Legendary singer/actress Eartha Kitt has died aged 81.
The entertainer - famed for her 1953 hit Santa Baby - died yesterday (25Dec08) after losing her battle with colon cancer.
The sultry singer also had a glittering career on stage and screen. She was nominated for a string of Emmys, Grammys, and Tonys, and famously starred as Catwoman in the 1960s TV series Batman.
Born in a cotton plantation in South Carolina, Kitt landed her first major role in 1950 as Helen of Troy in Dr Faustus. She also made her name singing a number of classics including C'est Si Bon, Let's Do It and Just an Old Fashioned Girl.
Dubbed "the most exciting woman in the world" by Orson Welles, Kitt was later ostracised in America for speaking out against the Vietnam war, but after gaining fame in Europe she returned to the U.S. to great acclaim in the late 1970s.
She played the Wicked Witch of the West in a 1990s stage production of The Wizard of Oz and continued to take on Broadway roles. In later years, Kitt became a permanent fixture on the Manhattan cabaret scene and as recently as 2007 she appeared in the independent movie And Then Came Love.
She was diagnosed with colon cancer in 2006 but had gone into remission following treatment.
Family spokesman Andrew Freedman said: "She came back strongly. She had been performing until two months ago. We had dates booked through 2009."
Kitt died on Thursday (25Dec08) in Connecticut. She had a daughter, Kitt MCDonald, from her two year marriage to John Barry Ryan in the 1960s, and also had two grandchildren.