I post quotes on my social media account and try to keep the words and people interesting. I don’t give much detail about the quotes, but I do like to use the hashtags to provide information about the highlighted person.
Recently, after choosing a quote by Eartha Kitt, I learned a factoid that I felt worthy of a share. Did you know that she wrote several autobiographies? And after reading an overview of her life, I can see why she felt the need to write it all down.
I’m Still Here: Written in her own words, this is the full story of Eartha Mae Kitt. From a background of abject poverty and racial abuse in South Carolina, she moved to New York and won a place in the prestigious Katherine Dunham Dance Company. Solo success in a Paris nightclub, followed and subsequent years have seen Eartha travelling the world, with a career that thas spanned theatre, film, television and the record industry. As an actress, she appeared in films as varied as “Ann Lucasta” and “St Louis Blues” and on stage she has played opposite Orson Wells as Helen in “Dr Faustus” and triumphed in plays such as “Mrs Patterson” and “Bunny”. On television, perhaps her most famous role as Catwoman in “Batman”. As a soloperformer, Eartha has captivated audiences, royalty and heads of state in over a 100 countries. She has had gold hit records and Number 1 in bestselling albums, including “Old Fashioned Girl”, “I’m Still Here” and “Santa Baby”.
A British journalist wrote a biography on Kitt, however, it is noted that her only daughter refuted a few shared details. According to The Guardian:
The world-famous singer came from a dirt-poor background and only found out her date of birth when she was 71. But according to her daughter, Kitt Shapiro, who chose not to co-operate with the biography, when Eartha launched a legal fight to gain access to the birth certificate she fell victim to a cover-up by officials. The singer, who died in 2008, wept when she set eyes on the certificate in 1998, only to find that her father’s name had been blacked out, said Shapiro, her only child, who had accompanied her mother. Shapiro said in an interview with the Observer: “My mother was 71 at the time and it was approaching the 21st century, and yet they were still protecting the name of the father even though he was clearly dead. They were protecting the white man because they would not have gone to that trouble to protect a black man. The courts still held it as legal to withhold the documentation. We were amazed. My mother assumed it was their dirty little secret.” (Read more . . .)
Growing up, I remember old reruns of Batman and Kitt’s role in Boomerang. If you can’t tell, I’m also a fan of classic black Hollywood, so I’ve seen a movie or two with her in it. But after reading a summary of her life, I think I’d like to read one of her biographies too. Maybe even watch a YouTube documentary. I’m sure there’s one out there. Quick facts about Kitt that might be discussed even further in her autobiographies: born on a plantation, the product of rape, never knew her father, childhood of abuse, multilingual, distinctive singer, labeled a nymphomaniac, made a First Lady cry, defamed by the CIA, several hit songs, and Emmy winner. Isn’t it about time for an Eartha Kitt biopic?
Back to reading, y’all.
I had no idea that she wrote autobiographies and I’ve had that book by John L Williams on my Amazon wishlist forever. Going to have to get rid of that now and track down her actual books. I love her.