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January 17, 2024

Stunning Portraits of Eartha Kitt as Catwoman in “Batman” TV Series

“That character to me was so much fun,” Eartha Kitt said in 2002 about playing Catwoman on the popular Batman TV series. “I was in dire need of tremendous help at that time. And like a starving cat, I had to find a way to survive... And it was one of the most wonderful bones that has ever been thrown to me because it helped me now grow back into being a successful name again. People recognize my name and still do because of Catwoman.”

Julie Newmar played Catwoman in the first and second seasons of the 1960s Batman TV series. However, in the third season, Eartha Kitt took over the role of Catwoman. The reason for the change was due to Julie Newmar’s schedule conflicts.

Newmar was contracted to play the role of a Russian ballerina in the film Mackenna’s Gold at the same time that the third season of Batman was scheduled to be filmed. As a result, she was unable to commit to the role of Catwoman for the entire season. The producers of the show had to find a replacement quickly and they chose Eartha Kitt to take on the role. Kitt’s portrayal of Catwoman was well received by audiences, and she became the first African American actress to play the character on screen.

“We felt it was a very provocative idea,” recalled producer Charles FitzSimons about executive producer Bill Dozier’s selection of Eartha Kitt as Catwoman. “She was a cat woman before we ever cast her as Catwoman. She had a cat-like style. Her eyes were cat-like and her singing was like a meow. This came as a wonderful off-beat idea to do it with a black woman.”

Yvonne Craig (Batgirl) – “I thought Eartha was perfect because she was very catlike anyway. And I liked that she was my size. I could beat her up. I came up to Julie [Newmar] bellybutton. Not good in a fight.”


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