Film ID: NEFA 21832 Video of NEFA 21832 TDS Eartha Kitt Interview TODAY AT SIX: EARTHA KITT INTERVIEW 1971 Visitor TabsDescription Tyne Tees Television reporter Martin Young interviews American singer, actress and dancer Eartha Kitt at The Five Bridges Hotel (later known as the Swallow Hotel), Gateshead, following her successful performance in South Shields the previous night. She is asked if her performance changes for different types of audience, about the difference between her public image to her private life and about her image as a sex symbol and old-fashioned millionaire chaser. This report was transmitted 6 April 1971. The report opens with Eartha sitting on a leopard skin covered chair sipping a glass of champagne. Reporter Martin Young begins by commenting on the tremendous reception in South Shields the previous night and asks her if she gives the same performance all over the world? She replies that she does and that it doesn’t matter what ‘classification of people’ come to her show. The supposed ‘working-class’ audience who came to South Shields, ‘we are all working-class in some way or another’ she comments. She wouldn’t change her act to come down to these types of audience as this would be very stupid. She gives people the benefit of the doubt and thinks that they are all intelligent people and is honest with them. She is then asked if there is a split between her private face from her public face? Eartha replies most definitely. When she is at home she is able to analyse who she really is. She is very happy at home with her child [daughter Kitt McDonald]. With regards her music, her child doesn’t get to hear it as she rehearses when she is at school. She doesn’t get to see Eartha Kitt the famous ‘sex symbol’ or ‘man eating tiger’, she is seen simply as mummy. She is then asked if she has ever fancied chasing an old-fashioned millionaire? She replies no, why would she when she is making such a good living. At this point Eartha changes position in the chair. She is then asked if she is annoyed by her image as a woman who chases after men with large bank balances? She replies that she is, and if it were true, then she would probably be one of the richest women in the world. She finishes the interview by saying that she wouldn’t want to feel that she had been bought. Context A cool Cat Woman with principles Interview with the blacklisted American entertainer and activist Eartha Kitt who purred her way to success. In April 1971, the most uniquely feline Cat Woman ever curls up in a leopard skin chair at Gateshead’s Five Bridges Hotel after the success of her cabaret show at a South Shields club. Extraordinary Eartha Kitt never skips a beat when facing a Tyne Tees TV reporter’s chauvinist questions that confuse a stage act with the private persona of this outspoken, blacklisted African-American entertainer and single parent who took the Vietnam War protest all the way into the White House. Kitt was born in ‘a ramshackle arrangement of backwoods shacks’ on a cotton plantation in South Carolina in 1927, the daughter of a white sharecropper who abandoned her mother. Her celebrity and charity work with ghetto youth earned Kitt an invitation to a White House lunch in 1968 hosted by Lady Bird Johnson. She embarrassed the President’s wife with her frank reply to a question about youth delinquency, questioning the rationale for the Vietnam War. She was subsequently blacklisted by the CIA. With her American career on hold, she resorted to touring her show around clubs in the north of England, including Tyneside, and performed remarkable concerts in London with Rodney Bennett and the Nash Ensemble.