Singer Eartha Kitt Passes Away

By Sari N. Kent,
The woman who some say epitomized the role of "Catwoman," Eartha Kitt, has passed away.

On Thursday, actress/singer/dancer Eartha Kitt died of colon cancer at the age of 81.

Kitt, who was born Eartha Mae Keith, rose from her simple South Carolina upbringing to become an international icon of grace and sensuality.

According to an ABC News article, "Kitt, a self-proclaimed 'sex kitten' famous for her catlike purr, was one of America's most versatile performers, winning two Emmys and nabbing a third nomination. She also was nominated for several Tonys and two Grammys."

She began her six-decade-long career as a dancer for the famous Katherine Dunham troupe. She then moved on to acting and singing on stage. From there, the versatile Kitt performed in movies and on television. Kitt was also no stranger to controversy when in the 1960s she denounced the Vietnam War during a visit to the White House.

According to the Associated Press, "Once dubbed the 'most exciting woman in the world' by Orson Welles, she spent much of her life single, though brief romances with the rich and famous peppered her younger years."

She wrote a book in 2001, entitled Rejuvenate, which was a guide on how to stay healthy. On the cover of the book, Kitt is shown in a long, curvaceous black dress sporting the figure akin to a 20-year-old.

In 1996, she was nominated for a Grammy in the category of traditional pop vocal performance for her album, Back in Business. She also had been nominated in the children's recording category for the 1969 record, Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa.

As for television, in 1967-68, Kitt made her mark as "Catwoman" on the popular series, Batman, replacing Julie Newmar, who originated the role. A guest appearance on I Spy would garner Kitt an Emmy nomination in 1966.

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