John Gibson: That cuddle from Eartha a reminder

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They’ve been saying all manner of things in print about Eartha Kitt. Written in the main by men who never knew the woman in person, never saw her in the flesh.

I knew that “bad Eartha”, as she’s been tagged. Met her and nuzzled into her and I have pictures to prove it.

But never got to know her remotely as intimately as Orson Welles. They were long-time lovers. Welles rated her “the most exciting woman in the world”.

I won’t hear defamatory words against her and, with a prod from our library into the Gibpress File, here’s what she told me before her demise on Christmas Day 2008. She starred at the Edinburgh King’s for a week. You’ll be hearing her again any day now with Santa Baby, she recorded in 1953.

“In one of my best-known songs, Old Fashioned Girl, I said I’d settle for millionaire. In life I never had one but I did have offers. I didn’t marry them or put is this way, they didn’t marry me. There was always some influence about me that frightened them away.

“In fact, I wanted to play it fair. You didn’t want to lie down and get pregnant because you wanted the man. You wanted his child if you genuinely carred for him, you didn’t want his band account.

“That was my attitude to those millionaires I met but nobody was prepared to believe me when I was known for the kind of songs I sang.”

Kitt the man-eater did marry. Once.

He wasn’t a millionaire. Maybe she’d have been better off with one.

Afterwords . . .

. . . I’d heard it before, often, but it’s still tickling ribs at the quiz down the pub: What’s the difference between Hibs, or Hearts, and a tea bag? A tea bag lasts longer in the cup.