screaming at the top of her lungs. I was with her constantly, she lived not even 3 miles from my house, we were together practically every day. She was home for the last few weeks when the doctor told us there was nothing they could do any more. Up until the last two days, she was still moving around. The doctor told us she will leave very quickly and her body will just start to shut down. But when she left, she left the world with a bang, she left it how she lived it. She screamed her way out of here, literally. I truly believe her survival instincts were so part of her DNA that she was not going to go quietly or willingly. It was just the two of us hanging out the last days she was very funny. We didn’t have to talk because I always knew how she felt about me. I was the love of her life, so the last part of her life we didn't have to have these heart to heart talks.
  • 2007
    Age 80
    Kitt was the spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics' Smoke Signals collection in August 2007.
    More Details Hide Details She re-recorded "Smoke Gets In Your Eyes" for the occasion, was showcased on the MAC website, and the song was played at all MAC locations carrying the collection for the month.
    She also appeared in the 2007 independent film And Then Came Love opposite Vanessa Williams.
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  • 2006
    Age 79
    From October to early December 2006, Kitt co-starred in the Off-Broadway musical Mimi le Duck.
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  • 2004
    Age 77
    Kitt reprised her role as the Fairy Godmother at a special engagement of Cinderella, which took place at Lincoln Center during the holiday season of 2004.
    More Details Hide Details One of her more unusual roles was as Kaa in a 1994 BBC Radio adaptation of The Jungle Book. Kitt had voiced Vexus in My Life as a Teenage Robot. In her later years, Kitt made annual appearances in the New York Manhattan cabaret scene at venues such as the Ballroom and the Café Carlyle. She was also a guest star in "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" of The Simpsons, where she was depicted as one of Krusty's past marriages.
  • 2003
    Age 76
    In 2003, she replaced Chita Rivera in Nine.
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  • 2000
    Age 73
    Beginning in late 2000, Kitt starred as the Fairy Godmother in the U.S. national tour of Cinderella.
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    In 2000, Kitt again returned to Broadway in the short-lived run of Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party.
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  • 1996
    Age 69
    In November 1996, she appeared on an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy!
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  • 1995
    Age 68
    In 1995, Kitt appeared as herself in an episode of The Nanny, where she performed a song in French and flirted with Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy).
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  • 1992
    Age 65
    In 1992, she had a supporting role as Lady Eloise in Boomerang.
    More Details Hide Details In the late 1990s, she appeared as the Wicked Witch of the West in the North American national touring company of The Wizard of Oz.
  • 1991
    Age 64
    In 1991, Kitt returned to the screen in Ernest Scared Stupid as Old Lady Hackmore.
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  • 1989
    Age 62
    Her 1989 follow-up hit "Cha-Cha Heels" (featuring Bronski Beat), which was originally intended to be recorded by Divine, received a positive response from UK dance clubs and reached No. 32 in the charts in that country.
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  • 1987
    Age 60
    Her daughter, Kitt McDonald, had married Charles Lawrence Shapiro in 1987 and has two children: Jason Shapiro and Rachel Shapiro.
    More Details Hide Details Kitt was active in numerous social causes in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966, she established the Kittsville Youth Foundation, a chartered and non-profit organization for underprivileged youth in the Watts area of Los Angeles. She was also involved with a group of youth in the area of Anacostia in Washington, D.C., who called themselves, "Rebels with a Cause." Kitt supported the group's efforts to clean up streets and establish recreation areas in an effort to keep them out of trouble by testifying with them before the House General Subcommittee on Education of the Committee on Education and Labor. In her testimony, in May 1967, Kitt stated that the Rebels' "achievements and accomplishments should certainly make the adult 'do-gooders' realize that these young men and women have performed in 1 short year - with limited finances - that which was not achieved by the same people who might object to turning over some of the duties of planning, rehabilitation, and prevention of juvenile delinquents and juvenile delinquency to those who understand it and are living it". She added that "the Rebels could act as a model for all urban areas throughout the United States with similar problems". "Rebels with a Cause" subsequently received the needed funding.
  • 1984
    Age 57
    In 1984, she returned to the music charts with a disco song titled "Where Is My Man," the first certified gold record of her career. "Where Is My Man" reached the Top 40 on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at No. 36; the song became a standard in discos and dance clubs of the time and made the Top 10 on the US Billboard dance chart, where it reached No. 7.
    More Details Hide Details The single was followed by the album I Love Men on the Record Shack label. Kitt found new audiences in nightclubs across the UK and the US, including a whole new generation of gay male fans, and she responded by frequently giving benefit performances in support of HIV/AIDS organizations. Kitt appeared with Jimmy James and George Burns at a fundraiser in 1990 produced by Scott Sherman, agent from the Atlantic Entertainment Group. It was arranged that James would impersonate Kitt and then Kitt would walk out to take the microphone. This was met with a standing ovation.
  • 1978
    Age 51
    In 1978, Kitt did the voice-over in a TV commercial for the album Aja by the rock group Steely Dan.
    More Details Hide Details She wrote three autobiographies—Thursday's Child (1956), Alone with Me (1976) and I'm Still Here: Confessions of a Sex Kitten (1989). In the 1970s she appeared on TV several times on BBC's long running variety show, The Good Old Days, and took over from fellow American Dolores Gray, in the London West End production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies and returned at the end of that run to star in a One Woman Show at the same Shaftesbury Theatre, both to tremendous acclaim. In both those shows performing the show-stopping theatrical anthem I'm Still Here
    Kitt returned to New York City in a triumphant turn in the Broadway spectacle Timbuktu! (a version of the perennial Kismet, set in Africa) in 1978.
    More Details Hide Details In the musical, one song gives a "recipe" for mahoun, a preparation of cannabis, in which her sultry purring rendition of the refrain "constantly stirring with a long wooden spoon" was distinctive. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance.
  • 1968
    Age 41
    In 1968, during Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon.
    More Details Hide Details Kitt was invited to the White House luncheon and was 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." During a question and answer session, Kitt stated: Her remarks reportedly caused Mrs. Johnson to burst into tears and led to a derailment in Kitt's career. The public reaction to Kitt's statements was extreme, both pro and con. Publicly ostracized in the US, she devoted her energies to performances in Europe and Asia. It is said that Kitt's career in the US was ended following her comments about the Vietnam War, after which she was branded "a sadistic nymphomaniac" by the CIA.
  • 1964
    Age 37
    In 1964, Kitt helped open the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California.
    More Details Hide Details In the late 1960s, Batman featured Kitt as Catwoman after Julie Newmar had left the show.
  • 1960
    Age 33
    After romances with the cosmetics magnate Charles Revson and banking heir John Barry Ryan III, she married John William McDonald, an associate of a real estate investment company, on June 6, 1960. They had one child, a daughter named Kitt McDonald, born on November 26, 1961. They divorced in 1965.
    More Details Hide Details A long-time Connecticut resident, Eartha Kitt lived in a converted barn on a sprawling farm in the Merryall section of New Milford for many years and was active in local charities and causes throughout Litchfield County. She later moved to Pound Ridge, New York, but returned in 2002 to the southern Fairfield County Connecticut town of Weston, in order to be near her daughter Kitt and family.
  • 1957
    Age 30
    Though it is often alleged that Welles and Kitt had an affair during her 1957 run in Shinbone Alley, Kitt categorically denied this in a June 2001 interview with George Wayne of Vanity Fair. "I never had sex with Orson Welles," Kitt told Vanity Fair: "It was a working situation and nothing else."
    More Details Hide Details Her other films in the 1950s included Mark of the Hawk (1957), St. Louis Blues (1958) and Anna Lucasta (1959). Throughout the rest of the 1950s and early 1960s, she recorded; worked in film, television, and nightclubs; and returned to the Broadway stage, in Mrs. Patterson (during the 1954–55 season), Shinbone Alley (in 1957), and the short-lived Jolly's Progress (in 1959).
  • 1954
    Age 27
    In 1954, 20th Century Fox filmed a version of the revue entitled New Faces, in which she performed "Monotonous," "Uska Dara," and "C'est si bon."
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  • 1952
    Age 25
    A few years later, she was cast in the revue New Faces of 1952, introducing "Monotonous" and "Bal, Petit Bal," two songs with which she is still identified.
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  • 1950
    Age 23
    In 1950, Orson Welles gave Kitt her first starring role as Helen of Troy in his staging of Dr. Faustus.
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  • 1943
    Age 16
    Kitt began her career as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company in 1943 and remained a member of the troupe until 1948.
    More Details Hide Details A talented singer with a distinctive voice, she recorded the hits "Let's Do It", "Champagne Taste", "C'est si bon" (which Stan Freberg famously burlesqued), "Just an Old Fashioned Girl", "Monotonous", "Je cherche un homme", "Love for Sale", "I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch", "Katibim" (a Turkish melody), "Mink, Schmink", "Under the Bridges of Paris" and her most recognizable hit "Santa Baby", which was released in 1953. Kitt's unique style was enhanced as she became fluent in French during her years performing in Europe. She spoke four languages and sang in seven, which she effortlessly demonstrated in many of the live recordings of her cabaret performances.
  • 1927
    Age 0
    Kitt was born Eartha Mae Keith on a cotton plantation near the small town of North, in Orangeburg County South Carolina on January 17, 1927.
    More Details Hide Details Her mother Mamie Kitt was of Cherokee and African descent. Though it remains unconfirmed, it has been widely reported that her father was of German descent and that Kitt was conceived by rape. She had no knowledge of her father, except that his surname was Kitt and that he was supposedly a son of the owner of the farm where she had been born. Newspaper obituaries state that her white father was "a poor cotton farmer". In an August 2013 biography, British journalist John Williams claimed that Kitt's father was a white man, a local doctor named Daniel Sturkie. However, Kitt's daughter Kitt Shapiro has questioned the accuracy of the claim. Kitt was raised by Anna Mae Riley, a black woman whom the girl believed to be her mother. When she was eight, Anna Mae went to live with a black man, but he refused to accept Kitt because of her relatively pale complexion, so the girl lived with another family until Riley's death. She was then sent to live in New York City with Mamie Kitt.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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