Knocking on Eartha Kitt’s door, don’t be crushed if you don’t see the long, flirtatious lashes, the coquettish hairdo and the painted, pouty mouth purring those trademark honey-coated put-downs. Don’t expect to find the libidinous provocateur who titled her 1989 autobiography, I’m Still Here: Confessions of a Sex Kitten. Be prepared, instead, to find a woman dressed in comfy Old Navy sweats, her hair in a kerchief, and her handsome, chiseled face free of even a breath of makeup.
Meet her alter ego, Eartha Mae, the country girl who lives inside the glamorous persona. Meet the country person who decided that a four-acre estate in Weston was the place to move after a rip-roaring life that ranged from dirt-poor South Carolina farms to the wilds of 1950s Paris bohemia, from being the toast of Broadway to being a heavily marked name in FBI files. On her way to a fifty-year success story that has included two Grammys, an Emmy and three Tony nominations, a transitional figure half-way between Mae West and Madonna (indeed, Madonna covered one of her naughty hits, “Santa Baby”), Eartha remains, in the wilds of her heart, that country girl.