Eartha Kitt Biography

Eartha Kitt photo

Born: January 17, 1927

EARTHA KITT

Birth Name: Eartha May Kitt

Date of Birth: January 17, 1927

Eartha Kitt was born illegitimately to a white farmer and a black Cherokee mother in the cotton fields of South Carolina. When she was eight years old she was sent to live with her aunt in Harlem.

While in high school she became involved in the performing arts and studied dance.

Convinced by a friend to audition for a position as a featured dancer with the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe, she was chosen for the spot and toured with the company all over the world before the age of 20. While in Europe she had to fill in for a singer during the tour and decided she liked singing more than dancing.

Upon her return to America, Kitt played a twenty-week run at the Blue Angel before moving on to the Village Vanguard, where producer Leonard Stillman saw her and cast her in New Faces of 1952. Her legendary performance of Monotonous stopped the show and she continued in the role for a year on Broadway. A national tour, and the Twentieth Century Fox film of the same name followed.

Kitt continued to work heavily on stage for the next few years, performing on many of the world's most prestigious stages.

She has also won numerous Tony awards.

Her stage career has been balanced with additional television, film and recording work.

Her work included the Omnibus presentation of Salome, and guest appearances on several series including Mission Impossible, I Spy (for which she received an Emmy Award nomination), and Batman, in which she was the infamous Catwoman. In the '90s, Kitt also turned up in guest appearances on shows like The Nanny, Living Single, New York Undercover and Matrix.

Her work in film includes starring opposite Tim Robbins in Erik the Viking (1989), co-starring in Ernest Scared Stupid (1991), Boomerang (1992), Fatal Instinct (1994), and Harriet the Spy (1996).

Concert tours have taken her through Australia and Europe several times over and have included several performances for Queen Elizabeth.

Singing in ten different languages, she has performed in over 100 countries worldwide and was honored in 1960 with a star on Hollywood Boulevard's Walk of Fame.

Kitt became a political voice when she spoke out at the White House against the Vietnam War.

For her efforts she was rewarded by being blacklisted by the entertainment community and was forced to work abroad for many years.

With such a talented voice, it's not surprising that she put it to good use in film as well. She has used it in commercials for Milky Way Light, Skippy Peanut Butter and Floor Buster.

And at the beginning of the new millennium she voiced the evil Yzma in Disney's The Emperor's New Groove (2000).

Kitt has written and published three autobiographies. She was married to Bill McDonald in 1962 before leaving him two years later with her only child, a daughter, Kitt Shapiro.

Kitt also has two grandchildren, Justin and Rachel.

Filmography:

The Emperor's New Groove (2000) (voice)
I Woke Up Early the Day I Died (1998)
Ill Gotten Gains (1997) (voice)
Harriet the Spy (1996)
Unzipped (1995) (uncredited)
Fatal Instinct (1993)
Boomerang(1992)
Ernest Scared Stupid (1991)
Living Doll (1990)
Erik the Viking(1989)
Master of Dragonard Hill (1987)
The Pink Chiquitas (1987)
The Serpent Warriors (1985)
All by Myself (1982)
Friday Foster (1975)
Up the Chastity Belt (1971)
Onkel Toms Hütte (1965)
Synanon (1965)
Saint of Devil's Island (1961)
Anna Lucasta (1958)
St. Louis Blues (1958)
The Mark of the Hawk (1957)
New Faces (1954)
Casbah (1948)

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