Seductive chanteuse, actress and dancer, Eartha Kitt passed away at 81 on Thursday. The multi-talented performer was one of the first prominent African-American sex symbols, called by Orson Welles "the most exciting woman alive." In fact, Welles was so taken with Kitt that he once bit her on stage.
The outspoken Kitt criticized the Vietnam war at a White House luncheon attended by about 50 women, telling Lady Bird Johnson, "You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. They rebel in the street. They don't want to go to school because they're going to be snatched off from their mothers to be shot in Vietnam." Her career was derailed for four years after her statement. She performed mostly overseas and was investigated by the FBI and the CIA.
The multilingual Eartha Kitt is shown above performing "C'est Si Bon" in 1962.