It was just a few days ago that we reported the news that Adam West and Burt Ward were returning to voice their iconic roles of Batman and Robin in a new animated movie version of the classic 1960s Batman series. I was hoping that the other surviving cast members of the original series would return (although frankly, there aren’t too many left), and lo and behold, according to reports, it looks like the original Catwoman, actress Julie Newmar, is also returning to voice her iconic character for this new animated project.
Newmar, now 81, was one of three actresses who portrayed Catwoman on the show, during the first and second seasons of the classic series. For the 1966 movie, Lee Meriwether played the part when Newmar was unavailable to return due to shooting a movie of her own. A similar conflict in schedules also prevented Newmar from returning for the show’s third season, where singer Eartha Kitt then provided her own iconic turn as the character.
Newmar’s portrayal of Catwoman was hugely influential on the character going forward; in the comics, due to the book Seduction of the Innocent and the 1950s hysteria it created among parents who blamed comic books for juvenile delinquency (which resulted in the formation of the “Comics Code Authority”), Catwoman was banned from the Batman titles for 12 years. The reason given was that all depictions of women in comics had to now be “pure and wholesome.” However, Julie Newmar’s popular 1966 portrayal of the character forced DC to return her to the comics, where she’s stayed ever since. Moreover, Newmar’s slinky black catsuit version of the costume inspired subsequent iterations of that outfit in the comics, and in the media, most notably Anne Hathaway’s Catwoman costume in The Dark Knight Rises. Needless to say, we’re happy to have her back.