Monday, December 29, 2008

Eartha Kitt has been on heavy rotation on my iTunes for the past few days.  The icon passed away on Christmas day from colon cancer at the age of 81.  The announcement of her death triggered my curiosity.  I confess that until I read the announce and went to wikipedia to read her biography, I knew her for little more than her role as Cat Woman in the Batman television series (in which she was perfectly cast, much more appropriately than Julie Newmar).  I had to find out more about this woman whose name I'd heard since my childhood.

I downloaded several of her songs over the weekend, and I've become a fan of her music.  I'd heard her original version of Santa Baby many time but never knew it was Eartha Kitt.  Some other of my favourites include Je Cherche Un Homme, C'est Si Bon, her version of Diamond's are a Girl's Best Friend, and Just an Old Fashioned Girl.  

Eartha Kitt was a sultry, singer, dancer, actress, sex symbol who was once referred to by Orson Welles as "the most exciting woman in the world."  Apparently, she was honest with her opinions and didn't hold back when she felt strongly about an issue.  She attended at a celebrity luncheon hosted at the White House in 1968 and criticised the Vietnam War and its impact on minorities in the US to the First Lady at the time, Lady Bird Johnson; thus, shooting her career in the foot as she could not find work in America after that. “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.”  (It kind of reminds me of what the Dixie Chicks experience after their criticism of Bush 43 and the invasion of Iraq.)  Despite all the controversy, she made a comeback in America beginning in the late 70s and continued to perform until her recent death.

I've enjoyed the opportunity to explore the history of this incredible woman.  I'm a fan.  Unfortunately it took her death to led me to learn more about Eartha Kitt.  I wish I'd discovered her music years ago.  There was much more to Earth Kitt than the 3rd season of Batman.  Find some of her recordings and enjoy!


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