日期:2013-05-12 12:09





I'm Steve Ember.


And I'm Barbara Klein with People in America in VOA Special English. Today we tell about the unforgettable entertainer Eartha Kitt. The life of this singer and actress was as rich and interesting as her career.


"C'est Si Bon," or "It's So Good" in French, was one of Eartha Kitt's first hit songs. She recorded it in the early nineteen fifties after performing it in a Broadway show. But Eartha Kitt's life was not always so good. She had a very difficult childhood although information about her early history is limited.


Eartha Mae Keith was born into a poor, rural family in South Carolina in nineteen twenty-seven. Some reports say she was the child of rape. Her mother was of African and Cherokee Indian ancestry. Her father was a white farmer.


When Eartha was eight, her mother married. The husband did not want Eartha to live with them because of her mixed race. Eartha Kitt said he called her "yellow gal."
Eartha was sent to New York City to live with an aunt in the African- American neighborhood of Harlem. The relationship was difficult. The aunt helped pay for piano and dance lessons for Eartha. But she also beat the girl. Eartha would run away after beatings.


Eartha Kitt lived on the streets and worked in a factory as a young teenager. But she kept up her dance lessons. One day she decided to try out for a famous African-American dance company. Soon, Eartha was performing in shows around the world with the Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe.


In Paris, Eartha left the dance company to sing in a nightclub. Her voice was unusual – but very appealing. She learned French quickly and gained French fans.
The film director Orson Welles discovered Eartha Kitt singing in Paris. He called her "the most exciting woman in the world." Welles asked her to play a lead part in a play he was directing and starring in.


Eartha Kitt returned to New York and appeared in the Broadway show "New Faces of Nineteen Fifty-Two." A humorous song she sang about a bored, spoiled woman became famous. Here is "Monotonous."


She soon signed a recording agreement with a record company. Eartha Kitt's songs were all daring, especially for the nineteen fifties. She even made a sexy Christmas song. "Santa Baby," became Kitt's biggest hit.


Eartha Kitt's first role in a film was in the nineteen fifty-seven movie "Mark of the Hawk" with Nat King Cole. Kitt was very careful about choosing her roles in films. She rejected parts that were not respectful to people of color. She said if her choices were bad it would not help the black actors who came after her.
CATWOMAN: "Hello Pierre.This is Catwoman. C-A-T-W-O-M-A-N."
PIERRE: "Quelle est la problem, Femme Chat?"
CATWOMAN: "Batman just caught Joker and me in the middle of a robbery."


In nineteen sixty-seven, Eartha Kitt got the part of Catwoman on the popular television series "Batman." Fans loved the special way she rolled her "r"s to create a sound like a cat. She appeared on just three shows but was an unforgettable Catwoman.


CATWOMAN: "What now?"
BATMAN: "You're on your way to prison, Catwoman. Will you never learn that you cannot outwit the law?"
CATWOMAN: "Maybe one day I will, Batman. Purr-haps."


In nineteen sixty-eight Eartha Kitt was invited to the White House. President Lyndon Johnson was in office and the Vietnam War was an issue of national dispute.


The president's wife, Lady Bird Johnson, invited several women to a luncheon to discuss the problem of crimes committed by young people. Eartha Kitt said the First Lady asked her why she thought there was so much youth crime in America.


Eartha Kitt said: "You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. They rebel in the streets. They will take pot and they will get high. They don't want to go to school because they will be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam."


Those comments destroyed Kitt's career in America for a long time. Later, it was discovered that President Johnson had immediately ordered government agents to investigate the performer. Kitt said she was "blacklisted." No one in the American entertainment industry would employ her. For about ten years, she could only find work in other countries.


In the mid nineteen seventies Eartha Kitt slowly began to rebuild her career in America. She won critical praise for a concert in nineteen seventy-four at Carnegie Hall in New York. In nineteen seventy-eight, President Jimmy Carter asked Eartha Kitt back to the White House. That same year, she was nominated for a Tony award as best actress in the musical "Timbuktu!"




In nineteen ninety-four, Eartha Kitt released the album "Back In Business". It was nominated for a Grammy. She was sixty-six years old. She received another Tony nomination, three Emmys and other honors in the years that followed. And she continued singing in small clubs until the last year of her life.


Eartha Kitt was also a mother and grandmother. She married businessman William O'Donald in nineteen sixty and gave birth to their daughter, Kitt, the same year. Eartha Kitt said her daughter was her greatest joy in life. She said she took her everywhere her career went.
Eartha Kitt said her own experiences as a child left her a divided person. Her real self was not Eartha Kitt but Eartha Mae, a child given away by her mother.


EARTHA KITT: "Rejection has always made me into a person that does not want to be seen anywhere, except when I'm all made up and go out as Eartha Kitt. Then I feel okay."
And where was Eartha Mae most herself?
EARTHA KITT: "I'm at home, digging in the dirt, or doing something that is very close to the Earth, because that's where I know how to survive."


Eartha Mae Kitt was at home when she died on December twenty fifth, two thousand eight. The cause was colon cancer. She was eighty-one.




1.limited 有限的


They may only have a limited amount of time to get their points across.


2.rural 农村的;乡下的


These plants have a tendency to grow in the more rural areas.


3.run away逃跑


After his beating, Colin ran away and hasn't been heard of since.


4.Welles asked her to play a lead part in a play he was directing and starring in.


star in主演


She is to star in a new film.


5.She said if her choices were bad it would not help the black actors who came after her.


come after紧随其后


If anyone would come after me, he must deny himself and take up his cross and follow me.


6.In nineteen ninety-four, Eartha Kitt released the album "Back In Business".


release 发布


He is releasing an album of love songs.



《C'est Si Bon》或《It's So Goo》,这是厄莎·凯特的第一首畅销歌曲JjC;FMfr4u。在百老汇歌剧中演出后,她于1950年代录制了这首歌Y*TNtS,;R&PHFCz)JhI)。但是厄莎·凯特的生活并非一帆风顺c~nK-y(rM..&8M|-a。虽然关于她早年生活的信息有限,但她的童年困苦Wssaxdm~A*dHvKk。1927年,厄莎·凯特出生于南加利福尼亚一个贫穷偏远的家庭z.Ay#b,M~F1yS9^vN。一些报道称她是强奸犯的孩子Hbf^]f48imv%;ZH。她的母亲有着非洲和切罗基人血统,她的父亲是一名白人农民2]v*7T3&GXsoW+XmB



在巴黎,厄莎离开舞蹈公司在夜店唱歌SUlr20FkURU1!)a[[。她的嗓音很不一样—但也很吸引人-!M]NKr^;l02BXHU#av。她很快学会了法语并收获法国粉丝GbAwd[K~PN%^BoU*P5r。电影导演奥森·威尔斯发现了在巴黎唱歌的厄莎·凯特RyF|uFm2BlJ~+D=XK7o。他称凯特是“世界上最令人兴奋的女性”*0Ac|kviQ[F~C。威尔斯让她参演由他指导并主演的戏剧4Fm+yvq@M;[4a2=N9rK。厄莎·凯特回到纽约并登上百老汇歌剧《New Faces of Nineteen Fifty-Two》Ch!]d[olA2kn!。她演唱的一首关于无趣且娇气女孩的幽默歌曲并开始流行,这首歌是《Monotonous》很快她和一家唱片公司签约;!YT,dsbNDj*+-]pQ=。厄莎·凯特的歌曲在那个年代非常前卫BZ_lrqr3lv[FTo#p|K。她甚至唱了一首性感的圣诞歌《圣诞宝贝》,它成为凯特最畅销的歌曲CNov![O[wt]V

1957年,厄莎·凯特首次出演电影《Mark of the Hawk》搭档纳·京·高尔EmtVZAaylYf&JbOC。电影中凯特对于角色的选择非常小心WvuuiiI2UX8mjd。她拒绝不尊重有色人种的片段0nYn|zK3;!dbJw@。她说,如果她作出不好的选择,那么就无法帮助到紧随她其后的黑人演员tQek7TxPls0kFL&9jj+



1978年,吉米·卡特总统让厄莎·凯特回到白宫c7dlJG[g5K(ZF。同年,她被提名为音乐剧《Timbuktu!》最佳女主VHs)dWf(@)n_。1994年,厄莎·凯特发布专辑《Back In Busines》,并提名格莱美奖,那时她66岁;!sm#aHzeU,]F13E。她还获得托尼奖提名,三项艾美奖以及其他荣誉3f)8;1D6Hk_V-5。直到生命后期,她还在小俱乐部演唱K1%~+Bv[j_gsHRfYFM。厄莎·凯特也是一名母亲及祖母zuTc%m1R.i[2Czj8h|。1960年,她嫁给商人唐纳德,同年他们的女儿出生s@JKK5Ukz(N7NBe






  • rebeln. 叛徒,起义者,反叛者 adj. 造反的,反抗的 v
  • humorousadj. 幽默的,诙谐的
  • limitedadj. 有限的,被限制的 动词limit的过去式和过去
  • ruraladj. 农村的
  • exceptvt. 除,除外 prep. & conj. 除了 ..
  • troupen. (演出的)一团,一班 vi. 巡回演出
  • hawkn. 鹰,掠夺别人的人,鹰派人物 n. 清嗓 v. 用训
  • rejectionn. 拒绝,被弃,被抛弃的实例
  • ancestryn. 祖先,家世,门第
  • investigatev. 调查,研究 [计算机] 研究