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Eartha Kitt was the definition of the word “fierce”, purring and sashaying her way across the stage, television, and movie screens in a career that lasted over sixty years.
Born Eartha Mae Keith in 1927, Eartha became the talk of radio, Broadway, television, and film, with her petite yet curvy figure and sultry vocals. She began her career as a dancer in New York in the ’40s as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company: the first African American modern dance company that also helped to launch the career of Alvin Ailey. Eartha recorded hits including “C’est Si Bon” and “Love for Sale” which she performed not only in the States, but at Parisian cabarets, solidifying her place as an international star. She spoke four languages and sang in seven, bringing a bit of culture to the masses.
Once uttering “I am the original Material Girl”, Eartha was always seen in the most glamorous of fashions. She sported pearls and feminine silhouettes in the recording studio and showstopping gowns while onstage.
See her sing her signature tune “C’est Si Bon” here:
Eartha took over the role of Catwoman in the Batman television series in the late ’60s after actress Julie Newmar left the role and left an indelible mark as the character.
Head-to-toe animal print was always on the menu for Eartha. The number of designers and celebrities sporting the bold look over a century later are too many to count.
Can we ever forget her role in Boomerang which was full of the hottest ’90s fashion?
Actress Regina King remade Eartha’s memorable Ebony cover for the magazine’s 65th anniversary.
In 2006, she hit the runway for the Heart Truth Red Fashion Show and put everyone else to shame. Get into her gams!
Eartha was a testimony to the fact that a woman’s sexiness doesn’t have to overshadow her brilliance nor her talent. In a world where women have so much freedom when it comes to sexuality and aren’t afraid to show it, we all could learn a thing or two from Mrs. Kitt.
Stay tuned for more of our favorite artists in our Black History Month series!