Catwoman Actresses, from Julie Newmar to Zoë Kravitz

They say cats have nine lives, but who’s counting? Not Selina Kyle, that’s for sure. Catwoman has remained the world’s best thief since her first appearance in DC Comics’ Batman #1 (1940). She’s stolen priceless gems, dangerous artifacts, and even Batman’s heart. That last one is arguably her best heist yet.

Are you familiar with the various on-screen lives of Gotham’s infamous cat burglar? Get to know all of her ferocious live-action portrayals below.

Julie Newmar, Lee Meriwether, and Eartha Kitt

1960s TV

Catwoman’s first on-screen portrayals were playful and slightly over the top. As is always the case, the chemistry between Batman and Catwoman is the focal point of their interactions. In the span of 30 seconds, Catwoman can convince Batman to give it all up and sweep her off her feet, only to let slip that she’d do away with boring Robin — reminding the hero that this feline figure is not to be trusted.

While the Catwoman of the comics originally appeared in a green cape and purple dress, the TV Catwoman of the 1960s established the tradition of a black leather bodysuit with cat ears up top. Julie Newmar was the Catwoman of season 1 and 2 of the show, with Lee Meriwether filling in for the television movie. Later, in season 3, Eartha Kitt gave new life to the role with well-placed purrs, hisses, and cackles.

Michelle Pfeiffer

Batman Returns (1992)

Slinky, seductive, and absolutely lethal. Michelle Pfeiffer’s Catwoman took the flirty charisma of the 1960s versions to a whole new level. Her Catwoman, clad in the iconic stitched leather catsuit, personifies the way this woman ties the line between adversary and ally. The gothic aesthetic of Tim Burton’s Batman Returns provided the perfect backdrop for Selina to lurk in the shadows and leap across rooftops. Her claws are as sharp as her whip, and she can hold her own against a world designed for greedy men.

Halle Berry

Catwoman (2004)

The infamous non-Selina Kyle Catwoman is definitely a departure from the character’s regular history — in fact, she’s even named Patience Phillips. In this film, Catwoman is a title held by a long line of feline-empowered individuals. Many of the mystical aspects of the character’s background are emphasized and the result is a Catwoman who is more super-powered than most versions before her. The meek-woman-turned-femme-fatale trope is still there, as are the cat puns and cat mask, but few other similarities remain between this film and official DC portrayals.

Camren Bicondova

Gotham (2014-2019)

For once, Catwoman is not overly sexualized in this television adaption of Selina Kyle from the Gotham series. We see her as a street urchin who lives on the outskirts of society and develops a close bond with Pamela Isley. Throughout the course of the show, she develops an emotional resonance and common ground with Bruce Wayne. It’s an interesting concept to see this iconic pair as younger people when their identities are still forming.

Anne Hathaway

The Dark Knight Rises (2012)

Anne Hathaway’s Selina Kyle is one of the more nuanced, and powerful, portrayals of Catwoman. Her Catwoman always knew that people would underestimate her as one of the few women around, and she used this to her advantage. When dealing with a corrupt businessman, Selina built multiple failsafes into her plan and effortlessly escapes a double-crossing. Every job she took on was meticulously planned. In this version, she was truly the queen of criminals. Hathaway’s deadpan delivery also kept Catwoman’s signature wit intact and she employed sensuality over sexuality to gain the upper hand with Bruce Wayne — before earning his trust as Batman’s ally.

Zoë Kravitz

The Batman (2022)

As the newest portrayal of Selina Kyle, Zoë Kravitz adds her own sense of intrigue to the role. The Catwoman from The Batman is a woman who doesn’t flinch from Batman’s darkness — instead, she urges his vengeance since she “has a thing about strays.” This Selina taps into the feral, unpredictable yet protective side of Catwoman. Alfred asks Bruce whether this woman is a new friend, and with absolute honesty Bruce replies he’s not sure. It’s that ambiguity of morals and a disregard for the rules that always leaves the Bat returning to the Cat.

Throughout her many live-action versions, Catwoman has never been afraid to lie, cheat the system, and steal. But that’s part of her charm, after all.

Which Catwoman is your favorite? Will you be looking to purr-loin any Catwoman art prints for your collection? Let us know in the comments and don’t forget to Let Your Geek Sideshow!