Thursday October 22, 2020

Not quite the full Kitt and caboodle

Music. America's Mistress The Life & Times of Eartha Kitt. By John L WilliamsQuercus, €16.35. Reviewed by John Maguire.

24th August, 2013
Eartha Kitt could please a crowd and provoke the establishment, sometimes at the same time. Photo: Getty

Music

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There are two quotes on the back cover of John L Williams's America's Mistress, the first comprehensive biography of the African-American dancer, singer and actress Eartha Kitt. The first, from Orson Welles, proclaims Kitt to be "the most exciting woman in the world". Just underneath, in a line taken from a secret dossier compiled after she annoyed then-President Lyndon Johnson, she is described as "a sadistic nymphomaniac".

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