An Evening With Eartha Kitt PBS-TV Show

Saturday 9/20/2008

Thorne Auditorium Northwestern University School of Law

Chicago, Illinois

This hour long, one-on-one interview program provides an inside look into the life and career of legendary actress and singer Eartha Kitt. Taped on September 20, 2008 in front of a packed audience at Northwestern University Law School’s Thorne Auditorium, An Evening With Eartha Kitt features PBS-TV veteran journalist Gwen Ifill as the host and interviewer for the program. 

Eartha Kitt has distinguished herself in film, theater, cabaret, music and on television. The interview covers Kitt’s childhood, her musical and acting career in the U.S. and abroad, working with such greats as Sidney Poitier and Orson Welles, her career on Broadway and her role as “Catwoman” on the 1960s live-action Batman television series. Eartha Kitt is an international star who gives new meaning to the word versatile. This interview is enlightening, engaging and provides rich insight into one of enterainment’s all-time greats. The program ends with Eartha Kitt singing “Ain’t Misbehavin,’” “La Vie En Rose” and “Here’s to Life.” An Evening With Eartha Kitt marks Kitt’s last live performance of her career.


The HistoryMakers staff has created a finding aid for this event. View/Download below: 

Finding Aid To An Evening With Eartha Kitt.pdf


Eartha Kitt 

A performer in the truest sense of the word, Eartha Kitt’s career has spanned over six decades making her legendary in the world of entertainment. Growing up in South Carolina during the Great Depression, Kitt eventually moved to New York City where she started her career as a Katherine Dunham Dancer. Performing in Blue Holiday, Bal Negre, and Casbah allowed Kitt to travel the world, prompting her to leave the Dunham Dance Troupe to pursue a solo career. In Paris, Kitt played Helen of Troy in Orson Welles’ production of Faust. Welles called Kitt the most exciting woman in the world. Returning to America, Kitt performed in New Faces of 1952, and appeared on the silver screen in: St. Louis Blues, Ana Lucasta, The Mark of the Hawk, and Boomerang. In 1953, Kitt signed a five year recording contract with RCA records.
Kitt is not just an entertainer; she is also the author of three autobiographies: Thursday’s Child, Alone With Me, and Confessions of a Sex Kitten, as well as a health book: Rejuvenate! It’s Never Too Late. Most recently, Kitt appeared in the Disney movie The Emperor’s New Groove, and Disney Channel’s spin off The Emperor’s New School. Kitt just finished performing to sold out audiences at the Café Carlyle, New York. 

Gwen Ifill
Pioneering journalist Gwen Ifill was born in Queens, New York in 1955. After earning her B.A. degree in Communications from Simmons College in Boston, Massachusetts, in 1977, Ifill was hired by The Boston Herald American in the midst of the city’s notorious busing crisis. After joining the Baltimore Evening Sun, she moved to covering national politics. In 1984, Ifill was hired by The Washington Post; and in 1991, she became The White House correspondent for The New York Times. In 1994, she was named the chief Congressional correspondent for NBC; and in 1999, she became the moderator of PBS’ Washington Week in Review, as well as a correspondent for The News Hour with Jim Lehrer. In October of 2004, Ifill became the first African American woman to moderate a vice-presidential debate. Ifill’s first book, The Breakthrough: Politics and Race in the Age of Obama, was published in 2009.
Ifill served as the moderator for the dedication of the Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial in Washington D.C. Ifill is the recipient of more than a dozen honorary doctorates and several broadcasting excellence awards, including honors from the National Press Foundation, Ebony Magazine, the Radio Television News Directors Association, and American Women in Radio and Television. Ifill also interviewed Diahann Carroll, Quincy Jones, Smokey Robinson and Valerie Simpson for The HistoryMakers annual PBS-TV An Evening With…series. 


 Executive Producer  

Julieanna L. Richardson



Curtis Simmons




Frank Smith – Acoustic Bass

Kenny Phelps – Drums

Marvin Chandler - Piano


Honorary Co-Chairs 

Warrick Carter

The Honorable Emil Jones, Jr.

David E. Van Zandt


Event Co-Chairs

Kelly McNamara Corley

James and Gertrude Wooten


Benefit Commitee 

Lee Bey

Cynthia Buciak

Imara Canady

James & Ladora Colon

Les Coney

Wayne de Nazarie

Rita Fry

Malcolm & Gloria Hemphill

Charles Katzenmeyer

Bonnie Krueger & James Spurlock

Walter & Shirley Massey

Marilyn Miglin

Sharon Morrow

Isobel Neal

Helen Hammond Redding

Al B. Reid

Judith Rice

Shari Runner

Arthur Sussman

Eileen Sweeney

Allison Grant Williams