An illegitimate child, Eartha Kitt was born in the cotton fields of
South Carolina, the daughter of a white dirt farmer and a black
Cherokee mother. Given away by her mother, she arrived in Harlem at
age nine, and at 15 she quit high school to work in a Brooklyn
factory. As a teenager, Kitt lived in friends' homes and in the
subways. By the 1950s, however, she had sung and danced her way out
of poverty and into the spotlight: performing with the Katherine
Dunham troupe on a European tour, soloing at a Paris night club and
becoming the toast of the Continent. Orson Welles called her "the
most exciting girl in the world". She speaks out on hard issues and
plays no favorites; at one point, she drew flak from blacks by
working throughout South Africa and reveli ng in her treatment
there as an honorary white.
Biography courtesy of the Internet Movie Database (www.imdb.com).