RIP Eartha Kitt
Eartha Kitt was 81. Orson Welles called her “the most exciting woman in the world.” She called herself a sex kitten. She made a splash in the 1960’s when she denounced the Vietnam war during at a White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson.
“You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed,” she told the group of about 50 women. “They rebel in the street. They don’t want to go to school because they’re going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam.”
For four years afterward, Kitt performed almost exclusively overseas. She was investigated by the FBI and CIA, which allegedly found her to be foul-mouthed and promiscuous.
“The thing that hurts, that became anger, was when I realized that if you tell the truth – in a country that says you’re entitled to tell the truth – you get your face slapped and you get put out of work,” Kitt told Essence magazine two decades later.
It took Jimmy Carter, years later, to get her another White House invitation. The daughter of a black Cherokee mother and a white father, she was shipped off to live with relatives when her mother remarried and the new husband objected to taking in a mixed-race girl. But she went on to win two Emmys, and garner several Tony and Grammy nominations.Click here for reuse options!
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