Ever since Bob Kane and Bill Finger decided that “cat” was the opposute of “bat” back in 1940, a lot of people have played the role of Selina Kyle.  My high school crush Adrienne Barbeau even voiced her in a Batman cartoon once, and no fewer than three actresses (Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether and the lovely Eartha Kitt) starred opposite Adam West’s Batman back in the late 1960s.  As for poor Halle Berry, though she looked good without her mask, her solo Catwoman tale belly-flopped like a cartoon snowman, but the proliferation of actresses who have played Selina Kyle does beg a particular query…

The MS-QOTD (pronounced, as always, “misquoted”) has a deep, abiding love for Eartha Kitt’s “purr-fect” vocalizations, asking: Which actress made the best Catwoman?

The Author

Matthew Peterson

Matthew Peterson

Once upon a time, there was a young nerd from the Midwest, who loved Matter-Eater Lad and the McKenzie Brothers... If pop culture were a maze, Matthew would be the Minotaur at its center. Were it a mall, he'd be the Food Court. Were it a parking lot, he’d be the distant Cart Corral where the weird kids gather to smoke, but that’s not important right now... Matthew enjoys body surfing (so long as the bodies are fresh), writing in the third person, and dark-eyed women. Amongst his weaponry are such diverse elements as: Fear! Surprise! Ruthless efficiency! An almost fanatical devotion to pop culture!

And a nice red uniform.

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12 Comments

  1. January 18, 2014 at 11:40 am — Reply

    Although Batman The Animated Series has my favorite version of Catwoman, I too have a soft spot for Eartha Kitt’s delivery.

  2. Oldcomicfan
    January 18, 2014 at 12:07 pm — Reply

    Eartha Kitt. I was only a kid when she played Catwoman, but WOW! The others all paled in comparison to her.

  3. January 18, 2014 at 12:08 pm — Reply

    So, this may be a cop out, I can accept that. But for me, my favorite Catwoman performance comes from The Animated Series. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen some of her episodes, but there’s something about them that always makes them come to mind when I think about catwoman. I think it’s the more sarcastic and teasing nature of the voicework. Her words seem to come from a place of sarcasm rather than seduction like a lot of Catwoman portrayals do. A quick IMDB shows that Adrienne Barbeau did the voicework. So, I’m going to say that Adrienne Barbeau is my favorite Catwoman.

    • January 18, 2014 at 12:10 pm — Reply

      And now I’m realizing I should’ve read the whole original post closer.

  4. January 18, 2014 at 12:21 pm — Reply

    Adrienne Barbeau and Eartha Kitt for a tie.

    Even as a kid I just couldn’t warm to any of the other Catwoman actresses other than Eartha Kitt. She was just so great in the role and none of the others worked nearly as well in my mind. At some point in my youth I would even change the channel if it was an episode with the other Catwomen.

  5. Doctor Dinosaur
    January 18, 2014 at 1:41 pm — Reply

    Usually I have to think on these things, this time not so much.
    Julie Newmar; Great material, great performance, great looking in a great suit.

    Then Meriwether, Kitt or Barbeau.

    I feel like the latter ones could have done better if they had had better material to work with. Neither of the two cinematic ones blew it, they just got a raw deal.

  6. Frank
    January 18, 2014 at 4:37 pm — Reply

    All the 60’s Catwoman were good, but Earth Kitt stood out.
    I have to disagree with Doctor Dinosaur. Berry knew what she was getting into; she was a veteran actress at the time. Any movie that sat in Development Hell for nine years should have been avoided.

  7. dan
    January 19, 2014 at 1:40 pm — Reply

    Going the blasphemy route. As a child of the 90’s, Michelle Pfeiffer’s catwoman from Batman Returns got me feeling a bit funny in my 9 -year old pants. At least in terms of the look, if not staying true to canon.

  8. ian
    January 20, 2014 at 12:26 am — Reply

    Julie Newmar for me!

  9. Rome
    January 20, 2014 at 9:15 am — Reply

    Michelle Pheiffer all the way. I loved the deranged, mentally unstable, sewed together my own damn cat-suit take she brought to the role. No one else has done it quite like her. (and she defined crazy-sexy for a whole generation.)

  10. b003
    January 20, 2014 at 11:40 pm — Reply

    Julie Newmar, saw her at a comic show and couldn’t speak a word. She’s still awesome.
    I’d give second place to Anne.

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