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Friday, December 26, 2008

Eartha Kitt 1927-2008

Standard of the Day bids a fond farewell to the lovely and talented Ms. Eartha Mae Kitt. Although best known for her role as Catwoman on the 1960s Batman TV series, Eartha was a gifted singer and dancer as well, and is one of the only performers to ever have been nominated for the Tony, Grammy and Emmy.

Nightclub audiences have long been treated to her sultry voice as she performed her own unique renditions of signature songs like Cole Porter's "Love for Sale" and her holiday-themed hit "Santa Baby", a standard later covered by the likes of Madonna and Macy Gray.

Singing at The Village Vanguard in the early 1950s, she was discovered by Broadway producers, who helped launch her career with a role in New Faces of 1952. Orson Welles, who cast her as Helen of Troy in his production Dr. Faustus, was prompted to describe her as "the most exciting woman in the world."

Despite a strong stance against the Vietnam War that damaged her career in the late 1960s, Ms. Kitt remained a fixture on the club circuit around the world. In recent years, she continued to wow Broadway audiences, and celebrated her eightieth birthday last year with a concert at Carnegie Hall.

Earth Kitt leaves behind a daughter, four grandchildren, and a stirring musical legacy.

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