I returned home last night from our family feast to see that Eddie Copeland had e-mailed me about the passing of Eartha Kitt at age 81. Eddie posited an interesting question: “How many special guest villains from Batman are left?”
This is a question that I will let TDOY fans answer in their copious free time, because as I type this, I’m currently in negotiations for a DVD recorder/VHS combo player that my mother has graciously agreed to bestow upon me as a Christmas gift. (Needless to say, I’m happy as a clam.)
In all honesty, I’m not sure if I ever saw Kitt as the Catwoman on the popular Batman series—sure, I know there were about three or four actresses to play the role, but the only one I ever remember is Julie Newmar. I can’t recall any movie I ever saw her in…well, I guess Casbah (1948) would qualify, since she was a member of the Katharine Dunham Group at the time. I guess I’m more familiar with the musical side of her career, with hit records like C’est Si Bon and the Christmas classic Santa Baby. Other than this, I’m sort of ashamed to admit that I remember the Kitt persona than anything else—she’s one of the celebrities imitated by Terry Jones (as Mr. Gulliver) in that Monty Python episode about the bicycling tour.
Orson Welles once called Kitt “the most exciting woman in the world.” She will definitely be missed.
British playwright/Nobel Laureate Sir Harold Pinter has also gone on to his rich reward at the age of 78…and like Kitt, my familiarity with the man extends mainly to the movie screenplays he wrote, many based on his critically-lauded plays—The Servant (1963), The Pumpkin Eater (1964), The Quiller Memorandum (1966), Accident (1967), The Go-Between (1970) and The French Lieutenant’s Woman (1981), to name a few of the better-known (aka “the ones I’ve seen.”).
R.I.P., Sir Harold. You will be missed as well.