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The Catwoman was the criminal alias used by Selina Kyle, an infamous arch-criminal hailing from Gotham City and a constant enemy of Batman and Robin.

Early Life

Little is known of the Catwoman's early life. One one occasion, it was stated that she was a high school dropout.

Criminal Career

The Catwoman planned and attempted a large number of crimes throughout her career, most of them driven by pure greed. True to her namesake, a large number of these crimes also involved some sort of feline motif.

Treasure of Captain Manx

On one occasion, the Catwoman assumed the role of a treasure hunter, searching for the lost riches of the legendary pirate Captain Manx. To this end, she pursued a pair of golden cat statues alleged to be the only clues leading to the treasure's location. One of the statues, on display at Gotham Museum, was soon stolen by the thief - an act that Batman and Robin quickly noticed. The Dynamic Duo predicted that the Catwoman would next pursue the second statue, and prepared to ambush the thief at the exhibition where it was being displayed; Batman even took precautions to spray the statue with a radioactive agent, in case the ambush failed. This precaution proved wise, as the Catwoman and her men overcame the ambush and made off with the second statue; subsequently, the Dynamic Duo used the statue's radioactive trail to track the thief back to her hideout. But the Catwoman had anticipated that the Dynamic Duo would somehow be able to follow her, and prepared a trap of her own. Soon after entering the thief's lair, Batman and Robin were flung into its deepest levels, where the Catwoman had prepared a complex - and deadly - labyrinth.

While the Dynamic Duo struggled with the labyrinth's many perils, the Catwoman pieced together the clues on the two statues, and deduced that Captain Manx's treasure was located in a cave on Gotham's outskirts. The thief left for the cave in order to confirm her conclusions; shortly afterward, she was joined by her right-hand man, Leo, who reported that Batman and Robin had managed to escape the labyrinth, recover both statues, and arrest the rest of her men. In spite of this, the Catwoman - with Leo by her side - continued her search, and eventually found the treasure. Overcome with greed, the Catwoman knocked Leo out and tried to make off with the treasure by herself. Soon afterward, however, the Dynamic Duo arrived at the cave - having followed the radioactive trail that the statues had left on the Catwoman - and chased the thief through the cave's many tunnels. Eventually, the Catwoman desperately tried, and failed, to jump across an extremely wide chasm, just barely managing to grab onto the opposing cliff. Despite Batman's pleas, she refused to let go of the sack of treasure weighing her down; soon after, she lost her grip and fell into the chasm. When the Dynamic Duo later inspected the bottom of the chasm, however, they found no trace of the Catwoman - save for a small black cat.


Abilities

Equipment

Weapons

  • Trained Cats
  • Whip
  • Explosives

Behind the Scenes

During the first two seasons of the 1966 Batman series, the part of the Catwoman was played by American actress and model Julie Newmar. Allegedly, the producers of the series had originally intended Suzanne Pleshette for the role[citation needed]; Newmar herself recounted her casting as a last-minute decision, telling Joel Eisner in The Official Batman Batbook, where he transcribed her "Bat-Talk" about it:

Quote1 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 this 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 they are doing until yesterday. My brother leaped off the sofa. I mean he physically levitated and said, 'Batman! That's the favorite show at Harvard. We all quit our classes and quit our studies and run into the TV room and watch this show.' I said, 'They want me to play Catwoman.' He said, 'Do it!' So, I said, 'OK, I'll do it.' Quote2


Despite the rushed casting, Newmar came to be fondly remembered by fans of the 1966 Batman. Most fans continue to regard her the most highly out of the three actresses to have played the Catwoman during the series' run, and one of Newmar's Catwoman costumes is currently on display at the National Museum of American History, part of the famed Smithsonian.

For the 1966 feature film based on the series, the Catwoman was played by actress and former Miss America Lee Meriwether, allegedly due to Newmar suffering a back injury shortly before shooting on the film began. Meriwether recalled of the audition, as Eisner quoted her, also in The Official Batman Batbook, as saying:

Quote1 I had to read for the part, and there were five girls in the outer office when I got there to read. They gave me a scene, and I went into the office, and I thought, I really have to do something to make them remember me as those other girls were really gorgeous, so I decided I would do things like a cat. So, I curled myself up in the chair, and I licked my hand like a paw and did a little preening and purring and things like that. Luckily, I had a lot of cats, and in one of my lives I was a cat. I remember Les Martinson said to them, 'I didn't tell her to do that.' So, it all kind of worked, and I had the part. To show you how far down to the wire they were, they were already filming while I was reading, because I went in for costumes and they shot around the character in the submarine. My first day was working in the submarine with a lot of things going wrong and steam coming out. Quote2


For the show's third and final season, actress and singer Eartha Kitt took over the role of the Catwoman, due to Newmar being too busy with the filming of MacKenna's Gold. According to the show's casting director, Larry Stewart, Kitt was chosen for the role because the script of a planned Catwoman episode required the character to understand French; Kitt, who at that point had already toured extensively in Europe, spoke fluent French.

Producer Charles FitzSimons recalls of Kitt as the Catwoman:

Quote1 We felt it was a very provocative idea. She was a cat woman before we ever cast her as Catwoman. She had a cat-like style. Her eyes were cat-like and her singing was like a meow. This came as a wonderful off-beat idea to do it with a black woman. Quote2


Actor Adam West told Jeff Rovin in Back To The Batcave that Newmar's approach to the Catwoman was to make her purely evil, toying with Batman romantically and catching him between his love-lust for the woman (which he considered an unhealthy and inappropriate attraction) and their operating on opposite sides of the law.

In the DC Comics, Selina Kyle was the daughter of a pet-shop owner who learned about cats from her father, but grew up to become a flight attendant (these were then called "stewardesses") for Speed Airlines. Involved in a plane crash that rendered her amnesiac and caused her to become a criminal, Kyle still, subconsciously, remembered about cats while she had amnesia for her true identity. She recovered her memory years later, but even after this, she returned to crime.

  • She is allergic to dogwood.[2]

Related

Footnotes


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Batman Villain(s)
This character, team or organization, is or was primarily an enemy of the Batman, or the Batman Family as a whole. This template will categorize articles that include it into the category "Batman Villains."

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This character is exclusive to the continuity of the 1966-1968 Batman television series, the 1966 Batman feature film, the tie-in 2013-2019 comic book series and the 2016 and 2017 animated movies, Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders and Batman vs. Two-Face. This template will categorize articles that include it into Batman TV Series Characters.
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Batman Villain(s) from the 1966 series
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This character, team or organization, was primarily an enemy of the Batman in either the 1966-1968 television show, related 1966 film, tie-in comic book series or the animated movies. This template will categorize articles that include it into the "Batman (1966 TV Series) Villains category."

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