Sunday, December 28, 2008

Eartha Kitt: R.I.P.


I've long had a special place in my heart for Eartha Kitt (1927 - 2008). She was so undeniably a unique presence. Kitt mesmerized as Catwoman, on the 60s Batman TV show, and couldn't be contained by even by the multiple significations suggested in the kitsch of that show. The all-black cast version of Anna Lucasta (1959)with her in the title role, is one of the few times she got to show her complex range on screen (thank goodness, MGM finally decided to release it on DVD). She was outspoken and had her convictions, which led to her career being derailed after some frank and none too positive comments about the Vietnam war at a White House luncheon.

Whenever I think about Ms. Kitt, I'm reminded of a friend from high school who was a profoundly talented actor and writer. Few people knew what to do with her abilities either. She wasn't just outside the box, she exceeded the box's measurements and labels.

Basically, she was ahead of her time. Life isn't easy for those who are ahead of their time. After all, the US has barely caught up to Ms. Kitt.

Saw the above photo at Tayara Jones' blog, where she's listed a few colleagues' tributes to Ms. Kitt.

Endnote:
• Chicago Tribune notice: "Eartha Kitt: The patriot who was right all along."
• Telegraph UK: "Tributes paid to Eartha Kit"
• Michael Sleznak on EW.com talking about how unforgettable Kitt was "[i]n an era when manufactured 'celebrities' are as common as drab backyard sparrows."

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7 Comments:

At 11:58 AM, Anonymous Allan Stec said...

Yes, she stole the show in what seems now like a very few scenes from the series. The Batmobile, though terribly cool, is even out-shined. Some people might call her the original, and Pfeiffer and Berry pale in comparison.

 
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