Not only that, she was a survivor. The illegitimate daughter of young African-American mother and white father (who she never knew) in times so intolerant of such lineages. She was "given away for slavery" (as she recalled) to abusive and neglectful family members early in life. And, after building a spectacular career, she spoke out against the Vietnam War and suffered through professional exile in the U.S.
Just days ago on our brief vacation, my wife noted after listening in the car radio to her classic Christmas song, Santa Baby, she didn't know why many of those who recorded their versions of that song tried to imitate Kitt's persona while they sang it. They're never were going to out-Eartha Eartha, so why bother? I couldn't agree more. She had such a distinctive voice, personality and talent.
Growing up, I'd see this wonderful woman performer throughout my television viewing. In fact, one of the startling performances I watched in 1965 was Kitt as a drug addicted jazz singer in "The Loser" episode of I Spy. Couple of years later, she took over the part as Catwoman from Julie Newmar in the Batman series, and she became my favorite in that role, ever (...and I've never been the same since). Decades later, in 2000, she was easily the best thing in Disney's The Emperor's New Grove as the villainess Yzme:
Rest in peace, Eartha. You will be sorely missed...