( b. Jan 17, 1927 Columbia, South Carolina, USA - d. Dec 25, 2008 ) Female
Eartha Mae Keith was raised in punishing circumstances. Born out of wedlock, she claimed to be the child of a rape; her mother was a part-African-American, part-Cherokee-Native-American sharecropper in South Carolina, her father a white plantation owner of German and Dutch lineage. She was given away by her mother when she was eight, and raised in Harlem. Eartha Kitt believed that Mamie Kitt was her biological mother. Her new family often beat her and she frequently ran away from home. By her teens, she was living on her own.
Ms. Kitt started her career in show business as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company. A tour took her to Europe and Paris, where she sang in nightclubs and was discovered by Welles. Upon returning to New York, she soloed at The Village Vanguard where a producer saw her and cast her in New Faces of 1952. She was in the 2003 Broadway revival of Nine. In 2006 she acted in the short-lived Off-Broadway musical Mimi Le Duck.