Who is Julie Newmar?
Julie Newmar is an American actress, singer, dancer, lingerie designer, and real-estate tycoon. She gained pop-culture icon status for her portrayal of Catwoman in the original TV series ‘Batman’. She was widely considered as one of the biggest sex-symbols during throughout her career. This was not only for her curves, but also for the sensual and alluring characters she portrayed. Some of Newmar’s best-known movies are ‘The Marriage-Go-Round’, ‘Mackenna's Gold’, ‘Ghosts Can't Do It’, ‘Cyber-C.H.I.C.’, and ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar’. Her accomplishments on TV sometimes outshine her achievements in movies. These include roles in series like ‘Route 66’, ‘My Living Doll’, ‘Star Trek: The Original Series’, ‘Love, American Style’, and ‘According to Jim’. If that wasn’t enough, the accomplished ballerina was a prolific presence on stage as well. ‘Silk Stockings’, ‘Li'l Abner’, ‘Irma La Douce’, and ‘Once There Was a Russian’ are some of her best plays. Julie Newmar has also been a successful designer-entrepreneur, inventing the ‘Nudemar’ pantyhose, shaping pantyhose, and a near-invisible brassiere. She is also a force in the real estate business in Los Angeles.
Childhood & Early Life
Julie Newmar was born Julia Chalene Newmeyer on August 16, 1933, in Los Angeles, California, to Donald Newmeyer and Helen Jesmer Newmeyer. She has two brothers, Peter Bruce Newmeyer and John A. Newmeyer.
She studied ballet and classical piano, and later performed for the ‘Los Angeles Opera’ as a prima ballerina. She graduated from ‘John Marshall High School’ at the age of 15 and then joined the UCLA. But she quit after six weeks and joined ‘Universal Studios’ as a choreographer and dancer.
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While working at ‘Universal Studios’ Julie Newmar made uncredited appearances in the movies ‘She’s Working Her Way Through College’ (1952) and ‘Call Me Madam’ (1953).
She made her first credited appearance under the name Julie Newmeyer as ‘the gilded girl’ in the movie ‘Serpent of the Nile’ (1953). The small role of her dancing completely painted in gold wearing next to nothing turned her into a sex symbol.
She was then seen in the movie ‘Seven Brides for Seven Brothers’ (1954). Julie also made her Broadway debut as Vera in the musical ‘Silk Stockings’ (February 24, 1955 - April 14, 1956).
She made another Broadway appearance as Stupefyin’ Jones in ‘Li’L Abner’ (November 15, 1956 - July 12, 1958). Julie Newmar returned to Broadway in her award-winning role of Katrin Sveg in ‘The Marriage-Go-Round’ (October 29, 1958 - February 13, 1960).
In 1959, Newmar received her first major movie role when she reprised her Jones character in the movie adaptation of ‘Li’l Abner’. She later reprised her role of Katrin Sveg in the movie ‘The Marriage-Go-Round’ (1961).
In 1961, she made her last Broadway appearance as Sura in ‘Once There Was a Russian’ (February 18, 1961). She also earned critical acclaim for her performance in the musical ‘Stop The World I Want To Get Off’ (May 13, 1963).
Perhaps, one of Julie Newmar’s biggest breakthrough roles was as the android Rhoda Miller, in the sitcom ‘My Living Doll’ (1964–1965). The Amazonian-sensuous character won her a ‘Golden Globe’ nomination and solidified her status as a star.
Julie then landed the iconic role of the Catwoman in the ‘Batman’ TV series (1966- 1967). She reprised the role as a voice actor in ‘Batman: Return of the Caped Crusaders’ (2016) and ‘Batman vs. Two-Face’ (2017).
In 1969, she appeared in the hit movie ‘Mackenna's Gold’. In the next few years, some of her notable roles were in TV series. These included ‘Bewitched’ (1971), ‘Love, American Style’ (1970 – 1972), and ‘CHiPs’ (1982), etc.
She returned to movies with ‘Hysterical’ (1983), ‘Dance Academy’ (1988), and ‘Ghosts Can't Do It’ (1990). In 1995, she appeared as herself in the hit comedy ‘To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything! Julie Newmar’.
In 2003, she portrayed herself in the biographical-comedy movie ‘Return to the Batcave: The Misadventures of Adam and Burt’. In more recent years she has been featured in documentaries like ‘Beautiful Darling’ (2010), ‘Bettie Page Reveals All’ (2012), and ‘Broadway: Beyond the Golden Age’ (2013).
Julie Newmar is revered for her ‘Tony Award’ winning performance as Katrin Sveg in the Broadway adaptation of ‘The Marriage-Go-Round’ (1958). Reprising the role later in the movie adaptation in 1961, she earned a ‘Golden Globe’ nomination.
Julie is most remembered for her iconic portrayal of Catwoman in the ‘Batman’ TV series (1966–1967). It immortalized her legacy as pop-culture sex-icon and she was featured in the May 1968 issue of ‘Playboy’.
Awards & Achievements
Julie Newmar has been an advocate for LGBT rights. Her brother John is gay. For her contributions, she was honored with the ‘Lifetime Achievement Award’ by the ‘Gay and Lesbian Elder Housing’ organization in 2013.
Family & Personal Life
Julie Newmar married lawyer J. Holt Smith on August 5, 1977. They remained married until 1983. They have a son together named John Jewl Smith (born February 21 (25), 1981, who suffers from Down syndrome. Julie herself suffers from the incurable Charcot–Marie–Tooth disease.
She had a bitter legal battle with her neighbor Jim Belushi over the size of their shared fence. The battle ended happily when she guest-starred in Jim’s show ‘According to Jim’. The episode entitled ‘The Grumpy Guy’ (February 28, 2006) poked fun at the feud.