Thursday, December 25, 2008

Eartha Kitt (1927-2008): She was an awful good girl

Eartha Kitt (1927-2008)
Sheldon: That poster of Halle Berry is a little unnerving.

Howard: So don't look at it.

Sheldon: She's like my fourth favorite Catwoman.

Howard: No kidding.

Sheldon: Yeah, Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eartha Kitt and then her.

Howard: What about Lee Meriwether?

Sheldon: Oh, I forgot about Lee Meriwether.

Howard: Well I'm glad that is settled.

Sheldon: That makes Halle Berry my fifth favorite Catwoman. It's Julie Newmar, Michelle Pfeiffer, Eartha Kitt, Lee Meriwether...

Howard: Please, I'm begging you. Go to sleep.

Sheldon: I'm trying. I'm counting Catwomen.

--The Big Bang Theory

Sheldon also forgot about Adrienne Barbeau (the voice of Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series) and Gina Gershon (she assumed the role in 2004 on the imaginatively titled animated series The Batman). Sheldon's third favorite Catwoman, legendary "Santa Baby" singer Eartha Kitt, has died at 81 from colon cancer on the holiday that was the subject of her signature song.

Without Eartha Kitt, there'd be no Conan O'Brien.
Kitt was the purrrrrfect replacement for Julie Newmar when the statuesque dancer/actress was unable to continue playing Batman's most formidable female foe on the '60s series because she was busy filming MacKenna's Gold. No other Catwoman could purrrrr or grrrrrowl like Kitt did. How fitting that the role was assumed by someone named Kitt.

Who can forget when Kitt purred one of the greatest lines in an Eddie Murphy movie that weren't spoken by Murphy ("Marcus, darling... I don't have any panties on...")?

Kitt led an amazing life. She was a civil rights activist who was blacklisted for criticizing the Vietnam War and its negative effect on minorities and more recently, she expressed her joy over Senator Obama's rise as a presidential candidate ("It's one of the most wonderful things that can happen to this country") and supported her countless gay fans on the issue of same-sex marriage.
She goes on to say that the gay marriage issue is similar to what African-Americans experienced during the time of the Civil-Rights Movement. "We were not allowed to go through certain doors because of our race, our color," she says intensely. "It was so stupid that we were not able to sit at the counter of a restaurant because it was only for Anglo-Saxons. It's stupid when this country says it was born on "freedom for all," but it's "freedom for some"!
This Christmas is a bittersweet one due to the news of her passing on the day when she suggestively invited Kringle to "come and trim my Christmas tree." I usually get creeped out by songs that try to sex up Santa like he's the hero of a Judd Apatow movie, but Kitt's rendition of the frequently covered "Santa Baby" is awesome. Her version was the first version and it's still the sultriest.

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