Saturday, February 6, 2016


   Eartha Kitt's name always conjures up a memory of her singing "Santa Baby" and also her beautiful face.  I thought she was a very accomplished singer, dancer, movie star, and more.  Most people remember her as the infamous CATWOMAN in the Batman TV series.  I don't think I owned a TV at that time.
   Here is her "official" website which gives quite a good deal of information about her.   And this image:

   The Guardian wrote a sympathetic column about Eartha Kitt, especially the fact that she never learned who her white father was.  She wasn't permitted to see his name as it was blacked out of her birth certificate by the white racist South Carolinian authorities.  She was very bitter about this.  Imagine being born in 1927 in the deep south and being shunned by both whites and Blacks.  Her own mother gave her up to relatives who abused her.
   Her daughter Kitt Shapiro had this to say about Eartha:  "She never found out her father's name, but always assumed he was white. My mother was referred to as a 'yellow gal', which was not a compliment. It meant someone who thought they were better than everyone else even though my mother was just a child at the time. She was horribly abused in the South. She was beaten, mistreated, emotionally and physically."
   "Kitt became a leading light in the civil rights movement in the 1960s but when she condemned the Vietnam war on a visit to the White House her career in the US ended and the CIA branded her "a sadistic nymphomaniac". By then Kitt had divorced the father of her daughter, Bill McDonald, who was a white businessman and wounded Korean war veteran addicted to painkillers, and mother and daughter moved to London to relaunch her career in Europe. Shapiro said: "We lived in Knightsbridge and later Fulham. I went to school in London and spent many a year in England. My mother regarded England as a second home."
   From the N.Y. Times obituary:  "As bookings dried up, she was exiled in Europe for almost a decade. But President Jimmy Carter invited her back to the White House in 1978, and that year she earned her first Tony nomination for her work in “Timbuktu!,” an all-black remake of “Kismet.”
   Astonishing that people in this country know so little about Eartha Kitt other than her singing and Catwoman status.     
   Eartha Kitt's daughter has set up the Eartha Kitt Foundation to benefit the area where her mother was born.  Apparently it is still suffering from the effects of the October 2015 floods and 40,000 people still don't have access to potable water.  "The state’s infrastructure and agricultural industry are in disarray: more than 60 dams have been destroyed, and countless acres of farmland have been deemed barren and unusable. As is often the case, small businesses have been hit especially hard by this statewide downturn, shutting their doors at an alarming rate. The fiscal total of this damage is valued at roughly $1.2 billion. In the wake of this natural disaster, South Carolina’s economy has been devastated." 

I hope that people will learn what a complex and accomplished person Eartha Kitt was but also a strong fighter for the rights of people, a supporter of the civil rights movement, and a person who risked her entire life opposing the war in Vietnam at a luncheon with Lady Byrd Johnson.  I would love to be as courageous as she was. 
   Here is a photo of Eartha and daughter Kitt to whom she gave unconditional love.
More reading:
A blog called Simply Eartha -   
Official website -  
Links to her music -   


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