Eartha Kitt dies at the age of 81

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Moving tribute as Eartha, 81, dies

DAME Shirley Bassey today paid a moving tribute to singer, actress and cabaret icon Eartha Kitt, who died on Christmas Day aged 81.

Her death, from colon cancer, left Dame Shirley “most distressed”. The stars were friends for more than 50 years.

Dame Shirley said: “Eartha Kitt was one of the guiding influences on cabaret art in the 20th century. She had an influence that will last far beyond her 81 years.

“Eartha provided entertainment to millions of us and to have spent six decades working across many genres is remarkable.

“My condolences and deep, deep thoughts go to all of her family and friends at this tragic time.”

Kitt, who was famed for her provocative catlike purr, rose from South Carolina cotton fields to become one of America’s most versatile performers.

Her showbiz career started as a dancer with the Katherine Dunham troupe and developed into full-blown cabarets, stage acting and singing, movies and television.

She became a star in 1952 singing Monotonous in the Broadway revue New Faces.

Her first album came out in 1954, and featured songs such as I Want to Be Evil, C’est Si Bon and the saucy Christmas number Santa Baby.

In 1960, Kitt was honored with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. She has also received three Tony nominations, two Grammy nominations, and an Emmy win. She was profiled on the December 31, 2007 broadcast of NPR’s Morning Edition.

Kitt has said that she is not certain of her parentage, beyond that she was born out of wedlock on a cotton plantation in the tiny town of St. Matthews, South Carolina and is African-American and perhaps Native American on one side and of German or Dutch ancestry on the other.

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# Thanks to Susan for the newspaper clip #

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To Eartha’s fans from her daughter

Thank you all so much for your thoughts and prayers. My mother was fortunate to have so many people who cared so much.

Unfortunately, her last weeks were often difficult and painful. But, she did get to come home and finish her life overlooking her fabulous view, surrounded by the many treasures of her amazing life.

I was with her continuously these last weeks and held her hand as she left this world. I have been truly blessed.

She did not want to be buried because she didn’t want to take up space. She wanted no funeral or service. She wanted to leave this earth as she had arrived, with no fanfare. The life she lived is tribute itself.

I will miss her.

Kitt Shapiro