Bring back some good or bad memories


January 17, 2022

Stunning Portraits of Eartha Kitt Taken by Philippe Halsman in 1954

With a voice like a sultry purr, entertainer Eartha Kitt (January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) claimed countless fans, including Orson Welles, who called her “the most exciting woman in the world.”

Kitt debuted as a featured dancer and vocalist with Katherine Dunham’s dance troupe in 1945, before embarking on an international career as a cabaret singer and actor. Her singing style and provocative stage persona made her a top nightclub attraction, and her early 1950s recordings of “C’est si bon” and “Santa Baby” remain popular standards.

Kitt’s career has included performances on Broadway, in films, and on television, where she scored a hit as the villainous Catwoman on Batman (1967). She is also remembered for voicing her opposition to the Vietnam War during a 1968 White House luncheon hosted by Lady Bird Johnson—an action that caused Kitt to be blacklisted professionally for some time.

These amazing photographs were taken by Philippe Halsman in 1954. He was at one point considered the best photo-portraitist in France. Halsman had an incessant interest in faces: “Every face I see seems to hide—and sometimes fleetingly reveal—the mystery of another human being.”


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