Thursday, December 25, 2008

Let's remember Eartha Kitt (1927 - 2008)

Today's news of Eartha Kitt's passing has helped to put a bit of a damper on this Christmas, except that it gives an opportunity to look over a few highlights of the career of this charismatic singer/actress.

Thanks Ms. Kitt, for all that you gave us.

She was 81, and remained busy through most of her long career.

Her final performance was just last month, and according to an obituary in The Independent, that Chicago appearance was taped for a PBS special about Kitt's career that is scheduled to air this upcoming Februrary.

Reading obituaries and online bios and her Wikipedia entry will give you a general overview of
Eartha Kitt's life, so what I've rounded up here are just a few additional links and images that are worth noting...

(Click on images to ENLARGE in a new window)

Lots of Eartha's music can be heard at, including most if not all the tracks from the albums 'Miss Kitt to You', and ' Person at the Plaza, and 'The Best of Eartha Kitt. (Follow links)

Likewise, a wealth of Eartha Kitt video clips are available at YouTube:
- Performing 'My Heart Belongs To Daddy', one of several excerpts from a 1957 live TV appearance on Nat King Cole's show.

- Film excerpts of Eartha and co-star
Sammy Davis, Jr. in the movie trailer and 'mambo fantasy' sequence from 1959's
'Anna Lucasta'

- An odd bit of British newsreel footage from 1960; 'Eartha Kitt Keeps Fit'- - A work-out in preparation for 'Talk Of The Town', her successful London stage revue that year.

Below ▼, from Swedish television in 1962, reprising 'I Want To Be Evil', one of her biggest mid-1950's hit songs.

Like the several other 1962 clips from Sweden's 'Kaskad' program, any disconcerting elements via the in-studio lip-synching are more than made up for by creative camera angles and Ms. Kitt's stage presence.

- An infamous bit of controversy surrounded Eartha Kitt in
January, 1968 when she was one of many women invited to the White House by Lady Bird Johnson to discuss the problems of juvenile delinquency in America.

Kitt caused a stir when she spoke up and declared that American youth was rebelling against the war in Vietnam.

It was the first time that anyone had spoken out against the war at a White House function.

It upset the First Lady, and brought Eartha Kitt lots of bad press and the wrath of LBJ.

She was effectively blacklisted in the US for several years, during which time she performed abroad.

There's a good accounting of the events in a posting at the blog Undercover Black Man.
(Follow link)

Below ▼, a 1970 TV performance of 'Let's Do It'...

More video...
- A 1981 TV interview with concert footage.

- A more recent cable TV interview on the Skip E. Lowe Show, and performing
'Here's To Life' in 1992 on 'The Whoopi Goldberg Show'.

...and two text pieces:
- A 2001 interview with OutSmart magazine, and 'Still in the Limelight, on Her Own Terms', a 2006 interview from The New York Times.

Below ▼, as a club diva in 1986. The video for 'This Is My Life' includes several pieces of vintage footage from earlier in Eartha's career...


Anonymous said...

RIP Eartha. One classy lady. I have a really great 78 with her doing "Mink Shmink"

Preston said...

I always loved her version of "Santa Baby" Thanks for sharing some wonderful images and sounds of a very cool and class gal. We loved you Eartha!

Mikel J said...

What a wonderful tribute you have compiled. A truly great woman with a dash of class. I always loved and more importantly, RESPECTED Eartha. Her far too few movies & TV appearances but much music will always be here to remind us of this temptuous performer.

banbointe said...

Fantastic memorial to an unclassifiable performer. As usual, a tremendous resource with loads of unexpected factoids. Bravo.

p.s. The headline to the section reads

Let's remember Eartha Kitt (1927 - 1981)

presumably it should be

Let's remember Eartha Kitt (1927 - 2008)

The In Crowd said...

Hola Mr. banB - -

Thanks for your comment, and - - duh, whoops - - thanks too for being the first to point out my mysterious calendar error (which I just corrected).

2008, 1981... Yeah, I suppose there's a little difference there...

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