When New Faces of , a revue celebrating fresh talent, opened on Broadway, the New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson stated, "Eartha Kitt not only looks incendiary but she can make a song burst into flame. Orson Welles went further, calling her, "the most exciting woman on earth". He had backed up his opinion by featuring her in a play he produced in the French capital, and is alleged to have had a torrid affair with her some years later. It is easy to understand the impact Kitt had, for there had never been a performer quite like her.
Black Performers, Fading From Frame, and Memory
Where people listen
An out-of-wedlock child, Eartha Kitt was born in the cotton fields of South Carolina. Her father's identity is unknown. Given away by her mother, she arrived in Harlem at age nine. At 15, she quit high school to work in a Brooklyn factory. As a teenager, Kitt lived in friends' homes and in the subways. However, by the s, she had sung and danced her way out of poverty and into the spotlight: performing with the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe on a European tour, soloing at a Paris nightclub and becoming the toast of the Continent. Orson Welles called her "the most exciting girl in the world". She also spoke out on hard issues.
Kitt was the daughter of a white father and a black mother, and from the age of eight she grew up with relatives in an ethnically diverse section of Harlem, New York City. When the Dunham company returned to the United States, the multilingual Kitt stayed in Paris , where she won immediate popularity as a nightclub singer. Patterson —55 and Shinbone Alley ; films, including St. Louis Blues and Anna Lucasta ; and television appearances, notably the role of Catwoman in the late s series Batman.