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EARTHA KITT (Yzma) "wants to be evil" and infuses this duplicitous diva with just the right combination of nastiness and glamour. The legendary performer is nothing less than a household name, with an enduring career that has spanned theater, film, cabaret, television, and the recording industry. An international superstar, she is one of a handful of performers to be nominated for three Tony Awards, two Emmy Awards, and two Grammy Awards.

"I love Yzma," enthuses Kitt. "She is wicked but always with her tongue firmly planted in her cheek. Playing the villainess is much more fun than playing the good guy. The film itself is really hysterical and I look at the scenes and think, ‘How'd they do it? How'd they write it and draw it?' I really am amazed. I'm beautifully amazed."

"I think Yzma is one of those people who feels that she's entitled to everything that she's entitled to," adds the actress. "She is very glamorous and she must have been very beautiful in her day. Her humor is hysterical, even though it's biting all the time. She's very much like me in that way because my humor depends on what I get from those around me.

"Yzma has a tendency to be a user of men and a lot of us girls in one way or another like to have the man carry us on their backs. So grrrrr to that, if you can succeed in it. Kronk isn't the smartest guy in the kingdom, but I don't think Yzma would really want that. He frustrates her to such an extent and it's so very funny. I really am happily elated with the way this film has come together. It is so funny and humane and beautiful. I came out of the film feeling like I did when I was a kid. I think Disney equalizes, to a great extent, whatever Hollywood is doing. This is one of their best stories and I am glad to be a part of it. As a mother and a grandmother, I am always concerned about how we are affecting children through television and the movies and this is a very healthy piece of entertainment."

Born on a cotton plantation in South Carolina, Kitt learned early to overcome the problems brought on by poverty, prejudice, and familial indifference. After being given away by her mother in the South, she went to live with an aunt in Harlem at the age of eight. It was in New York that she manifested her distinct individuality and flair for show business.

At the urging of a friend, the young Kitt auditioned for and was awarded a position as a featured dancer and vocalist with the famed Katherine Dunham Dance Troupe. While performing in Paris with the troupe, Kitt was spotted by a nightclub owner who enthusiastically signed her for her first cabaret performance. This led to one admirer, Orson Welles, casting her to star by his side as Helen of Troy in his production of "Dr. Faust" in Paris. There, Welles called her "the most exciting woman in the world."

Kitt's return to America led to starring roles on Broadway. She appeared in "New Faces of 1952" on Broadway, where her performance of "Monotonous" stopped the show for a year and became legendary. Kitt was soon recording such hits as "Love For Sale," "St. Louis Blues," the Grammy-nominated "Folk Tales of the Tribes of Africa," and favorites "C'est Si Bon" and "Santa Baby." Back on Broadway, Kitt's resume includes such varied work as "Shinbone Alley," "The Skin of Our Teeth," "The Owl and the Pussycat," and Tony-nominated turns in the dramatic play "Mrs. Patterson" and the m

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