Julie Newmar

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Julie Newmar
Julie Newmar - 1965.jpg
Newmar in 1965
Born
Julia Chalene Newmeyer

(1933-08-16) August 16, 1933 (age 88)
Los Angeles, California
Occupation
  • Actress
  • dancer
  • singer
  • businesswoman
  • writer
Years active1952–present
Height5 ft 11 in (1.80 m)[1]
Spouse(s)
J. Holt Smith
(m. 1977; div. 1984)
Children1
AwardsInkpot Award (2014)[2]
Websitejulienewmar.com

Julie Newmar (born Julia Chalene Newmeyer, August 16, 1933) is an American actress, dancer, and singer, known for a variety of stage, screen, and television roles. She is also a writer, lingerie designer, and real-estate mogul. She won the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play for her role as Katrin Sveg in the 1958 Broadway production of The Marriage-Go-Round and reprised the role in the 1961 film version. In the 1960s, she starred for two seasons as Catwoman in the television series Batman (1966–1967). Her other stage credits include the Ziegfeld Follies in 1956, Lola in Damn Yankees! in 1961, and Irma in Irma la Douce in 1965 in regional productions.

Newmar appeared in the music video for George Michael's 1992 single "Too Funky" and had a cameo as herself in the 1995 film To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar. Her voice work includes the animated feature films Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders (2016) and Batman vs. Two-Face (2017), where she reprised her role as Catwoman 50 years after the original television series.

Early life[edit]

Newmar was born in Los Angeles, California on August 16, 1933,[3][4] as the eldest of three children born to Don and Helen (Jesmer) Newmeyer. Her father was head of the physical education department at Los Angeles City College and had played American football professionally in the 1920s with the 1926 Los Angeles Buccaneers of the National Football League. Her Swedish-French mother was a fashion designer who used Chalene as her professional name and later became a real-estate investor.[5]

Newmar has two younger brothers, Peter Bruce Newmeyer (born 1935)[6] and John A. Newmeyer (born 1942), a writer, epidemiologist, and winemaker.[7][8] She began dancing at an early age, and performed as a prima ballerina with the Los Angeles Opera beginning at age 15.[9]

Career[edit]

Early work[edit]

Newmar with Bob Cummings in My Living Doll (1964)

Newmar began appearing in bit parts and uncredited roles in films as a dancer, including a part as the "dancer-assassin" in Slaves of Babylon (1953) and the "gilded girl" in Serpent of the Nile (1953), in which she was clad in gold paint. She danced in several other films, including The Band Wagon (also 1953) and Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954). She also worked as a choreographer and dancer for Universal Studios beginning at age 19.[10][11] Her first major role, billed as Julie Newmeyer, was as Dorcas, one of the brides in Seven Brides for Seven Brothers (also 1954). Her three-minute Broadway appearance as the leggy Stupefyin' Jones in the musical Li'l Abner in 1956 led to a reprise in the film version released in 1959. She was also the female lead in a low-budget comedy, The Rookie (also 1959).[12]

Newmar had first appeared on Broadway in 1955 in Silk Stockings, which starred Hildegarde Neff and Don Ameche. She also appeared in the film, The Marriage-Go-Round (1961), which starred James Mason and Susan Hayward (Newmar had earlier developed the role of the Swedish vixen onstage and won a Tony Award for Best Supporting Actress for the Broadway version upon which the film was based). She later appeared on stage with Joel Grey in the national tour of Stop the World – I Want to Get Off and as Lola in Damn Yankees! and Irma in Irma La Douce.[12] and in Mackenna's Gold (1969).[13] She also appeared in a pictorial in the May 1968 issue of Playboy magazine, which featured Playmate Elizabeth Jordan.

Television work[edit]

Newmar as Catwoman (1966)

Newmar's fame stems mainly from her television appearances. Her statuesque form and height made her a larger-than-life sex symbol, most often cast as a temptress or Amazonian beauty, including an early appearance in sexy maid costume on The Phil Silvers Show. She starred as Rhoda the Robot on the television series My Living Doll (1964–1965), and is known for her recurring role on the 1960s television series Batman as the villainess Catwoman. (Lee Meriwether played Catwoman in the 1966 feature film and Eartha Kitt in the series' final season.) Newmar modified her Catwoman costume—now in the Smithsonian Institution—and placed the belt at the hips instead of the waist to emphasize her hourglass figure.[14]

In 1962, Newmar appeared twice as the motorcycle-riding, free-spirited heiress Vicki Russell on Route 66, filmed in Tucson ("How Much a Pound Is Albatross") and in Tennessee ("Give the Old Cat a Tender Mouse"). She guest-starred on The Twilight Zone as the devil in "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville", F Troop ("Yellow Bird" in 1966) as a girl kidnapped as a child and raised by Native Americans, Bewitched ("The Eight-Year Itch Witch" in 1971) as a cat named Ophelia given human form, The Beverly Hillbillies as a Swedish actress who stays with the Clampetts to learn their accents and mannerisms for a role, and Get Smart as a double agent assigned to Maxwell Smart's apartment posing as a maid. In 1967, she guest-starred as April Conquest in an episode of The Monkees ("Monkees Get Out More Dirt"), and was the pregnant Capellan princess, Eleen, in the Star Trek episode "Friday's Child". In 1969, she played a hit woman in the It Takes a Thief episode "The Funeral is on Mundy" with Robert Wagner. In 1983, she reprised the hit-woman role on Hart to Hart, Wagner's later television series, in the episode "A Change of Hart." In the 1970s, she had guest roles on Columbo and The Bionic Woman.[citation needed]

Later roles[edit]

Newmar attending Phoenix Comicon, 2014

Newmar appeared in several low-budget films during the next two decades. She guest-starred on TV, appearing on The Love Boat, Buck Rogers in the 25th Century, CHiPs, and Fantasy Island. She was seen in the music video for George Michael's "Too Funky" in 1992, and appeared as herself in a 1996 episode of Melrose Place.[citation needed]

In 2003, Newmar appeared as herself in the television movie Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt alongside former Batman co-stars Adam West, Burt Ward, Frank Gorshin, and Lee Meriwether.[15] Julia Rose played Newmar in flashbacks to the production of the television series.[16] However, due to longstanding rights issues over footage from the Batman TV series, only footage of Meriwether taken from the feature film was allowed to be used in the television movie.[17] In 2016, she provided the voice of Catwoman in the animated film Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders. In 2017, she reprised her role in the animated sequel Batman vs. Two-Face. Newmar also appeared on The Home and Family Show in May 2016, where she met Gotham actress Camren Bicondova who portrays a younger Selina Kyle.[18]

In 2019, Newmar played the role of Dr. Julia Hoffman (replacing the late Grayson Hall) in the audio drama miniseries, Dark Shadows: Bloodline.[19]

Inventor and entrepreneur[edit]

In the 1970s, Newmar received two U.S. patents for pantyhose[20] and one for a brassiere.[21] The pantyhose were described as having "cheeky derriere relief" and promoted under the name "Nudemar." The brassiere was described as "nearly invisible" and in the style of Marilyn Monroe.[22]

Newmar began investing in Los Angeles real estate in the 1980s. A women's magazine stated, "Newmar is partly responsible for improving the Los Angeles neighborhoods on La Brea Avenue and Fairfax Avenue near the Grove."[23]

Personal life[edit]

Newmar married J. Holt Smith, a lawyer, on August 5, 1977, and moved with him to Fort Worth, Texas, where she lived until their divorce in 1984.[1] She has one child, John Jewl Smith (born February 25, 1981), who has a hearing impairment and Down syndrome.[24]

Newmar has Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease, an inherited neurological condition that affects one in 2,500 Americans.[25]

A legal battle with her neighbor, actor Jim Belushi, ended amicably with an invitation to guest-star on his sitcom According to Jim in an episode ("The Grumpy Guy") that poked fun at the feud.[26]

An avid gardener, Newmar initiated at least a temporary ban on leaf blowers with the Los Angeles City Council.[27]

Newmar has been a vocal supporter of LGBT rights; her brother, John Newmeyer, is gay.[9] In 2013, she was awarded a lifetime achievement award from the Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing organization in Los Angeles.[9]

In popular culture[edit]

In 2012, Bluewater Comics released a four-issue comic miniseries titled The Secret Lives of Julie Newmar.[28]

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1952 She's Working Her Way Through College Julie Uncredited
1952 Just for You Chorine Uncredited
1953 The I Don't Care Girl Beale Street Blues Dancer Uncredited
1953 Call Me Madam Ocarna Dancer Uncredited
1953 Serpent of the Nile Gilded Girl
1953 The Farmer Takes a Wife Dancer Uncredited
1953 Gentlemen Prefer Blondes Chorus Girl Uncredited
1953 The Band Wagon Salon Model / Chorine in Girl Hunt Ballet Uncredited
1953 Slaves of Babylon Dancer-Assassin
1953 The Eddie Cantor Story Showgirl Uncredited
1954 Demetrius and the Gladiators Primary Specialty Dancer Uncredited
1954 Seven Brides for Seven Brothers Dorcas Gaylen
1954 Deep in My Heart Vamp Uncredited
1959 Li'l Abner Stupefyin' Jones
1959 The Rookie Lili Marlene
1961 The Marriage-Go-Round Katrin Sveg Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer
1963 For Love or Money Bonnie Brasher
1969 Mackenna's Gold Hesh-Ke
1969 The Maltese Bippy Carlotta Ravenswood
1970 Seduction of a Nerd Mother Ferns Also known as Up Your Teddy Bear
1971 The Feminist and the Fuzz Lilah McGuinness Television film
1972 A Very Missing Person Aleatha Westering Television film
1974 Fools, Females and Fun Carla Dean Television film
1977 Terraces Chalane Turner Television film
1983 Hysterical Venetia
1984 Love Scenes Belinda
1985 Streetwalkin' Queen Bee
1985 Evils of the Night Dr. Zarma
1988 Deep Space Lady Elaine Wentworth
1988 Body Beat Miss McKenzie Also known as Dance Academy
1989 Ghosts Can't Do It Angel Nominated – Razzie for Worst Supporting Actress
1990 Nudity Required Irina
1994 Oblivion Miss Kitty
1995 To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar Herself
1996 Oblivion 2: Backlash Miss Kitty
1999 If... Dog... Rabbit... Judy's Mother
2003 Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt Herself/Arizona Bar Owner Television film
2010 Beautiful Darling Herself Documentary
2012 Bettie Page Reveals All Herself Documentary
2012 The Mechanical Bride Herself, narrator Documentary
2013 Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age Herself Documentary
2016 Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders Catwoman
(voice)
2017 Batman vs. Two-Face Catwoman
(voice)

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1957 The Phil Silvers Show Suzie Episode: "The Big Scandal"
1959 Omnibus Episode: "Malice in Wonderland"
1960 Adventures in Paradise Venus Episode: "Open for Diving"
1961 The Defenders Brandy Gideon Morfoot Episode: "Gideon's Follies"
1962 Route 66 Vicki Russell 2 episodes
1963 The Twilight Zone Miss Devlin Episode: "Of Late I Think of Cliffordville"
1963 The Danny Kaye Show Herself Episode: "1.12"
1964 The Greatest Show on Earth Willa Harper Episode: "Of Blood, Sawdust, and a Bucket of Tears"
1964–1965 My Living Doll Rhoda Miller Nominated – Golden Globe Award for Best TV Star – Female
1965 Vacation Playhouse Kris Meeker Episode: "Three on an Island"
1966–1967 Batman Catwoman/Minerva Matthews 13 episodes
1966 The Beverly Hillbillies Ulla Bergstrom Episode: "The Beautiful Maid"
1966 F Troop Cinthia Jeffries/Yellow Bird Episode: "Yellow Bird"
1967 The Monkees April Conquest Episode: Monkees Get Out More Dirt
1967 Star Trek: The Original Series Eleen Episode: "Friday's Child"
1968 Get Smart Ingrid Episode: "The Laser Blazer"
1969 It Takes a Thief Susannah Sutton Episode: "The Funeral is on Mundy"
1970 McCloud Adrienne Redman Episode: "Portrait of a Dead Girl"
1970–1972 Love, American Style Various 4 episodes
1971 NBC Children's Theatre Herself Episode: "Super Plastic Elastic Goggles"
1971 Bewitched Ophelia Episode: "The Eight Year Itch Witch"
1973 Columbo Lisa Chambers Episode: "Double Shock"
1975 The Wide World of Mystery Episode: "The Black Box Murders"
1975 McMillan & Wife Luciana Amaldi Episode: "Aftershock"
1976 The Bionic Woman Claudette Episode: "Black Magic"
1976 Monster Squad Ultra Witch Episode: "Ultra Witch"
1978 Jason of Star Command Queen Vanessa 2 episodes
1979 The Love Boat Marla Samms Episode: "The Reunion/Haven't I Seen You?/Crew Confessions"
1980 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Zarina 2 episodes
1982 The Powers of Matthew Star Nian Episode: "The Triangle"
1982 CHiPs Cora Dwayne Episode: "This Year's Riot"
1983 Fantasy Island Doralee Episode: "King of Burlesque/Death Games"
1983 Hart to Hart Eve Episode: "A Change of Heart"
1984 High School U.S.A. Stripper TV pilot
1985 Half Nelson Herself Episode: "The Deadly Vase"
1995 Hope & Gloria Herself Episode: "Whose Poppa?
1996 Melrose Place Herself Episode: "Triumph of the Bill"
1998 Maggie Catwoman Episode: "If You Could See What I Hear"
2006 According to Jim Julie Episode: "The Grumpy Guy"
2010 Batman: The Brave and the Bold Martha Wayne Episode: "Chill of the Night!"

Stage credits[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b Demaret, Kent (September 12, 1977). "At 42, Julie Newmar Takes Her First Husband, and a Texas Lawyer Gets His Own Living Doll". People. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  2. ^ Inkpot Award
  3. ^ Brode, Douglas (2016). Deadlier Than the Male: Femme Fatales in 1960s and 1970s Cinema. BearManor Media. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  4. ^ Blum, Daniel C. (2006). Screen World. Crown Publishers. p. 369. Retrieved March 1, 2022.
  5. ^ Min, Janice (October 16, 1995). "Feline Groovy". People. Archived from the original on March 27, 2019. Retrieved December 26, 2016.
  6. ^ 1940 United States Federal Census for Los Angeles County, California, accessed on ancestry.com on January 26, 2013
  7. ^ Newmeyer family genealogy site, newmeyer.com; accessed October 10, 2014.
  8. ^ Strider, Chris (2000). Swingin' Chicks of the '60s. Cedco Press. p. 171. ISBN 978-0-768-32232-3.
  9. ^ a b c Huqueriza, Chris (January 15, 2013). "Julie Newmar, Original Catwoman, Receives LGBT Award". South Florida Gay News. Retrieved June 1, 2017.
  10. ^ "Julie Newmar". Biography.com. The Biography Channel. Archived from the original on April 14, 2019. Retrieved June 2, 2017.
  11. ^ "Bruce Edwin Interview Julie Newmar". The Hollywood Sentinel. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  12. ^ a b Julie Newmar at the Internet Broadway Database
  13. ^ Thomas, Nick (August 4, 2016). "Julie Newmar on aging beautifully". The Spectrum. USA Networks. Retrieved May 31, 2017.
  14. ^ Moore, Booth (January 24, 2011). "Catching up with the original Catwoman, Julie Newmar". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved November 24, 2016.
  15. ^ "Return To The Batcave". www.cbsnews.com. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  16. ^ "Julie Newmar and Batman Comments: Original Catwoman Sounds Off". www.christianpost.com. July 29, 2012. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  17. ^ Nolasco, Stephanie (January 9, 2018). "Catwoman Lee Meriwether recalls steamy on-set kiss with 'Batman' star Adam West". Fox News. Retrieved August 8, 2019.
  18. ^ "TV's Catwoman Camren Bicondova & Julie Newmar – Home & Family". The Hallmark Channel. Retrieved May 30, 2017.
  19. ^ "Julie Newmar joins Dark Shadows - News - Big Finish".
  20. ^ US 3914799, Julie Newmar, "Pantyhose with shaping band for cheeky derriere relief", issued 1975-10-28 
    US 4003094, Julie Newmar, "Pantyhose with shaping band for cheeky derrier relief", issued 1977-01-18 
  21. ^ US 3935865, Julie Newmar, "Brassiere", issued 1976-02-03 
  22. ^ "Junoesque Julie Newmar Wins a Patent on a New Kind of Pantyhose". People Weekly. 7 (6): 76. February 14, 1977.
  23. ^ "Holy Catsuit! To the Original Catwoman, Her Son is the Cat's Meow", womenswallstreet.com; accessed October 10, 2014. Archived November 11, 2006, at the Wayback Machine
  24. ^ After Catwoman: Julie Newmar's Many Lives, womensissues.about.com; accessed October 1, 2014.
  25. ^ Dador, Denise (May 14, 2010). "Actress shares her story about having CMT". ABC7 Los Angeles. Retrieved August 19, 2015.
  26. ^ "Belushi, Newmar end years-long feud". UPI. February 3, 2006. Retrieved September 30, 2021.
  27. ^ Gumbel, Peter (December 3, 1997). "Actress Julie Newmar and Others Struggle With Noisy Leaf Blowers". The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved January 18, 2009.
  28. ^ Shapiro, Marc (2013). The Secret Lives of Julie Newmar. Bluewater Productions. ISBN 978-1-467-51620-4.

External links[edit]

Batman role
1st Catwoman actress
1966
Succeeded by
Preceded by
Lee Meriwether
Catwoman actress
1967
Succeeded by