Well actually a belated happy birthday to the still sexy ultimate femme fatale of jazz Eartha Kitt, she turned 81 last Wednesday Jan. 17. The smoky sultry Kitt-en of pop jazz got a second career start when she starred as Catwoman in the campy Batman TV series replacing Julie Newmar in the role. Her infamous Kitt-en purr growl and sultry femme fatale role has not been matched, neither by Pfieffer nor Barrie.
And she still struts her stuff, I saw her last fall with the Edmonton Symphony Orchestra, and it was an awesome show. She is still in great shape for her age, with legs to die for. As befits someone whose career began as a dancer. Once, Orson Welles referred to Kitt as the most exciting woman in the world.
And her infamous smoky growl was used to challenge the White House over the war in Viet Nam. And like the later ridicule faced by the Dixie Chicks over the Iraq war, Eartha faced the outrage of the American Right but unlike the white chicks, the attacks on her were tinged with predictable racism and sexism. So like other great Black American women artists and civil rights activists; Josephine Baker and Nina Simone, she went into exile in Paris.
1968 - Singer Eartha Kitt made headlines, as she got into a now-famous confrontation with Mrs. Lyndon B. Johnson -- wife of the President of the United States -- at a White House luncheon to discuss urban crime. Ms. Kitt told Lady Bird (the First Lady) that American youth were rebelling against the war in Vietnam, linking the crime rate with the war escalation. She had a lot to say and it definitely was not, C’est Si Bon.
In 1968, however, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon. It was falsely reported that she made First Lady Lady Bird Johnson cry uncontrollably when in fact, the First Lady replied very diplomatically. The public reaction to Kitt's statements were much more extreme, both for and against her statements. Professionally exiled from the U.S., she devoted her energies to overseas performances.
Her style of Jazz influenced was influenced by Paris as was that of here contemporary Blossom Dearie. But unlike Carol Channing with her one hit wonder Diamonds Are A Girls Best Friend, Eartha has an astounding set of sultry sexy hits about being the femme fatale that gets the millionaire,that get played over and over again, on jazz stations as well as contemporary soft pop stations, especially of course the seasonal classic; Santa Baby.
Eartha Kitt "Old Fashioned Girl" & "Santa Baby"
West Side Story
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