Julie Newmar, who famously played Catwoman in the ‘60s “Batman” TV series, has released a special portrait honoring her 86th birthday.
A rep for the actress told Fox News the image, shot by Sean Black, was inspired by the portrait that fellow actress Olivia De Haviland had done for her 103rd birthday on July 1.
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And for her special day, Newmar had one request.
“Let’s celebrate the best in others and who we really are,” she told Fox News in a written statement.
Newmar, an eleventh generation American and a Mayflower descendant, was born Julia Chalene Newmeyer in Los Angeles. Her father, Donald, was an engineering professor and head football coach at Los Angeles City College (LACC) and her mother Helen was a Ziegfeld Follies girl. According to Eddie Cantor, the matriarch had “the most beautiful legs in the Follies.”
Newmar, who pursued her passion for dance, achieved her first role on Broadway at age 19 with “Silk Stockings.” A contract with 20th Century Fox led to Marilyn Monroe/Jayne Mansfield-type roles in Hollywood. Making her mark in both film and on stage, Newmar’s legs were insured for $10 million (except in the event of theft).
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But if there’s one role that fans still vividly remember is that of Catwoman in “Batman,” which she starred in from 1966 until 1967 alongside Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as his sidekick Robin. It was her brother who urged her to take on the now-iconic role.
“Well, there was no audition at all,” Newmar purred to Fox News back in 2017. “They were desperate. Television is a fast and furious business… It took only a weekend between whoever said, ‘Can you show up on Monday’ and my brother, who had come down from Harvard with his friends to New York where I was living, to practically pushing me onto a plane. By Tuesday I was fitting into costumes. It happened so fast.”
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Despite driving fans to a feline frenzy, Newmar was replaced by Eartha Kitt in 1967, prompting questions on what could have caused the role shakeup.
“That wasn’t my job,” said Newmar regarding the replacement. “They’ll be many Catwomen… It’ll be done over and over again, like the opera ‘Carmen.’”
Still, her relationship with Batman and Robin kept evolving since the show came to an end in 1968. West passed away in 2017 at age 88.
“I love them, I love being with them,” said Newmar before West’s passing. “They’re very dear to me, they’ve become dearer over time. It was a wonderful casting. They’re both very much alive. I see Burt and Adam all the time. And I still don’t think there has been a better Batman.”
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Since then, Newmar would cement her femme fatale status in film, television and even Broadway. Today, she doesn’t mind the recognition one bit. In fact, she insisted that the title was practically made for her.
“I’m tall. I tend to stick out,” she said. “And I like the moniker. Maybe a little too much… [as for] sex symbol? Well, you have to be one, to begin with. [It starts with] good habits, I would say. Good health. And a certain goodness.”
Newmar has also become accustomed to having men divulge their fantasies to her.
“So often, men would stop me on the street and tell me I was their first turn-on,” she declared. “And I would have the nerve to ask them how old they were… People would often tell me about their sexual adventures when they were 14-15-16.”
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Newmar’s last credit role was for Catwoman in the 2017 animated film “Batman vs. Two-Face.” At the time, Newmar told Fox News she hadn’t ruled out making a grand return to the big screen for the right project.
“You know, up until this point, I prided myself on leaving the party early,” she explained. “There is a role out there. There is something that might compel me to come back to the screen. I just haven’t found it yet. As long as they don’t ask me to run. I can’t run anymore. And preferably sit, that would be ideal. Give me a part where I can sit! And the lighting must be good… so go ahead, surprise me.”
Today, Newmar is keeping busy writing short stories, magazine pieces, as well as a “bi-monthly memoir.” She’s also a proud mother to artist John Jewl Smith.
“Let me tell you [my love] is absolutely powerful,” she said. “When you have that knowledge or ability of unconditional love, you can have a very positive effect over everyone you meet. It’s huge. I have this ability now to know how people feel, understand the extent of what’s worrying them… It’s a rare, rare gift. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.”
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