Julie Newmar’s Catwoman Lives On

Julie Newmar was the very first Catwoman, so it comes as no surprise, given Anne Hathaway‘s role as Catwoman in the new Batman movie The Dark Knight Rises, that the two are being compared.

NorthJersey.com reports that Newmar, who was the first to play Selina Kyle (aka Catwoman) in an onscreen adaptation of the Batman comic book series, made her debut in the 1960s. She plays the on-again, off-again love interest of superhero Batman, who just so happens to be his arch-nemesis.

Newmar’s portrayal of the cat burglar, with her almost unreal hourglass figure, has fans sending her mail 50 years later. She confesses that most of the mail has been “particularly from boys who say, ‘You made me realize I was a boy!’ ”

Julie Newmar was a Broadway veteran before her role in the 1960s Batman series. She appeared in “The Marriage-Go-Round,” where she won a Tony Award, and also in “Li’l Abner,” where she played Stupefyin’ Jones both on the stage and the screen versions. Newman, who stands at 5-foot-11, had a perfect hourglass figure (38-23-38), and must have been an obvious choice for creators of the TV series when they were casting their Batman series.

For Newmar, however, she didn’t know what to think when offered the role. In a 2002 interview, the now 78-year-old actress recalled:

“Actually…when the call came, I said, ‘Batman? What’s that?’ But my brother John leaped off the couch and said, ‘Do it!’ “

Julie Newmar Catwoman

The actress was an instant hit, and it appears that her latest successor, Anne Hathaway, is the same way. Hathaway, who stars opposite Christian Bale in the recently released film “The Dark Rises,” has said that she took her new role very seriously. She reportedly didn’t even want to put on the costume until she completely understood her interpretation of the Catwoman character. When she finally donned the clingy black leather suit, Hathaway stated:

“The first time I was in it… I just got a chill. I remember thinking, ‘This is going to be extraordinary.’ “

And while Julie Newmar’s portrayal of Selena Kyle was comic book-perfect, it seems that fans like Kelsea Stahler, writer for Hollywood.com, believe that Anne Hathaway’s portrayal could relate better to the modern-day woman. Stahler wrote:

“Hathaway’s Kyle is no picnic. And she’s certainly no role model. She is, however, a woman that most contemporary audiences can truly relate to and understand. On one hand, she spends her time using men as playthings in her scheme to better her life. But on the other, she sees her role as almost modern day, feminist Robin Hood.”

Anne Hathaway

Do you remember watching Julie Newmar’s iconic portrayal of Catwoman in the 1960s Batman TV series?

Check out the video below to see Julie Newmar playing Catwoman: