With the recent naming of Anne Hathaway as the newest actress to play Catwoman in the upcoming Dark Knight Rises film I decided to do a little research about the origins of one of Batman's hottest villains.
Julie Newmar was the first actress to play Catwoman and did so for the first two seasons of the Batman television series from 1966 to 1967. She decided to forgo the third season of Batman in order to pursue her role as Hesh-Ke in the western classic Mckenna's Gold.
With no Julie Newmar, the Batman television series needed a new Catwoman and Ertha Kitt fit the bill. Show writer, Stanley Ralph Ross said, "She was a cat woman before we ever cast her as Catwoman. She had a cat-like style. Her eyes were cat-like and her singing was like a meow.". Eartha was the first African American to play the role of Catwoman but unfortunately her stint only lasted 1 year as the third season ended up being the final season of the Batman television series.
With the rising popularity of the Batman television series a movie was undoubtedly the next logical step. In 1966, "Batman" was the first big screen adaptation of the DC Comic character. With Newmar still pursuing other opportunities Lee Meriwether was cast as Catwoman and is the first actress to portray the villain on the big screen.
Catwoman would not be seen again on the big screen until 26 years later in the movie "Batman Returns" where Michelle Pfeiffer plays the role. This film was a box office hit as it grossed more than $260 million worldwide and won a slew of awards.
In typical Hollywood fashion, a spin-off called Catwoman was created from the popular Batman movie series and as you can guess was wrapped solely around the story of Catwoman. This movie ended up being a complete flop and even the stunning Halley Berry wearing a skin tight costume could not save this film.
Earlier this month, Anne Hathaway was chosen to portray Catwoman in Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight Rises". She will follow in the footsteps of some truly wonderful actresses. How do you think she will compare?