As an eleventh generation American and a Mayflower descendant, Julie Newmar has beauty and brains, a charming and seductive sense of humor, and many talents that have made her a world class act. Born Julia Chalene Newmeyer in Los Angeles, from an early age, Julie studied classical piano, ballet, and every form of dance her mother would drive her to lessons for, graduating high school at 15, then spending a year in Europe with her mother and brother.
On her UCLA entrance exam, she scored a 99, staying only six weeks, switching to Universal Studios as choreographer, teacher, and dance double. Not yet 18, she was the original “Golden Girl,” a statue-come-to-life exotically dancing in “Serpent of the Nile,” that influentially predates Madonna’s similar scene in Like A Virgin Tour by decades. Julie was one of the brides in the classic MGM musical “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers,” which began, along with her Golden Girl role, her wisely regarded position as one of films most beautiful and sexiest stars.
“Silk Stockings” was her first role on Broadway at 19, then the very “Stupefyin’ Jones” in “Li’l Abner.” She won a Tony for her first speaking role in the hit comedy “Marriage-Go-Round” (Claudette Colbert and Charles Boyer). A contract with 20th Century Fox provided a role in “The Rookie,” and “The Maltese Bippy.” She also toured in the National Company, opposite Joel Gray, in “Stop the World, I Want to Get Off,” for which her incredible legs were insured for ten million dollars.
In 1966, she starred in the legendary role of Catwoman in T.V.’s “Batman.” Her brilliant comedic timing, stunningly lovely face, and body to die for, made her the show’s most popular villain. Also widely popular was her appearance as April the Laundress in “The Monkees Get Out More Dirt”. On “Wide, Wide World of Sports,” she made three parachute jumps. She was killed off in “Columbo” but slayed audiences as Lola in “Damn Yankees.” She was given a chapter in the book “Mothers of Invention” for having created “Nudemar,” a new design in pantyhose, appearing in People Magazine.
In 1991, Julie took on the Rosalind Russel role in “The Women,” then astonished Broadway in a revival of “Li’l Abner,” 42 years after performing in the original production as Stupefyin’ Jones in the same costume. In her 60s, she became a modeling sensation in Paris for Thierry Mugler and appeared among the fashion world’s most gorgeous divas in George Michael’s music video “Too Funky.”
Few women have had a movie named after them. Julie’s name literally became box office via “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar,” a film from Stephen Spielberg’s company. Literary types from John D. MacDonald to Harlan Coben have written characters based on Julie or alluding to Julie’s “special… beautiful and animated… incomparable feminine” personality. She was persuaded by Adam West to re-make Catwoman in his “Return to the Batcave.” She also appeared in her own “A&E Biography.”
A feud over “quality of life” issues with neighbor Jim Belushi ended amicably in a historic and hysteric guest spot on his show, “According to Jim,” which once again proved she’s as active and attractive as ever- Batman’s formidable feline, Belushi’s archly attractive enemy.
From the ’60s into the 21st century, Julie is still fascinating. “Beauty is her business” as well as her passion for art and design, and gardening, which have led to a rose, day lily, and an orchid named in her honor. Her magnificent gardens are first choice for L.A.’s top charity events. “Why not?” She whispers, “I live in Paradise.” Now pursing writing, she answers in her upcoming new book “The Conscious Catwoman Explains Life on Earth,” how she still stays looking so young and hot. And in her second upcoming book, “First Fantasy,” she explores how the feminine power of women influence men’s decisions starting with their first crush. As one of Hollywood hottest women, it’s something natural Julie would have experience in. And so when I had the opportunity to talk with the hottest Catwoman on the planet- Julie Newmar, I was understandably excited. But I had no idea what was in store for me. Read on…
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(c) 2011, The Hollywood Sentinel.