ComicsHistory Character Profile: The Many Faces of Catwoman

The Many Faces of Catwoman features a look at the actresses who have played the feline femme fatale on television and in the movies from the 1960s to today.

Catwoman- (Selina Kyle) --1st appearance: Batman #1 (1940).--The Catwoman is one of Batman's more complex foes. Unlike her occassional mentally disturbed allies the Joker, Riddler, and Scarface (among others), Catwoman is not insane. Indeed, she is a perfectly sane cat-burglar and jewel thief whose leads a life of crime and at times attempts to turn her sexual attentions on the Batman.

Her origin is somewhat muddled. In her first appearance in Batman #1, she is a thief and mistress of disguise simply known as "The Cat," without her trademark Catwoman costume. In her second appearance, in Batman #2, she teams with the murderous Joker, at least until Joker attempts to kill Robin, whereupon she turns on the Joker.

Through the years, the Catwoman has taken turns as a villain and as a hero (or anti-hero), who will temporarily give up larcenous pursuits to do the right thing, or just to try to win Batman's heart (or other parts of his anatomy).

The Original Catwoman
Julie Newmar played the first television version of Catwoman for the Batman television show of the 1960s. Julie Newmar portayed Catwoman in twelve episodes in the classic Catwoman costume which she designed herself. The costume is on display at the Smithsonian. Julie Newmar was living in New York at the time that she was called upon to audition for the role of Catwoman.

According to Julie Newmar, ""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 the 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 the are doing until yesterday. My brother leapt off the sofa. I mean he physically levitated and said BATMAN! that's our favorite show at Harvard. We all quit our classes and quit our studies and run into the TV room and watch the show. I said , They want me to play Catwoman. He said DO IT ! so I said O.K. I'll do it." Source: >

Eartha Kitt replaced Julie Newmar for the third season of the Batman show. Julie Newmar was unable to reprise her Catwoman role due to her work on the movie, "Mackenna's Gold."

While the Newmar Catwoman pursued a sort of romance/mutual attraction with Batman, which is similar to the comic lore, the replacement of Newmar by Eartha Kitt spelled the end to any sexual attraction between the now-black Catwoman and the lily-white Batman. This was the 1960s, and very few television shows were willing to risk alienating viewers with an inter-racial relationship.

Lee Meriwether played Catwoman in the 1966 Batman movie, replacing Julie Newmar, who was unavailable. Prior to her turn as Catwoman, Lee Meriwether was best known as the Miss America of 1955.

Catwoman took a live-action hiatus from the movies until 1992's Batman Returns brought Michelle Pfeiffer to the role as Batman's sexually alluring (and leather-clad) nemesis.

Halle Berry portrayed a version of Catwoman in the 2004 film called, simply, Catwoman. This edition of the famed villainous almost should not count, as this film had nothing to do with the comic book Catwoman, had nothing to do with Batman or Gotham, and contained a Catwoman backstory that used a different name from Selina Kyle, and completely changed the origin story.

Anne Hathaway will play the latest iteration of Catwoman in the upcoming Batman film Dark Knight Rises, due out in 2012. Hathaway is the star of such films as The Princess Diaries (2001), Brokeback Mountain (2005), The Devil Wears Prada (2006), Get Smart (2008), Rachel Getting Married (2008), and Alice in Wonderland (2010)


History: Catwoman


Book Database: Batman

Dark Knight Rises (2012): Exclusive Trailer Related Plot
Book News

Knight Rises' Trailer Hits The Net!: Clip offers glimpse
of villain Bane in action while Liam Neeson's Ra's Al
Ghul resurfaces in

DISCLAIMER: is protected under the DMCA (Digital Millenium Copyright Act) and... [MORE]
Picture Gallery - View Gallery
Related Headlines
Latest Headlines
From The Web