In 1958, Kitt made her feature film debut opposite Sidney Poitier in The Mark of the Hawk.
This was the role for which she would best be remembered, owing to her purring feline drawl.
The group toured Europe and South America from 1946 to 1950, and while they were in Paris, Orson Welles, who cast her in his 1951 production of Marlowe’s Dr. She returned to New York and performed at La Vie en Rose and the Village Vanguard, where she developed a sexy and sensual stage style.
In 1952, she appeared in the Broadway show "New Faces of 1952," as well as the in 1954 film version. During this time she recorded two albums, Bad But Beautiful (1961) and "At the Plaza," 1965.
Born in tiny North, South Carolina to Mamie Kitt, who was of Cherokee and African-American descent, and an American father (surname Kitt) of German and Dutch descent, she was raised by her maternal aunt Anna Mae Riley, whom she believed was her mother up until after Riley's death, when she was sent to live in New York City with her real mother.
Kitt began her career as a member of the Katherine Dunham Company and made her film debut with them in Casbah (1948).