Julie Newmar

"I still get fan letters from guys who tell me I made a big impression on them," says Newmar, the original Catwoman on TV's Batman (1966-68). "Then they say how old they were at the time: 11 years old, 8 years old. Sometimes it drops to 5. And they often say something like, 'You were my first inspiration for knowing that women were going to be a great trip in life.'"

She didn't realize until the movie To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar was made in 1995 how trippy some of those young men's lives could be. "How was I supposed to know I was a sort of patron saint for drag queens?" she says. "Why me?"

Perhaps the attraction is that Newmar is a queen of camp. "I always did have a sense of fun about my sexuality," she admits.

Even though her career includes Broadway (Li'l Abner and Marriage-Go-Round in the 1950s), film (Seven Brides for Seven Brothers, 1954), and many TV roles, Catwoman and her skin-tight leather outfit is the outstanding image
for most fans.

Born Julia Chalane Newmeyer, she is the daughter of an engineering professor and a former Ziegfeld girl. So maybe, she jokes, her vital statistics-a 38-23-38 figure and a 135 IQ-were genetic. Newmar, now 65, acts on occasion if the role amuses her, such as in the recently completed If...Dog...Rabbit, a film directed by Matthew Modine. But her priorities are her Los Angeles-based real-estate business and her 17-year-old son.

"How I think of myself is as a kind of producer, but I don't make films," she says. "I find people who are creative, and they become my tenants. I now have the finest cake-maker in all of Southern California, the finest interior designer. I have some of the best screenwriters and photographers living in my buildings. I have a wonderful restaurant. I've started art galleries. It satisfies my creative side, even though I'm behind the scenes."


Additional Gallery

See also Catwoman Gallery