17 January 1927, Columbia, South Carolina, USA. The daughter of a white dirt farmer and a black Cherokee mother, Kitt was born in the cotton fields of South Carolina. After being given away by her mother she was raised in Harlem, where after a period of struggle she ended up attending the High School for Performing Arts. She later joined Katherine Dunhams famed dancing troupe. At the end of a European tour Kitt decided to stay behind, taking up residence in Paris. Having added singing to her repertoire, she was a success and on her return to New York appeared at several leading nightclubs. She appeared on Broadway in New Faces Of 1952 introducing Monotonous, and was later seen more widely in the film version of the show. Her other Broadway shows around this time included Mrs. Patterson (1954) and shinbone alley (1957). She continued to work in cabaret, theatre and television, singing in her uniquely accented manner and slinkily draping herself...
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