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Why Eartha Kitt Was Exiled From the Country Tragic

One of the greatest American singers of all time was Eartha Kitt. But she was more than just a singer, actress, and entertainer. She was also a voice for so many marginalized people and she was a controversial figure – perhaps still to this day.

Her life’s journey was full of struggle and one that can inspire any of you – whatever your dreams might be. She had to work hard to become a star and many times, the weight of the world was always on her shoulders.

Without question, the Life and Times of Eartha Kitt will be one of the most fascinating biopics you’ve heard here on FactsVerse. Grab a drink, and let’s learn the story always told but still not known…

Join FactsVerse to learn about Eartha Kitt’s life and career, the controversies in her life, and her reason for being exiled from America…


Eartha Kitt was born as Eartha Mae Keith on January 17, 1927, in South Carolina. To this day, it’s not clear whether she was born in the town of North or St. Matthews. She was born on a cotton plantation and her mother, Annie Mae was of Cherokee and African heritage. It’s still disputed and debated on who her father was – but he certainly wasn’t in the picture.

It’s believed that Annie Mae was raped by the son of the owner of the plantation and that he was Eartha’s father.

This is one reason explanation as to why Eartha Kitt had lighter skin. As a young child, Annie Mae eventually moved in with a boyfriend who had no desire to accept Eartha as his stepdaughter. Eartha went onto to live with her Aunt Rosa – and this only brought her more trouble.

Aunt Rosa’s home wasn’t welcoming and its believed that Eartha faced physical and emotional abuse there. In her teens, Annie Mae died and then Eartha left Aunt Rosa’s house and moved to Harlem to live with another relative named Mamie Kitt. Oh, and by the way, Mamie Kitt has also been rumored to be Earth Kitt’s actual biological mother!

Quite a start for a life, eh?

However, when Eartha Kitt moved to Harlem, her life began to improve. She attended a vocational high school where she found her talent for singing and performing.

Upon her graduation from high school, she decided to forgo university – which was a rare option for Black Americans in those days and decided to try her luck at singing – which was also a risky profession. Nevertheless, she managed to land membership in the Katherine Dunham Company in 1943 – when she was only 16. She stayed in this troupe until 1948 and its with her that she began her singing career.

It wasn’t long until she garnered a reputation for being a great singer…

Before we tell you more about Eartha Kitt’s life and career and why she was exiled from the country, please like this video and subscribe to FactsVerse for more interesting stories about pop culture and your favorite celebrities and more fascinating biopics! Now, let’s get back to the video…



Some of Eartha Kitt’s earliest hits were the songs:

  • Just an Old Fashioned Girl
  • Let’s Do It
  • Champagne Taste
  • Love For Sale
  • I’d Rather Be Burned as a Witch and
  • Santa Baby

Along this time – the late 1940s and early 1950s, she also surprised audiences with a couple French songs such as Je cherche un homme and c’est si bon. She also sang the Turkish song “Kâtibim.”

She toured around the United States and in Europe. While in Europe, she became fluent in French and continued to sing many French songs. She also felt a connection in Europe and this was good – as she’d eventually make the continent her home – but we’ll get to that later…

She also learned German and Dutch and she had a rather unique singing style compared to other singers of her generation. As the 1960s approached, she was one of the most well-known singers of her generation and other singers began to emulate her – most notably, Diana Ross.

It was in the 1950s that she also wanted to pursue a career as an actress.

In 1950, she appeared in a stage production of Dr. Faustaus which was directed by Orson Welles. She loved acting on stage and appeared in many plays both on Broadway and off Broadway. She had a slew of both lead and supporting roles.

She also began a film and television career around this time.

She appeared in popular TV shows such as Batman, Mission Impossible, I Spy, The Protectors, Police Woman, Miami Vice, Jack’s Place, Living Single, Welcome to New York, American Dad, and The Simpsons.

Her film debut was an uncredited role in a 1948 film called Casbah. She appeared as herself in a 1954 film called New Faces and it was all uphill after that.

Her notable films included:

  • St. Louis Blues
  • Anna Lucasta
  • Saint of Devil’s Island
  • Synanon
  • Up the Chastity Belt
  • Friday Foster
  • Erik the Viking
  • Ernest Scared Stupid
  • Boomerang
  • Fatal Instinct
  • Harriet the Spy
  • I Woke Up Early the Day I Died
  • The Emperor’s New Groove
  • Holes
  • Preaching to the Choir and
  • And Then Came Love

She had a great career as a singer and actress and made her name in America and Europe. She was a huge part of the mainstream and was loved by many…

But, she also had her haters…and this made her a target…



It’s not unusual for a celebrity to start expressing their opinions on certain matters – especially as they become more famous. Such was the case for Eartha Kitt.

In 1968, a year that is now famous for student protests, riots, and all sorts of uprisings throughout the Western World, Eartha Kitt began expressing her views loudly. The Vietnam War was still raging on, and she had something to say about it.

At a Q & A session, she spoke out against the Vietnam War and defended the protestors who called for President Lyndon Johnson to end the war.

She also called out the First Lady and mentioned that in America, we raised children with the sole intent of sending them to war. She asked the First Lady how she would feel – knowing that she too, had children. This caused Mrs. Johnson to cry and it was one of the most controversial statements that an American civilian had made to a person sitting in office.

It was due to this, that the government and the propaganda machine tried to bring her down.

The CIA had a dossier on Eartha Kitt, and it was later revealed that she was described as a “sadistic nymphomaniac” in the dossier. A New York Times journalist, Seymour Hersh, found out about this dossier and used material from it to publish an article about Eartha Kitt – which discussed her sex life among other things.

This was a serious invasion of her privacy and it seemed that the powerful people were out there to destroy her after she made the First Lady cry.

This incident was so traumatic that it caused her to exile herself from the USA. She was very comfortable in Europe and spent considerable time there and also spent time traveling around Asia.

She would eventually return to the United States as her career had a resurgence and she settled mostly in Connecticut. The decade following her comments about the Vietnam War was hard for her to land roles in the US but she continued to persist.

In the late 1970s, both her music and film career were taking off once again and it was all uphill again from there. She hadn’t given up and not even the government could take her down.


Eartha Kitt died on Christmas Day 2008 after a long battle with colon cancer. She died at her home in the small town on Weston, Connecticut where she could live a quieter life and have a respite from the world. She was 81 years old.

She won many accolades during her career – including two Daytime Emmy awards for her performances in the animated shows The Emperor’s New School and Wonder Pets!

She also had two Tony Award nominations for her performance in the plays Timbuktu! and The Wild Party. She also received a place on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960.

Till the day she died she never stopped speaking her mind about a variety of social and political issues. Clearly, the CIA file and the backlash she received from her challenge to the President and the First Lady didn’t weaken her one bit.

Eartha Kitt was only married once to John McDonald from 1960 to 1965 when they got divorced. She has one daughter, Kitt McDonald who survives her. In America, she mostly lived in Connecticut upon her return from Europe and Asia but also spent some time in New York to be near her daughter.

She’s still remembered today as a talented actress and singer but also someone who wasn’t afraid to go against the establishment – rather than speak out in favor of it. She grew up in the era when artists weren’t afraid to rock the boat and one wonders if we’ll see such an era or more ‘Eartha Kitts’ in the future…

So, now let’s hear from you:

Are you a fan of Eartha Kitt’s? Did you know about her exile from America?

In fact, here’s what we want to know from you:

Do you think that there is a contemporary artist that has the same talent but also is as controversial as Eartha Kitt was?

Or is there absolutely no one who can match up to the impact that she made?

Let’s hear your thoughts in the comments.

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