EARTHA KITT was an international star who gave new meaning to the word versatile. She distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television. Miss Kitt is one of only a handful of performers to be nominated for a Tony (three times), the Grammy (twice), and Emmy Award (twice). She regularly enthralls New York nightclub audiences during her extended stays at The Cafe Carlyle and these intimate performances have been captured in her newest recording, Eartha Kitt, Live at The Carlyle.
Miss Kitt’s distinctive voice has enthralled an entirely new generation of fans. Young fans loved her as YZMA, the villain, in Disney’s animated feature The Emperor's Groove, (2001 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance / Animated Feature). Miss Kitt was also featured in the sequel, The Emperor's New Groove II and reprised the role in the popular Saturday morning animated series The Emperor’s New School (2007 Emmy Award for Outstanding Performer in an Animated Program and 2007 Annie Award for Best Vocal Performance in an Animated Television Production).
Eartha Mae Kitt was ostracized at an early age because of her mixed-race heritage. At eight years old, she was given away by her mother and sent from the South Carolina cotton fields to live with an aunt in Harlem. In New York her distinct individuality and flair for show business manifested itself, and on a friend’s dare, the shy teen auditioned for the famed Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe. She won a spot as a featured dancer and vocalist and before the age of twenty, toured worldwide with the company. During a performance in Paris, Miss Kitt was spotted by a nightclub owner and booked as a featured singer at his club. Her unique persona earned her fans and fame quickly, including Orson Welles, who called her “the most exciting woman in the world”. Welles was so taken with her talent that he cast her as Helen of Troy in his fabled production of Dr. Faust.
Back in New York, Miss Kitt was booked at The Village Vanguard, and soon spotted by a Broadway producer who put her in New Faces of 1952 where every night she transfixed audiences with her sultry rendition of Monotonous. Her show stopping performance in New faces, which ran for a year, led to a national tour and a Twentieth Century Fox film version.
Broadway stardom led to a recording contract and a succession of best- selling records including Love for Sale, I Want to Be Evil, Santa Baby and Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa, which earned her a Grammy nomination. During this period, she published her first autobiography, Thursday's Child. Miss Kitt then returned to Broadway in the dramatic play Mrs. Patterson and received her first Tony nomination. Other stage appearances followed, as did films including The Mark of Hawk with Sidney Poitier, Anna Lucastra with Sammy Davis, Jr. and St Louis Blues with Nat King Cole.