Y'all know how much I love Eartha Kitt. I was saddened to find out she died today of colon cancer at 81.
She went from being an ostracized mixed race girl from South Carolina to an internationally loved star garnering multiple nominations for Tonys, Grammys and Oscars. And don't forget that famous cat purr.
She was sent at age 8 to by her mother to live with her aunt in Harlem and auditioned for the famed Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe during her teens. She was hired as a featured dancer and vocalist and toured worldwide with the company for several years.
The stint with the Katherine Dunham Dance troupe launched Kitt into a life of roles in the entertainment field. She was a well liked cabaret singer in Europe during the 50's and performed on Broadway. That lead to a recording deal in which she produced 20 albums and acted in hundreds of movie and television roles.
In 1968, however, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-war statements during a White House luncheon that reportedly made then First Lady Lady Bird Johnson cry. The resulting positive and negative public reactions to Kitt's statements was much more extreme and resulted in professional exile in the United States.
After enduring the professional ostracism by performing in Europe, once the anger faded over the Vietnam War remarks, she returned to US shores and garnered a new generation of fans that ensured she was performing almost until the end of her remarkable life.
She recently finished taping a PBS special six weeks ago in Chicago which is set to air in February. Her recording of one of my favorite Christmas songs, "Santa Baby" was certified gold last week.
Kitt was well known for her distinctive voice and made a name for herself in her portrayal of Catwoman in the television series "Batman." That role produced Kitt's recognizable sultry cat growl.
She worked in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television during her lengthy career.
Heaven just became a little more PURRRRRfect and we have just lost another iconic singer. Rest in peace, Eartha. You've earned it.