Today is Eartha Kitt's 80th birthday and she's still going strong!
I had the pleasure of interviewing Ms. Kitt in January 2001 when she returned to Broadway for a brief stint as The Fairy Godmother in Rodgers & Hammerstein's Cinderella. She was also promoting her fourth book, Rejuvenate! It's Never Too Late.
The article never ran (@#*!) and the magazine went out of business soon thereafter(@#&*!!) However, I think that some of the quotes she gave me in our telephone interview are still pretty interesting today:
NG: You usually play vampy, diva roles like the Wicked Witch of the West. Why the Fairy Godmother in Cinderella?
EK: Because I love the story and I love the ideas and I love telling children to have dignity and respect. I played the Wicked Witch of the West and that was fun, but so is this. Any part can be fun if you do it right.
EK: Very much so, particularly in the beginning. They would say things like "She thinks she's white." It doesn't happen anymore, but back then, when I walked through Harlem, they used to say "Why don't you go back downtown?" This is after they would read about me in the papers with a white man. But, the funny thing is, I went out wth Sammy Davis too, but no one said anything about that!
NG: Really! You went out with Sammy Davis? During Anna Lucasta?
EK: Oh long before Anna Lucasta. Before he lost his eye. I met him when I was in New Faces of 1952 in San Francisco. He was performing at the Grecian Room at the Fairmont Hotel.
NG: Is a movie about your life still being planned?
EK: Yes. Toni Braxton is going to play me.
NG: How do you think she'll do?
EK: We don't know until we see, right? She came to my show at the Carlyle and she was almost in tears. She said, "I don't know if I can do that. There are so many different facets of you."
NG: Are there any other performers out today that you like?
EK: I think that Toni is really good. I hope she's damn good (at playing me), but once you've seen one of these people, you've seen them all.
Needless to say, we had a great conversation that day!
Now, I am not suggesting that Ms. Kitt uses the following products. But I am suggesting that they are fabulous enough for her!