EXCLUSIVE: Keesha Sharp, who plays Trish Murtaugh on Fox’s Lethal Weapon series, has picked up rights to John Williams’ 2013 biography America’s Mistress: The Life and Times of Eartha Kitt. She and her husband Brad Sharp will develop and produce the project as a feature film, and she will also star as Kitt, the seminal performer known for playing Catwoman on ABC’s iconic 1960s Batman TV series and for singing hits including “C’est si bon“ and the ubiquitous holiday tune “Santa, Baby.”
Born Eartha Mae Keith in 1927, Kitt, who died of colon cancer in 2008 at age 81, appeared in films including Anna Lucasta, Boomerang with Eddie Murphy, Harriet the Spy, and Holes which starred a young Shia LaBeouf. Her TV credits are just as extensive, including playing Catwoman on Batman opposite Adam West. She also lent her voice in Disney’s animated feature The Emperor’s New Groove and the TV series spinoff The Emperor’s New School, the latter of which earned her two Daytime Emmy awards.
Kitt’s career took a temporary detour in the late 1960s and early 1970s after she made anti-Vietnam War statements, which led to her being effectively blacklisted. She made a comeback with her performance in the 1978 production of the Broadway musical Timbuktu!, earning two Tony nominations.
“Eartha Kitt was a force in the entertainment industry and an icon who opened doors for so many women, especially women of color during a time when it was not popular in America,” Keesha Sharp said. “Although I may have been compared to her in the past, I am passionate about bringing her story to life because everyone needs to know how incredible she was!
“People don’t mention her in the same conversation with the icons of Hollywood, but she belongs there. The biggest star at the time, Orson Welles, called her ‘the most exciting woman in the world’ for good reason. Her life was full of complexity, pain, and triumph, and I am thrilled to take on the challenge.”
Sharp’s recent credits include Marshall starring Chadwick Boseman, CBS’ The Good Fight and FX’s American Crime Story: The People v. OJ Simpson. She’s repped by Grandview and Hansen, Jacobson.