This Friday, August 16th, celebrated actress, pin-up model, and comic book icon Julie Newmar will celebrate her 80th birthday.
For many Newmar is best known as Catwoman, the feline femme fatale in the 1960s TV series Batman. Amidst a myriad of cartoon Pows!, Kabooms! and a few holy outcries from Robin, Newmar made Selina Kyle an on-screen sensation. And while she may be famous for the whiskery portrayal, there’s much more to her beyond the leather jumpsuit and mask.
Newmar started off her career in entertainment as a prima ballerina for the LA Opera at 15. As her dance career skyrocketed so did her value; her legs carried with them a $10 million insurance policy (excluding theft). She became the inspiration for designer Thierry Mugler’s couture collection in Paris and the 1995 film To Wong Foo Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar, which featured Wesley Snipes, John Leguizamo and Patrick Swayze as three drag queens on their way to the Drag Queen of America pageant. Newmar appeared as the pageant’s judge.
Nowadays she continues her love for fashion by holding three U.S. patents in womenswear. She also runs her own real estate business and is a staunch advocate for LGBT rights.
When asked recently about how she feels about her 80th birthday, she replied “I have to see what it feels like. Is it sparkly? Is it heavy? Do I have to hide it? We’ll see. Maybe show up in my birthday suit? Which one? There’s so many to choose from.”