The Unusual Life Of Eartha Kitt

Eartha Kitt, says The Guardian, is probably best known today as the performer of an enduring Christmas hit, “Santa Baby.” To those of an older generation, she was Catwoman from the enjoyably camp TV version of Batman. She was not cool: neither a jazz singer like Sarah Vaughan nor a soul singer like Aretha Franklin, she haunted the (then unhip) cabaret cabaret. Nowadays, when Tony Bennett is lionized, we might give her proper credit for her smoky, feline (the adjective is unavoidable) and extraordinarily versatile voice. In “America’s Mistress,” John L Williams makes an excellent case for her rehabilitation.

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