Girlfriends star Keesha Sharp is stepping into the iconic role of Eartha Kitt.
Deadline reports that the actress is set to produce and star in an upcoming adaptation of John Williams’ 2013 biography America’s Mistress: The Life and Times of Eartha Kitt. Sharp picked up the rights to the biography, and will produce and develop the film alongside her husband, Brad Sharp.
Sharp said in a statement, “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.”
However, Kitt’s only daughter Kitt Shapiro told ESSENCE in a statement that neither the film nor book is authorized by herself or Kitt’s estate “in any form or fashion.”
Shapiro is also the president of Eartha Kitt Productions, Simply Eartha LLC.
Kitt is known for her roles as Catwoman in 1967’s Batman series, everyone’s favorite villainess in The Emperor’s New Groove, and Tony-nominated turns in Timbuktu! and The Wild Party.
The late actress is also well-known for her activism, her anti-Vietnam stance briefly hindered her career and during a White House luncheon, Kitt famously told Lady Bird Johnson, “You send the best of this country off to be shot and maimed. No wonder the kids rebel and take pot.”
“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,” the Lethal Weapon star continued. “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! Her life was full of complexity, pain, and triumph, and I am thrilled to take on the challenge.”
We can’t wait to see Sharp bring one of Black Hollywood’s icons to life.