Classic Hollywood #83 – “Catwoman” Julie Newmar

Batman’s Catwoman – Julie Newmar

Julie Newmar with Blonde hair

This undated, uncredited photo shows a young Julie Newmar with blonde hair. Newmar did have a film career before and after her turn as one of the sexiest TV villains ever. This is what she looked like years before appearing on Batman.

Julie Newmar was indisputably the best Catwoman on the Batman TV series. Eartha Kitt also played Catwoman, while Lee Meriwether played the part in the 1966 Batman movie.

The leggy Newmar had wickedly delicious lines she would trade with Adam West (Batman). Catwoman’s best piece of dialogue I believe was this exchange with Batman while he is trying to convince Catwoman to surrender:

Batman: I’ll do everything I can to rehabilitate you.

Catwoman: [overcome by happiness]  Marry me.

Batman: Everything except that. A wife, no matter how beauteous, or affectionate would severely impair my crime-fighting.

Catwoman: But I could help you in your work. As a former criminal, I’d be invaluable. I can reform, honestly I can.

Batman: What about Robin?

Catwoman: [pulls a disgusted face]  Robin? Oh, I’ve got it: we’ll kill him.

Batman: I see you’re not really ready to assume a life in society.

Batman has been off the air over 50 years and it’s hard to believe that Julie Newmar (born Newmayer August 16, 1933) will be 86-years-old this year.

Newmar appeared in 13 episodes of the iconic TV series.

After Newmar first played Catwoman she told UPI’s Vernon Scott in 1966:

“It’s the most exciting role in the business. Every performer I know wants to do it because Batman is ‘in.’ This is television art at its very best.

And we’re all willing to accept much lower than our usual salaries to work in a segment. It is television’s answer to Op Art. This is the future. An actor is allowed to play a part straight down the middle, something we never get a chance to do.

The show itself provides all the hokey dialogue and situations, so we read our lines straight-faced without a lot of phony tricks.”

Of all the major villains who appeared on Batman, only Newmar and John Astin who played the Riddler in two episodes are still living. Astin of course is better known for his role as Gomez Addams on that other classic 60s show The Addams Family. The Riddler was normally played by Frank Gorshin who appeared in 10 episodes.

Finally, here are Newmar, Adam West, Cesar Romero (Joker) and Burgess Meredith discussing Batman from a 1989 interview on the CBS Morning Show.

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