Meeeowwrrr! purred the slinky seductress called The Catwoman. From inside her catacombed pop art lair of leopard skin chairs and balls of yarn, she gently stroked a gold statue of a pussy. The feline fury coolly explained her fiendish plot to her caped prisoners, standing above the battered pair domineeringly. Her sharp claws scratched sensuously along the length of her tight–fitted, black spangled thighs until she suddenly whipped out her cat–o–nine tails. The evil crime queen laughed in ecstasy, swaying her lovely ass in animal–like excitement, gazing upon her Bengal tigers as they prepared to pounce upon their prey – Batman and Robin. Holy CATastrophe!

That was this writer's introduction to the "Batman" TV show as a tiny tot. Let us say that the spicy devil cat played by the scorching Julie Newmar left moi with a terminal case of cat scratch fever. Praise the Lord for spandex and leather. Hallelujah!

Julie Newmar is, in real life, a strangely ethereal, intoxicating, and statuesque woman of overpowering beauty and intellect. A Roman sculptor could not have fashioned a more perfect figure for Venus; her classically–chiseled face holds a hypnotic power that makes you fall in love with her. Her voluptuous figure defies gravity.

Julie Chalane Newmeyer was born in Los Angeles, California on August 16, 1935. Her father, engineering professor Donald Newmeyer, was an ex–All American football player, while her Swedish–blooded mother, the former Helene Jesmer, was a ravishing Ziegfield Follies alumni whose legacy inspired Julie's lifelong passion for dancing.

Julie swiftly reached her full 5'11" height in high school and learned ballet to overcome her resultant shyness. An uncertain girl with an adult body, her energies were directed into dance. Her first ballet instructor was the great Ernest Belcher, and she also studied Spanish flamenco dancing, a very sensual form that released Julie’s inhibited sexuality.

The teenage Newmeyer enrolled at UCLA, but was swiftly discovered by 20th Century Fox. Her first movie walk–on at the age of 17 was in The I Don't Care Girl. 1953 saw Julie dancing torridly in a two–piece bikini as an alluring golden statue come to life in Serpent of the Nile. Julie was painted gold head–to–toe, her belly button covered with Scotch tape so as not to offend 1950's audiences. "Oh, it was ever so licentious, my belly button!" Newmar has remarked. The musical Seven Brides for Seven Brothers followed.
The October 1953 issue of Photo magazine was the first national print appearance for the amazing beauty. Under the name of Charlane Jesmer, Julie performed some eye–popping exercises on a beach in a skimpy black leotard for the layout. Cheesecake shutterbugs loved to snap shots of the mesmerizing brunette goddess, and men's magazines, such as Playboy would feature the 38–23–38 amazon for years, hailing her as "the shapeliest torso in filmdom." It was during this career phase that Julie dyed her hair red to resemble her movie idol, Rita Hayworth. Newmar vacationed briefly in Cuba, where she experienced an unusual fling with notorious Hollywood rogue, Errol Flynn. The charming leading man whisked the glamour girl to a Cuban brothel, whereupon the couple were "entertained" by a sexual performer dubbed Superman. The actors made a quick getaway when Superman implored Julie to become part of his act.

The 1956 Broadway musical Li'l Abner presented Newmar with a star–making role, that of show–stopping Stupefyin' Jones, the babe so beautiful that she could turn men to stone with a glance. Based on the popular Al Capp hillbilly comic strip, the satirical smash also starred the gorgeous Tina Louise as Appassionata Von Climax. On stage for a mere 90 seconds and scandalously clad in a tight black nylon mesh costume, Julie stunned both the men of fictional Dogpatch and theater patrons into obedient sycophants with her bombshell bod. Newmar made a return bow as Stupefyin' in the successful film adaptation.

The new sensation soon landed the lead in the Broadway comedy Marriage–Go–Round. Julie colored her hair blonde to play a Swedish Nobel Prize winner's 18–year–old daughter, a mentally and physically superior woman. The brilliant girl propositions a still–married New York professor to father the perfect child from her loins. When he attempts to spank Julie, she exclaims, "Ooh, violence! How exciting!" A steamy scene had Julie walk into a room wearing only a towel, supposedly buck naked underneath (she actually wore a bikini bottom and eyelash glue covered her nipples). Newmar won a Tony Award for her flirtatious performance.

The groovy '60s found the vivacious vixen slimmed down to 37–22–37 and wearing a bullet bra for television. The short–lived 1964 TV series "My Living Doll" starred Julie as Rhoda, a sexy Swedish–speaking female robot programmed to do anything psychiatrist Bob Cummings sweet–talked her into. Critics panned the one–season washout, but were knocked out by the comedy's curvaceous sexpot, described by Time as "the empire sex building."

1966 was the year that Julie made history by unsheathing her claws. "Batman" was the top TV program, a new twice–a–week series based on the comic book superhero. Batmania stormed the nation with its hip mixture of crazy comedy, wild adventure, and colorful foes gave a major POW! to the camp classic. The Catwoman was one of the earliest comic villainesses, modeled after actress Jean Harlow by comics creator Bob Kane. Her secret identity revealed as Selina Kyle years later, The Cat premiered in Batman #1 in 1940, a sultry jewel thief who Batman would "let" get away on several occasions, smitten by the purloining pussycat.

Producers originally considered Suzanne Pleshette for the Catwoman role. Newmar related to author James Van Hise: "I was in New York where I lived on Beekman Place. My brother was visiting on the weekend with some of his friends from Harvard. The phone rang and it was someone from Hollywood asking me to play this part in "Batman," which I'd not heard of. My brother was sitting on the sofa when he heard "Batman," he jumped up and said, 'That's our favorite show here!' And I said, 'John, do you think I should do it?' and he said, 'Yeah!' (and) pushed me out the door."

It was a purrr–fect match, despite the hectic pace of filming. Newmar said in 1994 why she thought the Princess of Plunder was an actress' dream: "Catwoman was so spontaneous and creative and maddening and sexy and insouciant!" Julie added her own stylish expertise to Catwoman's sleek costume design. She readjusted her belt so it draped around her lush hips instead of the waist, to accentuate her curves, and applied her own makeup.

Newmar thinks it's wonderful to be a super–criminal, observing that "in the fifties women could never be mean, bad, and nasty. It was so satisfying; I can't tell you how satisfying it was." Julie's Catwoman tortured Batman and Robin with outrageous traps, including an absurd scenario that placed the bound crimefighters in a giant teacup, about to be percolated to death by pouring acid! Yet Julie played out these scenes of high camp with absolute seriousness through 12 episodes, scratching her belly and lapping at a saucer of milk with bizarre sincerity. During one episode, the actress aggressively groped unsuspecting young studs on the set while she was disguised as an old lady.

Julie's camaraderie with actors Adam West (Batman) and Burt Ward (Robin, the Boy Wonder) became quite chummy. West admits that the sexual tension between Batman and Catwoman on the screen was real, causing "curious stirrings in my utility belt." Newmar sensed West's frustrations, leaving him a vibrating slant board one night, with a note that said, "I hope you will experience some of the relaxation and pleasure you've been missing with me. Love, Julie." Though the growing romance between the two opposites created chemistry, the bad kitty's cruelty always won. Julie's Catwoman once almost convinced Batman to marry her and fight crime together, but Batman asked, "What about Robin?" Newmar wryly deadpanned, "We'll kill him."

Three actresses played Catwoman: Julie, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt. Newmar remains the first and best remembered feline femme, despite the sex kitten's departure prior to the third and last season to film MacKenna's Gold, a movie notable for Julie swimming in the buff. Michelle Pfeiffer made audiences horny with her own S&M interpretation of Catwoman in Batman Returns decades later.

The athletic dancer continued to perform, finally removing her character's towel (!) in a Marriage–Go–Round revival, touring with Damn Yankees, and making George Michael videos. Recently, Julie guest–starred with Adam West in the sitcom Hope & Gloria, and appeared in the drag queen comedy To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, a hit film that further established Newmar as a pop culture icon. Divorced from an ill–fated '70s marriage, the mother of an adolescent son owns a real estate business today, still an exhilarating, incredibly beautiful and spiritual being, her dancer's taut thighs the envy of youth. Julie Newmar is eternally bewitching, envisioning herself as a mythic "sandbox goddess, born to play with; an immortal... Carole Lombard Lives!" She's not just pussyfooting around...

Back to Main Page : Send us your comments

Copyright © 1996 by X Publishing. All Rights Reserved.
This page was designed by Bobby Baldwin.