A Tribute to Beautifully Aging Bellas – Eartha Kitt

All aspiring “sex kittens” need to sit up and take notes. Eartha Kitt defines and practically invented the term. There’s nobody more feline, more intentionally sensual than the legendary Miss Kitt. At 79, she’s still looking good, and as you’ll hear in this interview, she’s still purring.

Like so many women of her generation, her mixed race heritage presented issues when she was growing up among sharecroppers in the South Carolina cotton fields. Her life story is absolutely fascinating.

According to her bio, the “then shy teenager” took a chance in Harlem and auditioned at a friend’s behest, for the Katharine Dunham Dance Troupe. I don’t believe it. Eartha Kitt, shy? Never! She just oozes sex and confidence from every pore. No wonder Orson Welles called her “the most exciting woman in the world!”

Her hits have always teetered close to being novelty songs, but the staying power they have demonstrated is remarkable. This heartbreakingly short video clip shows her as a young tigress, snarling her way through one my favorite songs, “C’est Si Bon.” Her original version of “Santa Baby” is the definitive Christmas classic, and as you’ll hear in this hilariously high-pitched ditty “Just An Old-Fashioned Girl,” Eartha Kitt was an unabashed material girl long before Madonna and Lil Kim were even conceived. Eartha got wacky in the Eighties with hits like “Where Is My Man?”, a dance anthem that became popular in the European gay scene.

She’s still touring, and still a great performer as evidenced by this downtempo performance of “Here’s To Life” on Larry King Live. She looks fantastic. I’m gonna have to go borrow her beauty book Rejuvinate! It’s Never Too Late from the library to get some tips.

Her performance as Catwoman in the original Batman series made the role iconic. Her trademark purr was often imitated, but never duplicated. Sorry, Halle. Eartha did it best. Nobody comes close, not even Julie Newmar.

I have loved many of Eartha’s film roles – she always adds a touch of wacky humor and sexual tension. Remember when she played Lady Eloise in Boomerang? “Marrrrrcus!”

Eartha isn’t so much an actress as an icon and a consumate performer. She seems to simply enjoy bringing some of that infamous Eartha Kitt star power to the screen. Now Eartha is known and loved by legions of children for her work in the film adaptation of Holes and The Emperor’s New Groove.

It’s easy to get caught up in the fantastic cartoonishness of Eartha, and forget how ridiculously talented she is. This video reminded me.

I don’t know what the hell she’s saying, but Im buying whatever she’s selling. I always get annoyed when people compare stars, like “Lauryn Hill is the new Bob Marley,” or “Mary J. Blige is the new Aretha Franklin.” First of all, there will never be another Bob Marley or Aretha. There’s a lot to be said for not comparing contemporary stars to legends. Having said that, one thing’s certain. There will never, ever be another Eartha Kitt. Her combination of alien charisma, sexual heat, undeniable talent, and timeless beauty only comes around once in a lifetime.

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Comments

  1. she definitely could teach lessons on owning your image.

  2. I interviewed Eartha Kitt once and she is faaaabulous! You would not believe the legs on this woman – dancing is no joke!

  3. She has always been one of my favorite icons. No one exudes fabulousness and sexiness like Eartha Kitt.

  4. She is truly one of a kind, and deserves to be called an icon. I know i’m not the only one who has tried to do that purr. She is the original and best cat woman ever!!!!!!!!!!!!

  5. I like to call her one of my Eccentric Divas! Love this woman!! She speaks several languages, which I think is really fly. My favorite song of hers is Come On A My House….she sings the song in several different languages..it’s too cute.

  6. eartha kitt is a very sexy and beautiful woman. there are nowadays, there are so many entertainers out there that try to be sexy and just come out looking slutty. miss eartha kitt is always sexy and classy!

Trackbacks

  1. [...] When I decided to give tribute to a series of beautifully aging bellas, I thought long and hard about who influenced my style the most. Lena Horne, Eartha Kitt, Tina Turner, and Chaka Khan all provided inspiring images of strong black womanhood, but none of them could have had a bigger impact than my mother. [...]

  2. [...] and family phone calls. But I read this news and it knocked the wind out of my sails. The legendary Eartha Kitt has passed away at the age of 81, succumbing to a long battle with colon [...]

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