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Purrfect Singer, Dancer and Actress Eartha Kitt Dies At 81

Eartha Kitt, the “Santa Baby” crooner and former Catwoman, died of colon cancer at 81 on Christmas Day in Connecticut. The self-proclaimed “sex kitten” began her career as a dancer in the famed Katharine Dunham troupe and cabarets, but progressed to acting and singing on stage, in movies and on television. She won two Emmys, and was also nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys. Kitt is well-known for her feline-like movements and sultry voice, but she is also remembered for an anti-Vietnam War comment she made at a White House Luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson. “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed,” she told the group of about 50 women. “They rebel in the street. They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam.” After making this statement, Kitt performed mostly overseas and was investigated by the CIA and FBI. After her return to Broadway in the musical “Timbuktu” in 1978, President Jimmy Carter invited Kitt back to the White House. Kitt’s seemed to have a storybook rise to fame. She was born in North, S.C. to a black Cherokee sharecropper mother and a white father. She was left to be raised by some relatives when her mother’s new husband didn’t want a mix-raced child in the home. She was abused by those relatives until an aunt brought her to live in New York City, where she attended the the High School of Performing Arts. She later dropped out to perform various jobs. She auditioned for Dunham’s dance group by chance and went on tour with the troupe, beginning her long career. Check out videos of the “sex kitten” below…

[AP]
[NYT]

“Santa Baby”

“I Love Men”

“I Don’t Care”

“Love For Sale”

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