Little is known of Catwoman's early life. One one occasion, it was stated that she was a high school dropout.
Catwoman planned and attempted a large number of crimes throughout her career, most of them driven by pure greed. True to her namesake, a large number of these crimes also involved some sort of feline motif.
Treasure of Captain Manx
On one occasion, Catwoman assumed the role of a treasure hunter, searching for the lost riches of the legendary pirate Captain Manx. To this end, she pursued a pair of golden cat statues alleged to be the only clues leading to the treasure's location. One of the statues, on display at Gotham Museum, was soon stolen by the thief - an act that Batman and Robin quickly noticed. The Dynamic Duo predicted that Catwoman would next pursue the second statue, and prepared to ambush the thief at the exhibition where it was being displayed; Batman even took precautions to spray the statue with a radioactive agent, in case the ambush failed. This precaution proved wise, as Catwoman and her men overcame the ambush and made off with the second statue; subsequently, the Dynamic Duo used the statue's radioactive trail to track the thief back to her hideout. Catwoman, however, had anticipated that the Dynamic Duo would somehow be able to follow her, and prepared a trap of her own. Soon after entering the thief's lair, Batman and Robin were flung into its deepest levels, where Catwoman had prepared a complex - and deadly - labyrinth.
While the Dynamic Duo struggled with the labyrinth's many perils, Catwoman pieced together the clues on the two statues, and deduced that Captain Manx's treasure was located in a cave on Gotham's outskirts. The thief left for the cave in order to confirm her conclusions; shortly afterward, she was joined by her right-hand man Leo, who reported that Batman and Robin had managed to escape the labyrinth, recover both statues, and arrest the rest of her men. In spite of this, Catwoman - with Leo by her side - continued her search, and eventually found the treasure. Overcome with greed, Catwoman knocked Leo out and tried to make off with the treasure by herself. Soon afterward, however, the Dynamic Duo arrived at the cave - having followed the radioactive trail that the statues had left on Catwoman - and chased the thief through the cave's many tunnels. Eventually, a desperate Catwoman tried and failed to jump across an extremely wide chasm, just barely managing to grab onto the opposing cliff. Despite Batman's pleas, she refused to let go of the sack of treasure weighing her down; soon after, she lost her grip and fell into the chasm. When the Dynamic Duo later inspected the bottom of the chasm, however, they found no trace of Catwoman - save for a small black cat.
Powers and AbilitiesEdit
This individual does not possess any superhuman capabilities.
- Trained Cats
Behind the Scenes
During the first two seasons of the 1966 Batman series, the part of Catwoman was played by American actress and model Julie Newmar. Allegedly, the producers of the series had originally intended Suzanne Pleshette for the role; Newmar herself recounted her casting as a last-minute decision, stating:
"I had lived in New York at the time on Beekman Place. I remember it was a weekend, Friday or Saturday, and my brother had come down from Harvard with five or six of his friends, and we were all sitting around the sofa, just chatting away, when the phone rang. I got up and answered it, and it was this agent or someone in Hollywood, who said, ‘Miss Newmar, would you like to play the Catwoman on the “Batman” series? They are casting it out here.’ I was insulted because he said, ‘It starts Monday.’ I said, ‘What is this?’ That’s how television is done: they never know what they are doing until yesterday. My brother leaped off the sofa. I mean he physically levitated and said, ‘Batman! That’s the favorite show at Harvard. We all quit our classes and quit our studies and run into the TV room and watch this show.’ I said, ‘They want me to play Catwoman.’ He said, ‘Do it!’ So, I said, ‘OK, I’ll do it.’"
Despite the rushed casting, Newmar came to be fondly remembered by fans of the 1966 Batman. Most fans continue to regard her the most highly out of the three actresses to have played Catwoman during the series' run, and one of Newmar's Catwoman costumes is currently on display at the National Museum of American History, part of the famed Smithsonian.
For the 1966 feature film based off of the series, Catwoman was played by actress and former Miss America Lee Meriwether, allegedly due to Newmar suffering a back injury shortly before shooting on the film began. Meriwether recalled of the audition:
"I had to read for the part, and there were five girls in the outer office when I got there to read. They gave me a scene, and I went into the office, and I thought, I really have to do something to make them remember me as those other girls were really gorgeous, so I decided I would do things like a cat. So, I curled myself up in the chair, and I licked my hand like a paw and did a little preening and purring and things like that. Luckily, I had a lot of cats, and in one of my lives I was a cat. I remember Les Martinson said to them, ‘I didn’t tell her to do that.’ So, it all kind of worked, and I had the part. To show you how far down to the wire they were, they were already filming while I was reading, because I went in for costumes and they shot around the character in the submarine. My first day was working in the submarine with a lot of things going wrong and steam coming out."
For the show's third and final season, actress and singer Eartha Kitt took over the role of Catwoman, due to Newmar being preoccupied with filming for MacKenna's Gold. According to the series' casting director, Larry Stewart, Kitt was chosen for the role because the script of a planned Catwoman episode required the character to understand French; Kitt, who at that point had already toured extensively in Europe, spoke fluent French.
Producer Charles FitzSimons recalls of Kitt as Catwoman:
"We felt it was a very provocative idea. She was a cat woman before we ever cast her as Catwoman. She had a cat-like style. Her eyes were cat-like and her singing was like a meow. This came as a wonderful off-beat idea to do it with a black woman."
References in Other Media
- Eartha Kitt's portrayal of Catwoman was briefly referenced in the Simpsons episode "Once Upon A Time in Springfield", where Kitt (playing herself) is portrayed as one of Krusty's numerous ex-wives. Kitt, through a video recording, states that her marriage to Krusty had been a "CAT-astrophe!", and hisses at the camera while curling her hand into a claw shape.
- In one episode of the American sitcom The Big Bang Theory, Sheldon Cooper attempts to put himself to sleep by counting the different actresses to have played Catwoman. His friend Howard Wolowitz corrects him, stating that he has forgotten to include Meriwether.
- A figure of Julie Newmar's portrayal of Catwoman has been confirmed to be part of Mattel's upcoming series of action figures based off of the 1966 Batman series.
- Mattel has also announced the release of a Barbie doll themed after Newmar's Catwoman, paired together with a Ken doll themed after Adam West's portrayal of Batman.
- 3 Appearances of Catwoman (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- 2 Images featuring Catwoman (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- Quotations by or about Catwoman (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- Character Gallery: Catwoman (Batman 1966 TV Series)
- Catwoman (Batman 1966 TV Series) at Wikipedia.org
- Bat-Mania UK's pages on Newmar's, Meriwether's, and Kitt's portrayals of Catwoman.
Discover and Discuss
- Search this site for:
- Search the Forums for:
|1966-1968 Batman television series and the 1966 Batman feature film. This template will categorize articles that include it into Batman TV Series Characters.|
|Batman Villain(s) from the 1966 series |
This character, team or organization, was primarily an enemy of the Batman in either the 1966 film or related television show. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Batman (1966 TV Series) Villains category."