Eartha Kitt

Singing star Eartha Kitt died today of colon cancer at the age of 81. We are very saddened here at Times Square Gossip. For many years we photographed Eartha at events and she always brought class and fun to anyplace she showed up at in New York City. We remember a few years back we were at a huge party at socialite Denise Rich's penthouse apartment over looking Central Park. Female impersonator Jimmy James was performing. He started doing Eartha Kitt impressions and started singing one of Eartha's favorite songs, and he was quite good at playing our legend Eartha. All of a sudden the doorbell rang and the door swung open. In comes Eartha yelling to the stage that she could do it better, and she ran to the stage and the two of them gave us a show that will go down in party history. I remember feeling the goose bumps as Eartha flew to the stage. I was almost in tears. I never saw a show that brought tears to my eyes. This was Eartha. Pure class, pure excitement. The star went from the South Carolina cotton fields to international award-winning stardom. Known to the world as a self-proclaimed "sex kitten" famous for her catlike purr, Kitt was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys. Her career lasted more than six decades, from her start as a dancer with the famed Katherine Dunham troupe to cabarets and acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She persevered through an unhappy childhood as a mixed-race daughter of the South and made headlines in the 1960s for denouncing the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House. Once dubbed the "most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles, she spent most of her life single, though brief romances with the rich and famous. After becoming a hit singing "Monotonous" in the Broadway revue "New Faces of 1952," Kitt appeared in "Mrs. Patterson" in 1954-55. (Some references say she earned a Tony nomination for "Mrs. Patterson," but only winners were publicly announced at that time.) She also made appearances in "Shinbone Alley" and "The Owl and the Pussycat."Her first album, "RCA Victor Presents Eartha Kitt," came out in 1954, featuring such songs as "I Want to Be Evil," "C'est Si Bon" and the saucy gold digger's theme song "Santa Baby," which is revived on radio each Christmas.On television, she was the sexy Catwoman on the popular "Batman" series in 1967-68, replacing Julie Newmar who originated the role. A guest appearance on an episode of "I Spy" brought Kitt an Emmy nomination in 1966. This was just a little of what Eartha brought to us. Our life is a little more empty now that we will never see her again. We will miss you Eartha Kitt !
Photo By: Walter McBride / Retna Ltd.


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