Wednesday, September 24, 2014

Catwoman actress Julie Newmar entertains Cincinnati Comic Expo crowd

CINCINNATI — Julie Newmar is best known for her purr-fect portrayal of the flirty, femme fatale Catwoman on the late 1960s "Batman" TV series.

Newmar's Catwoman knew how to tantalize Adam West's Caped Crusader. She exuded sex appeal as she slinked around in a skin-tight catsuit and got a, um, rise, out of Batman. And plenty of hot-blooded males across the world, but I digress …!

Even now at the age of 80, Newmar knows how to work a crowd. And that's exactly what she did during her Q&A session at the Cincinnati Comic Expo.

"They're all nuts," she said about the fans dressed in costumes.

Catwoman actress Julie Newmar shares stories and memories
during a Q&A session at the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo.
The lively actress wasn't afraid to flirt with a "henchman," whom she kept seated directly next to her as she sat on the front of the table. Newmar often put her hand on his right thigh and told him not to go anywhere. The two sat just inches away from each other. Another henchman stood on other side of the table near the modertaor.

Fittingly, the men were dressed as Catwoman's henchmen — complete with the all black outfits seen on "Batman" and a T-shirt proclaiming "henchman" in all capital letters.

At one point, an adult male fan volunteered to take the henchman's place. Instead, Newmar suggested he simply join them on the table.

Newmar flirted with another male fan when he stepped up to the microphone to ask her a question.

"What have you got in your pocket there? Are you happy to see me?," she said, again getting big laughs from the crowd.

Newmar kept the crowd entertained with anecdotes of her iconic role on "Batman." When asked about what she thought about the script when she first saw it, she simply said it was "brilliant."

Actress Julie Newmar, 80, speaks to fans from her booth
at the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo.
One of her favorite memories from the show was playing a faux dance instructor so Catwoman could have a dance lesson with Burt Ward's Dick Grayson in Wayne Manor. Newmar, who has dance experience, shared how she had to act very clumsy.

Naturally, a fan asked Newmar her thoughts on West and Ward.

"They're pretty naughty," she said, pretending to be shocked and scandalized at their infamous off-screen exploits the pair shared in their autobiographies.

About Ward, she said: "Don't believe him." "Adam — he's OK," Newmar quickly added.

The elderly actress shared her thoughts on the late Robin Williams, whom she said was one of the most clever and creative actors she knew.

"He'd never do the same scene twice," Newmar said. "He had the most excqusite manners."

A fan asked her about being reuniting with West briefly when she voiced Martha Wayne, Bruce Wayne's mother, in an episode of "Batman: The Brave and the Bold." Newmar voiced Martha Wayne in the 2010 episode "Chill of the Night" while West handled the vocals of her husband, Thomas.

"It was lovely and we were all in the room together," she said.

As flamboyant as she was with the comic-con crowd, Newmar was gracious with each fan. She thanked each individual for asking her questions and coming to the 45-minute Q&A session.

Fans dressed as Harley Quinn (from left), Black Mask, The Joker
and Poison Ivy pose for pictures outside the ballroom where
Catwoman actress Julie Newmar held a Q&A session.
At the end, Newmar waved to the crowd and again thanked fans for being there. As she had done as Catwoman, the actress charismatically opened her arms for the two henchmen to carry her away. Newmar continued waving to the crowd and blowing kisses as one of the men carried her off the stage.

A few minutes later, I was taking pictures of four cosplayers dressed as members of Batman's Rogues Gallery of Villains: The Joker, Harley Quinn, Black Mask and Poison Ivy.

Coming down the hallway was Newmar in her motorized wheelchair. The scene couldn't have been framed any better: A convention volunteer walked backwards in front of the actress as she spoke to her. On either side of Newmar were the two henchman — almost as if the configuration were planned.

Newmar puttered several feet away from me. I thanked her for what she had shared. Ever the professional, Newmar gave me a quick smile, waved and said thank you. And off she went — the henchmen "guarding" history's greatest Catwoman.

For more of my coverage of the 2014 Cincinnati Comic Expo (Sept. 19-21), keep checking CCC.

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