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 Catwoman

The many costumes of the comic-book Catwoman through the years.

The character of Catwoman, which is being reprised by the talented Anne Hathaway in the 2012 Christopher Nolan film, The Dark Knight Rises, is a complex character first introduced in the comic books in 1940. Catwoman first appeared in the 1940 comic book Batman #1. The character of Selina Kyle was introduced first as a non-costumed jewel thief called "The Cat," but she later returned in a cat-themed costume in Batman #2, this time teamed up with the insane Clown Prince of Crime, The Joker. In all versions of Catwoman, she is portrayed as a flawed personality (as are nearly all Batman-related characters, especially Batman's Rogues Gallery of villains), who, despite her larcenous ways, has a heart of gold. In her team-up with the Joker, she ends her partnership with Joker when he attempts to kill Batman's teen sidekick, Robin.

In the Batman movies and the television series, as in the comic books, there exists a strange romantic and sexual relationship between Catwoman and Batman. In the 1960s Batman television show, this was a chaste and never-consummated affair, while in the comics, especially those published in the 21st century, including DC Comics's "New 52" reboot, the sexual nature of their dalliances becomes quite evident. It remains to be seen what happens between Christain Bale's Batman and Anne Hathaway's Catwoman in the new Dark Knight Rises film.

Below is a listing of the actresses who portray Catwoman from the 1960s, to today.

Catwoman Actresses:

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: http://www.bat-mania.co.uk/main/villains/catwoman_julienewmar.php

 

Julie Newmar: Catwoman:

Julie Newmar Catwoman

Julie Newmar, the Original TV Catwoman

Catwoman and Batman

Adam West as Batman and Julie Newmar as Catwoman

 

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.

Eartha Kitt Catwoman

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

 

Catwoman Earth Kitt

Eartha Kitt as Catwoman

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

Lee Meriwether  Catwoman

 Catwoman as portrayed by Lee Meriwether

 

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. Movie lore has the role originally given to Annette Bening, but when Bening became pregnant by her husband, Warren Beatty, she had to drop out of the film. Critics and fans alike applauded the portryal of Selina Kyle/Catwoman by Michelle Pfeiffer, who brought a sultry sexuality to the role.

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

Michelle Pfeiffer as Catwoman

 

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. Critics and fans alike consider this iteration of Catwoman to be hands down the worst.

Halle Berry Catwoman

Halle Berry as a very alternate version of Catwoman

Anne Hathaway will play the latest iteration of Catwoman in the upcoming Batman film Dark Knight Rises, which hits theaters on July 20, 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)

Catwoman Anne Hathaway

Catwoman as portrayed by Anne Hathaway 2012

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

Anne Hathaway as Catwoman

 

 

 

Sources and Links on Catwoman:

Comics History: Catwoman

Catfan

Comic Book Database: Batman

The Dark Knight Rises (2012): Exclusive Trailer Related Plot Spoilers!--Cosmic Book News

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

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