Kitt, Eartha (1928–)

views updated

Kitt, Eartha (1928–)

African-American singer, dancer, and actress. Name variations: (nickname) Kitty Charles. Born Eartha Mae Kitt, Jan 26, 1928, in NC; educated at New York School for Performing Arts; m. William McDonald, 1960 (div. 1965); children: daughter Kitt McDonald.

Versatile entertainer who created an international career which was almost derailed by her views on Vietnam War; toured US, Mexico, South America, England and France as singer and dancer (1944–49); made European nightclub debut in Paris (1949); played in Orson Welles' production of Faust, Paris (1951); had 1st American nightclub and Broadway successes (1952); recorded albums and singles, including "Santa, Baby" and "Let's Do It"; made tv appearances on "The Ed Sullivan Show," "Colgate Comedy Hour," "I Spy" and as Catwoman in "Batman" (1953–59); appeared in such films as New Faces (1954), Anna Lucasta (1959) and Synanon (1965); appeared on Broadway in such plays as Mrs. Patterson and Shinbone Alley (1954–59); attended White House luncheon and denounced Vietnam War (Jan 1968); became persona non grata in US, forcing her to work mostly overseas (1968–74); attended White House reception by invitation of President Jimmy Carter and returned to Broadway (1978); appeared at Carnegie Hall (1985). Given Golden Rose First Place Award for best special of the year (This is Eartha) from Montreux Film Festival (1962); received Woman of Year Award from National Association of Black Musicians (1968).

See also autobiographies Thursday's Child (Duell, 1956) and Alone With Me (Regnery, 1976); and Women in World History.

About this article

Kitt, Eartha (1928–)

Updated About encyclopedia.com content Print Article Share Article