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Santa Baby — And Eartha Kitt


Charlottesville

12.22.21


SiriusXM had been playing the original Santa Baby from 1953 by Eartha Kitt. I learned today that Ms. Kitt was born in North, South Carolina, not far from my hometown of Aiken. I also learned that she played Catwoman on Batman and that Santa Baby was originally banned on Southern radio stations.


Here’s the whole story of the song and of Mr. Kitt:


"Santa Baby" is a song performed by American singer Eartha Kitt with Henri René and His Orchestra and originally released in 1953. The song was written by Joan Javits and Philip Springer, who also used the pseudonym Tony Springer in an attempt to speed up the song's publishing process. Lyrically, the song is a tongue-in-cheek look at a Christmas list addressed to Santa Claus by a woman who wants extravagant gifts such as sables, yachts, and decorations from Tiffany's.


The lyrical content of "Santa Baby" proved controversial, resulting in temporary bans of the song in the Southern United States. Music critics gave mixed reviews to the single, with some calling it too suggestive for a holiday-themed song. Springer was initially dissatisfied with "Santa Baby" and called it one of his weakest works. It has since been included on lists of both the best and worst Christmas songs ever written.

In the United States, "Santa Baby" became the best-selling Christmas song of 1953 and found more success, retrospectively, when it entered various component charts by Billboard in the 2000s and 2010s. Elsewhere, it peaked on the record charts in Canada, France, Germany, Switzerland, and the United Kingdom. As of 2014, Kitt's version had sold more than 620,000 copies, having appeared on Kitt's self-titled and first extended play in 1954.


"Santa Baby" has been parodied, referenced, and featured in various films and television series. It has also been covered by many artists, such as Madonna, Kylie Minogue, Taylor Swift, and Trisha Yearwood. Other musicians, including Ariana Grande and Gwen Stefani, released covers of the song as commercial singles. Many of the cover versions experienced major commercial success, with Minogue's version reaching the top 40 of the UK Singles Chart and selling over 600,000 copies. Madonna's cover has sold 270,000 copies in the United States and was subject to discussion by many music critics, who believed her version revived the popularity of the song. Kitt, however, disliked Madonna's association with the track. Grande's cover was released as a duet with Elizabeth Gillies and managed positions on charts in several countries such as Australia, the Netherlands, and Sweden. Michael Bublé's version has been named multiple times as one of the worst Christmas songs ever.

Background

In August 1953, songwriters Philip Springer and Joan Javits were commissioned to write a Christmas song for Eartha Kitt as the upcoming holiday season approached. The two had first met in 1950 during Springer's trip to Massachusetts and Javits had wanted advice about beginning a career as a songwriter, to which he advised against pursuing. Their professional relationship resumed three years later when Springer was searching for a new writing partner; he called:

I was looking for a new lyric writer, so I asked someone who had a lot of contacts and they suggested Joan Javits, the exact person who I suggested stay out of the industry! She said she was too busy. I asked her if she had ever written a hit and she said hadn’t, so I said, ‘l have. Are you going to tell me that you refuse to write songs with a songwriter who’s done more than you in the business?'

Recording and release

Kitt recorded the single live with René and his orchestra on October 5, 1953, at a recording studio in New York City. The song was first distributed later that month in a release handled by RCA Victor in the United States and Canada. To promote the single, the record label purchased page advertisements in weekly journals like Billboard and marketed it as "1953's Big Christmas Record!". It was pressed as a 7 inch single in its wide release in the two countries, while a promotional 10 inch single was created with intent for airplay. The RCA Victor 7 inch release featured Kitt and René's version of "Under the Bridges of Paris" as the B-side.[5] In the United Kingdom and Denmark, "Santa Baby" was released in 1954 under the label His Master's Voice. On this version, the B-side was Kitt's cover of "Let's Do It (Let's Fall in Love)". Kitt also performed the song in the 1954 film New Faces, after which it was used as the closing track of the extended play Eartha Kitt.


The single received numerous reissues years later, including in Italy in 1957 when RCA Italianareleased a 7 inch single that was paired with B-side "Thursday's Child". The same label also distributed a four track promotional extended play titled White Christmas that same year, featuring Kitt's version of "Santa Baby" as the second A-side. In 1987, Collectables Recordsreleased a limited edition 7 inch single of Kitt's "C'est si bon" (1953) that was paired with "Santa Baby" on the flip side.

Composition and lyrics

According to co-writer Philip Springer, he came up with the music for "Santa Baby" and completed it within ten minutes.

According to the official sheet music for the song at Musicnotes.com, "Santa Baby" is set in common time with a moderately slow tempo of 84 beats per minute. The key of the song is in D-flat major with Kitt maintaining a relatively consistent vocal range that spans from A♭3 to A♭4in scientific pitch notation. The song contains chord progressions that follow a D♭-E♭-A♭-D♭ pattern in the verses and whenever she sings "Santa baby, so hurry down the chimney tonight".


Upon completing the lyrical component of "Santa Baby", Philip Springer expressed his dissatisfaction with its content. During a meeting with a group of music publishers in 1953, Springer warned them: "Gentlemen, this is not really the kind of music that I like to write. I hope it's OK. It's the best I could do."


Controversy


Following the first release of "Santa Baby" in 1953, areas of the Southern United Statesimplemented a ban of the song that prevented rotation on radio stations and distribution of the physical single releases.[3]

Critical reception

In a 2019 poll created by Evening Standard, Kitt's version of "Santa Baby" was voted the ninth "most annoying festive song" by British listeners.

Commercial performance

According to Billboard, "Santa Baby" was the best-selling Christmas song of 1953, mostly due to the controversy surrounding it. RCA Victor, Kitt's label at the time, referred to the single as "far more than a seasonal success [...] but a further tribute to Eartha's art – for, as each of us desires, she can make every day of the year seem like Christmas". On the US Billboard Best Selling Singles chart, "Santa Baby" debuted at number 16 before rising to number ten the following week. On November 21, 1953, Billboard reported that the single had sold 200,000 copies, which the magazine called surprising: "Unlike many other Christmas tunes it has broken the deejays' 'We won't play Christmas records in November' sound barrier, and has been getting loads of airtime."

"Santa Baby" entered several of the Billboardcharts in the twenty-first century. In 2005, the song had its best week on the Digital Songschart, reaching number 28 in the month of December. It returned to the chart in December 2007, when it re-entered in number 59. During the week of December 21, 2012, "Santa Baby" peaked at number 11 on Billboard's seasonal Holiday Digital Song Sales chart in the United States. In total, the single has spent 101 weeks ranking on the chart. It also reached the similar Holiday Streaming Songs chart where it peaked at number 6. On December 9, 2008, the mastertone recording of "Santa Baby" received a gold certification from the Recording Industry Association of America, denoting shipments of 500,000 copies or more.. Sony BMG reported that "Santa Baby" is one of the holiday season's most popular ringtones, and that it in addition to six other holiday songs have sold an accumulated 2.3 million units in one year later. The Billboard-published Ringtones chart later listed Kitt's version of the song peaking at number 6 in December 2010. According to the German database Statista, Kitt's version of "Santa Baby" has sold 620,000 copies in the United States as of 2014.


In later years, the track found more success and entered the record charts in several countries other than the United States. According to Springer, the retrospective success of "Santa Baby" was completely unexpected. In an interview with the Los Angeles Times, he said: "I ask myself, ‘How come?' I've written so many songs that, to me, musically are much better than 'Santa Baby', and they're not popular. The answer has to be that 'Santa Baby' has a magic that goes beyond a composer's plans." In Canada, the single reached number 43 on the Digital Song Sales chart in 2007 and peaked at number 42 in 2008. In the United Kingdom, Kitt's version of "Santa Baby" debuted on the UK Singles Chartin 2007, when it hit number 85.


It had previously reached number 30 on the accompanying UK Singles Downloads Chart in 2006. The single had its best performing period during the last week of 2019 when it re-entered the main chart at number 55, its highest peak to date. The British Phonographic Industry later awarded "Santa Baby" a gold certification, signifying certified units of 400,000 copies. In France, the single debuted with a peak of number 92 on December 28, 2013; it dropped to 113 the following week but rose to 96 the week after that, marking its last appearance overall. "Santa Baby" also charted in Germany and Switzerland and positions 73 in 2018 and 94 in 2019, respectively.[

Impact and legacy

Following the mixed reception that music critics gave to "Santa Baby" in 1953, Springer and Javits reworked the song completely for the upcoming year. In 1954, Kitt recorded a new holiday song titled "This Year's Santa Baby", featuring new lyrics but identical songwriter credits. The publishing company who handled the song's legal matters promoted the new release by distributing "Santa Baby"-themed apparel, in addition to releasing country pop and children-specific versions of the song.


Rob LeDonne from Billboard called "Santa Baby" one of the "most recognizable non-traditional yuletide recordings" in a piece commemorating its 65th anniversary. In 2019, Kelly O'Sullivan of Country Living ranked "Santa Baby" at number 56 on her list of the "60 Best Christmas Songs".


On August 4, 1989, Billboard released Christmas Greatest Hits 1935-1954, a collection of 10 popular Christmas tracks in the United States, in which "Santa Baby" was included in the track listing. Kitt has since featured "Santa Baby" on several of her compilation albums in her discography. She also reprised the tune for her seventh studio album, Revisited (1960), and her first live album, Eartha Kitt at Tivoli (1962). In later years, it appeared on catalog albums such as Eartha Kitt (1979), At Her Very Best(1981),[ The Best of Eartha Kitt (1982),Mink Shmink (1989), Eartha-Quake (1993), After Dark (1995),[That Seductive Eartha(1996), The Ultimate Collection (1996),Purr-Fect: Greatest Hits (1999),Greatest Hits(2000), Legendary (2001), and Heavenly Eartha (2002).




Eartha Kitt (born Eartha Mae Keith; January 17, 1927 – December 25, 2008) was an American singer, actress, comedienne, dancer, and activist known for her highly distinctive singing style and her 1953 recordings of "C'est si bon" and the Christmas novelty song "Santa Baby". Orson Welles once called her the "most exciting woman in the world".


Kitt began her career in 1942 and appeared in the 1945 original Broadway theatre production of the musical Carib Song. In the early 1950s, she had six US Top 30 entries, including "Uska Dara" and "I Want to Be Evil". Her other recordings include the UK Top 10 song "Under the Bridges of Paris" (1954), "Just an Old Fashioned Girl" (1956) and "Where Is My Man" (1983). She starred as Catwoman in the third and final season of the television series Batman in 1967.


In 1968, her career in the U.S. deteriorated after she made anti-Vietnam War statements at a White House luncheon. Ten years later, Kitt made a successful return to Broadway in the 1978 original production of the musical Timbuktu!, for which she received the first of her two Tony Award nominations. Her second was for the 2000 original production of the musical The Wild Party. Kitt wrote three autobiographies.


Kitt found a new generation of fans through her roles in the Disney films The Emperor's New Groove (2000), in which she voiced the villainous Yzma, and Holes (2003). She reprised the role as Yzma in the direct-to-video sequel Kronk's New Groove (2005), as well as the animated series The Emperor's New School (2006–2008). Her work on the latter earned her two Daytime Emmy Awards. She posthumously won a third Emmy in 2010 for her guest performance on Wonder Pets!.


Early life


Eartha Mae Keith was born on a cotton plantationnear the small town of North, South Carolina, or St. Matthews on January 17, 1927. Her mother Annie Mae Keith was of Cherokee and African descent. Though she had little knowledge of her father, it was reported that he was a son of the owner of the farm where she had been born, and that Kitt was conceived by rape. In a 2013 biography, British journalist John Williams claimed that Kitt's father was a white man, a local doctor named Daniel Sturkie. Kitt's daughter, Kitt McDonald Shapiro, has questioned the accuracy of the claim. Eartha's mother, Annie Mae Keith (later Annie Mae Riley), soon went to live with a black man who refused to accept Eartha because of her relatively pale complexion; she was raised by a relative named Aunt Rosa, in whose household she was abused. After the death of Annie Mae, Eartha was sent to live with another relative named Mamie Kitt (who may, in fact, have been her biological mother) in Harlem, New York City,[ where she attended the Metropolitan Vocational High School (later renamed the High School of Performing Arts).

Career


Kitt began her career as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company in 1943 and remained a member of the troupe until 1948. A talented singer with a distinctive voice, she recorded the hits "Let's Do It", "Champagne Taste", "C'est si bon" (which Stan Frebergfamously burlesqued), "Just an Old Fashioned Girl", "Monotonous", "Je cherche un homme", "Love for Sale", "I'd Rather Be Burned as a Witch", "Kâtibim" (a Turkish melody), "Mink, Schmink", "Under the Bridges of Paris" and her most recognizable hit "Santa Baby", which was released in 1953. Kitt's unique style was enhanced as she became fluent in French during her years performing in Europe. She spoke four languages (she is thought to have learned German and Dutch from her stepfather, English from her mother, and French from the European cabaret circuit) and sang in eleven, which she demonstrated in many of the live recordings of her cabaret performances. Diana Ross said that as a member of The Supremes she largely based her look and sound after Kitt's.


Career peaks


In 1950, Orson Welles gave Kitt her first starring role as Helen of Troy in his staging of Dr. Faustus. Two years later, she was cast in the revue New Faces of 1952, introducing "Monotonous" and "Bal, Petit Bal", two songs with which she is still identified. In 1954, 20th Century Fox distributed an independently filmed version of the revue entitled New Faces, in which she performed "Monotonous", "Uska Dara", "C'est si bon",[13]and "Santa Baby". Though it is often alleged that Welles and Kitt had an affair during her 1957 run in Shinbone Alley, Kitt categorically denied this in a June 2001 interview with George Wayne of Vanity Fair. "I never had sex with Orson Welles," Kitt told Vanity Fair: "It was a working situation and nothing else."[14] Her other films in the 1950s included The Mark of the Hawk (1957), St. Louis Blues (1958) and Anna Lucasta (1958). Kitt had a minor hit in Sweden 1956 with her record in Swedish, "Rosenkyssar" ("Rose Kisses", RCA FAS 511).


Throughout the rest of the 1950s and early 1960s, she recorded; worked in film, television, and nightclubs; and returned to the Broadway stage, in Mrs. Patterson (during the 1954–1955 season), Shinbone Alley (in 1957), and the short-lived Jolly's Progress (in 1959). In 1964, Kitt helped open the Circle Star Theater in San Carlos, California. In the late 1960s,


Batmanfeatured Kitt as Catwoman after Julie Newmarhad left the show in 1967. She appeared in a 1967 Mission: Impossible episode "The Traitor," as a contortionist.


In 1956 she published an autobiography called 'Thursday's Child', which would later serve as inspiration for the name of the 1999 David Bowiesong Thursday's Child.


The "White House Incident"

In January 1968, during Lyndon B. Johnson's administration, Kitt encountered a substantial professional setback after she made anti-warstatements during a White Houseluncheon.

Kitt was asked by First LadyLady Bird Johnson about the Vietnam War. She replied: "You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot." During a question-and-answer session, Kitt stated:

The children of America are not rebelling for no reason. They are not hippies for no reason at all. We don't have what we have on Sunset Blvd. for no reason. They are rebelling against something. There are so many things burning the people of this country, particularly mothers. They feel they are going to raise sons – and I know what it's like, and you have children of your own, Mrs. Johnson – we raise children and send them to war.

Her remarks caused Mrs. Johnson to burst into tears. It is widely believed that Kitt's career in the United States was ended following her comments about the Vietnam War, after which she was branded "a sadistic nymphomaniac" by the CIA. A defamatory CIA dossier about Kitt was discovered by Seymour Hersh in 1975. Hersh published an article about the dossier in The New York Times. The dossier contained comments about Kitt's sex life and family history, along with negative opinions of her that were held by former colleagues. Kitt's response to the dossier was to say: "I don't understand what this is about. I think it's disgusting."

Following the incident, Kitt devoted her energies to performances in Europe and Asia.


Broadway


In the 1970s, Kitt appeared on television several times on BBC's long-running variety show The Good Old Days, and in 1987 took over from fellow American Dolores Gray in the London West Endproduction of Stephen Sondheim's Follies and returned at the end of that run to star in a one-woman-show at the same Shaftesbury Theatre, both to tremendous acclaim. In both those shows performing the show-stopping theatrical anthem "I'm Still Here". Kitt returned to New York City in a triumphant turn in the Broadway spectacle Timbuktu! (a version of the perennial Kismet, set in Africa) in 1978. In the musical, one song gives a "recipe" for mahoun, a preparation of cannabis, in which her sultry purring rendition of the refrain "constantly stirring with a long wooden spoon" was distinctive. She was nominated for the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for her performance. In the late 1990s, she appeared as the Wicked Witch of the West in the North American national touring company of The Wizard of Oz. In 2000, Kitt again returned to Broadway in the short-lived run of Michael John LaChiusa's The Wild Party.


Beginning in late 2000, Kitt starred as the Fairy Godmother in the U.S. national tour of Cinderella. In 2003, she replaced Chita Rivera in Nine. Kitt reprised her role as the Fairy Godmother at a special engagement of Cinderella, which took place at Lincoln Center during the holiday season of 2004. From October to early December 2006, Kitt co-starred in the off-Broadway musical Mimi le Duck.

Voice-over

In 1978, Kitt did the voice-over in a television commercial for the album Aja by the rock group Steely Dan. One of her more unusual roles was as Kaa in a 1994 BBC Radio adaptation of The Jungle Book. In 1998, she voiced Bagheera in the live-action direct-to-video Disney film The Jungle Book: Mowgli's Story. Kitt also lent her distinctive voice to Yzma in The Emperor's New Groove (for which she won her first Annie Award) and reprised her role in Kronk's New Groove and The Emperor's New School, for which she won two Emmy Awards and, in 2007–08, two more Annie Awards for Voice Acting in an Animated Television Production. She also voiced the villain Vexus in the Nickelodeon series My Life as a Teenage Robot.

Later years

1980s

In 1984, Kitt returned to the music charts with a disco song titled "Where Is My Man", the first certified gold record of her career. "Where Is My Man" reached the Top 40 on the UK Singles Chart, where it peaked at No. 36; the song became a standard in discos and dance clubs of the time and made the Top 10 on the US Billboarddance chart, where it reached No. 7. The single was followed by the album I Love Men on the Record Shack label. Kitt found new audiences in nightclubs across the UK and the United States, including a whole new generation of gay male fans, and she responded by frequently giving benefit performances in support of HIV/AIDS organizations. Her 1989 follow-up hit "Cha-Cha Heels" (featuring Bronski Beat), which was originally intended to be recorded by Divine, received a positive response from UK dance clubs, reaching No. 32 in the charts in that country. In 1988, Kitt replaced Dolores Gray in the West End production of Stephen Sondheim's Follies as Carlotta, receiving standing ovations every night for her rendition of "I'm Still Here" at the beginning of act 2. She went on to perform her own one-woman show at The Shaftesbury Theatre to sold-out houses for three weeks in early 1989 after Follies.

1990s

Kitt appeared with Jimmy James and George Burns at a fundraiser in 1990 produced by Scott Sherman, agent from the Atlantic Entertainment Group. It was arranged that James would impersonate Kitt and then Kitt would walk out to take the microphone. This was met with a standing ovation. In 1991, Kitt returned to the screen in Ernest Scared Stupid as Old Lady Hackmore. In 1992, she had a supporting role as Lady Eloise in Boomerang. In 1995, Kitt appeared as herself in an episode of The Nanny, where she performed a song in French and flirted with Maxwell Sheffield (Charles Shaughnessy). In November 1996, she appeared in an episode of Celebrity Jeopardy!. She also did a series of commercials for Old Navy.


2000s


In 2000, Eartha Kitt won an Annie Award for her starring voice role as "Yzma" in the Disney feature film The Emperor's New Groove, later reprising the role in 2005 in Disney's Kronk's New Groove. Kitt returned once again to the silver screen in 2003 with the charming role of Madame Zeroni in the film Holes based on the book by the same name, by author Louis Sachar. In August 2007, Kitt was the spokesperson for MAC Cosmetics' Smoke Signals collection. She re-recorded "Smoke Gets in Your Eyes" for the occasion, was showcased on the MAC website, and the song was played at all MAC locations carrying the collection for the month. She also appeared in the 2007 independent film And Then Came Love opposite Vanessa Williams. In her later years, Kitt made annual appearances in the New York Manhattan cabaret scene at venues such as the Ballroom and the Café Carlyle.[25] As noted, Kitt did voice work for the animated projects The Emperor's New Groove and its spinoffs, as well as for My Life as a Teenage Robot. In April 2008, just months before her death, Kitt appeared at the Cheltenham Jazz Festival; the performance was recorded.[citation needed] She was also a guest star in "Once Upon a Time in Springfield" of The Simpsons, where she was depicted as one of Krusty's past marriages.

Personal life


After romances with the cosmetics magnate Charles Revson and banking heir John Barry Ryan III, she married John William McDonald, an associate of a real estate investment company, on June 6, 1960. They had one child, a daughter named Kitt McDonald, born on November 26, 1961 and baptized Catholic at Blessed Sacrament Catholic Church. Kitt and McDonald divorced in 1965.

A long-time Connecticut resident, Eartha Kitt lived in a converted barn on a sprawling farm in the Merryall section of New Milford for many years and was active in local charities and causes throughout Litchfield County. She later moved to Pound Ridge, New York, but returned in 2002 to the southern Fairfield County,

Connecticut town of Weston, in order to be near her daughter Kitt and family. Her daughter, Kitt, married Charles Lawrence Shapiro in 1987 and had two children, Jason and Rachel Shapiro. Activism

Kitt was active in numerous social causes in the 1950s and 1960s. In 1966, she established the Kittsville Youth Foundation, a chartered and non-profit organization for underprivileged youths in the Watts area of Los Angeles. She was also involved with a group of youths in the area of Anacostia in Washington, D.C., who called themselves "Rebels with a Cause". Kitt supported the groups' efforts to clean up streets and establish recreation areas in an effort to keep them out of trouble by testifying with them before the House General Subcommittee on Education of the Committee on Education and Labor. In her testimony, in May 1967, Kitt stated that the Rebels' "achievements and accomplishments should certainly make the adult 'do-gooders' realize that these young men and women have performed in 1 short year – with limited finances – that which was not achieved by the same people who might object to turning over some of the duties of planning, rehabilitation, and prevention of juvenile delinquents and juvenile delinquency to those who understand it and are living it". She added that "the Rebels could act as a model for all urban areas throughout the United States with similar problems". "Rebels with a Cause" subsequently received the needed funding. Kitt was also a member of the Women's International League for Peace and Freedom; her criticism of the Vietnam War and its connection to poverty and racial unrest in 1968 can be seen as part of a larger commitment to peace activism. Like many politically active public figures of her time, Kitt was under surveillance by the CIA, beginning in 1956. After The New York Times discovered the CIA file on Kitt in 1975, she granted the paper permission to print portions of the report, stating: "I have nothing to be afraid of and I have nothing to hide."

Kitt later became a vocal advocate for LGBT rights and publicly supported same-sex marriage, which she considered a civil right. She had been quoted as saying: "I support it [gay marriage] because we're asking for the same thing. If I have a partner and something happens to me, I want that partner to enjoy the benefits of what we have reaped together. It's a civil-rights thing, isn't it?"[33] Kitt famously appeared at many LGBT fundraisers, including a mega event in Baltimore, Maryland, with George Burns and Jimmy James.[24] Scott Sherman, an agent at Atlantic Entertainment Group, stated: "Eartha Kitt is fantastic... appears at so many LGBT events in support of civil rights." In a 1992 interview with Dr. Anthony Clare, Kitt spoke about her gay following, saying:

We're all rejected people, we know what it is to be refused, we know what it is to be oppressed, depressed, and then, accused, and I am very much cognizant of that feeling. Nothing in the world is more painful than rejection. I am a rejected, oppressed person, and so I understand them, as best as I can, even though I am a heterosexual.

Death

Kitt died of colon cancer on Christmas Day 2008, three weeks short of her 82nd birthday at her home in Westport, Connecticut. Her daughter, Kitt McDonald, described her last days with her mother:

I was with her when she died. She left this world literally screaming at the top of her lungs. I was with her constantly, she lived not even 3 miles from my house, we were together practically every day. She was home for the last few weeks when the doctor told us there was nothing they could do any more. Up until the last two days, she was still moving around. The doctor told us she will leave very quickly and her body will just start to shut down. But when she left, she left the world with a bang, she left it how she lived it. She screamed her way out of here, literally. I truly believe her survival instincts were so part of her DNA that she was not going to go quietly or willingly. It was just the two of us hanging out [during the last days] she was very funny. We didn't have to [talk] because I always knew how she felt about me. I was the love of her life, so the last part of her life we didn't have to have these heart to heart talks. She started to see people that weren't there. She thought I could see them too, but, of course, I couldn't. I would make fun of her like, "I'm going to go in the other room and you stay here and talk to your friends."

Material loss

Kitt was among hundreds of artists whose material was destroyed in the 2008 Universal Studios fire.

Awards and nominations

Kitt won awards for her film, television, and stage work. In 1960, the Hollywood Walk of Famehonored her with a star, which can be found on 6656 Hollywood Boulevard.

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