Friday, December 26, 2008

RIP Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt, who played one of the edgier Disney villains in the under-appreciated Emperor's New Groove, died on Thursday. But she was more, far more, than just a Disney evil-doer:

... She broke onto the pop charts with the flirtatiously francophonic "C'est si bon," and capped that with the Top 10 "Santa Baby, in which a gold-digger lays down the law to her sugar daddy. Through these songs, Kitt constructed her persona of the irresistible siren — both young and ageless — who is so sure of her control over men that it's often a chore just to rouse herself for another conquest. As she fairly said, "I am the original Material Girl." That this smooth dominatrix was an African-American, at a time when U.S. blacks were still denied basic civil rights, made her woman-on-top status all the more notable, not to say delicious. ...

Ms. Kitt was 81, and leaves a daughter and four grandchildren.


Floyd Norman said...

I remember her in "New Faces" back in the fifties. What an impact she had on pop music at the time.

Then, there's her performance in the original Disney feature, "Kingdom of the Sun" -- before it became something else.

Maybe Disney will allow the fans to see that original material one day. Kitt's voice work is pretty impressive.

Anonymous said...

My memories of Kitt come from her turn as Catwoman on the Batman series. I didn't know until today that she was doing the feline thing in her act years before she put on the ears and tail. Makes the Catwoman gig that much cooler.

Kate said...

I will always love her as Yzma and Catwoman, but nothing makes me giggle like a kid in church like "I'm not wearing any paaanties". L'chaim, Eartha!

Anonymous said...

What a class act! I had the pleasure of seeing Miss Kitt in concert in October 2008. She was wonderful, hitting every note and even doing the "charleston". I feel fortunate to have seen one of her last great shows. Join me at and let’s celebrate the life of a remarkable woman.

Anonymous said...

Fantastic presence and one of a kind talent. She'll be sorely missed.

Btw, someone at Calarts in he 80s did a nice film using her vocal track...can't remember the name. Anyone remember it?

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