WAMG Interview: Kitten Natividad – Russ Meyer’s Ultra Vixen!
Buxom beauty Kitten Natividad is known to movie buffs as the last of Russ Meyer’s busty starlets, having starred in the cult director’s final two films. Kitten’s untamed beauty, personal charm, sex appeal , and cartoonish 44-25-35 dimensions has left her image imprinted on the mind of many a young man who saw her in the Meyer films or her cameos in such mainstream fare as MY TUTOR (1983) and THE WILD LIFE (1984). Kitten was also Meyer’s girlfriend the last fifteen years of his life and she appeared as a stripper at the bachelor party held by Sean Penn to celebrate his 1985 marriage to Madonna.
Francesca Natividad was born in 1948 in Juarez, Mexico, one of nine children. Her family moved to El Paso, Texas, when Kitten was 10 after her mom married a man from there. In 1969 she began stripping and got her first breast implants in Mexico when she was 21. Her stage name Kitten came from her shyness when she first began appearing on stage. In 1973 she won Miss Nude Universe and caught the eye of Meyer, who hired her to costar and narrate his film UP (1976) here she was shown sitting nude in a tree quoting the poetry of Hilda Doolittle and acting as a Greek chorus to the perverted action. Kitten got her second implants right before starring in BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRA VIXENS (1979) and her breasts ballooned up to a 44DD. In 1999 Kitten had a double mastectomy due to breast cancer. After her breasts were removed, it was discovered that the silicone used in her implants was of an industrial grade. She has since had corrective surgery and is back to the size that her fans remember her being. In 2001 she appeared in the spoof THE DOUBLE-D AVENGER with fellow Russ Meyer girls Tura Satana and Haji. Her last film SUGAR BOXX, also costarred Tura. Currently Kitten runs her fan site Kitten Klub.
Kitten’s St. Louis area fans will be happy to learn that she has just been announced as a guest at Contamination, the Horror, Sci-Fi, and Pop-Culture Convention that will take place June 15-17 at The Renaissance St. Louis Airport Hotel. For more details about Contamination, visit their website HERE.
We Are Movie Geeks caught up with Kitten recently at the Cinema Wasteland Convention in Cleveland. She looked fantastic and was nice enough to sit down and answer a few questions.
Interview conducted by Tom Stockman April 1st 2012
We Are Movie Geeks: How did you get your start in showbiz?
Kitten Natividad: I started off as a Go- Go dancer. Then, because I was a Go-Go dancer, I became a stripper, and in Hollywood in 1971 they were going to film a scene at the nightclub where I was working for the movie THE NEW CENTURIONS with George C. Scott and they asked me to be one of the dancers and so that was my start. Yippee!
WAMG: What were you doing before you went to Hollywood?
KN: My career started very young, right out of High School. I was 19 years old so I didn’t really do anything before that except a brief job as a sales girl at the May Company.
WAMG: I heard a story that you were Stella Stevens housekeeper at one time?
KN: This was on my High School summer vacation. I would come to L.A. from El Paso Texas and my uncle was a janitor at a nightclub where Stella’s boyfriend worked and she need a babsitter/maid and it was only until I went back to school.
WAMG: Did Stella Stevens have some connections that helped you get started in your career?
KN: No, not really.
WAMG: Are you still friends with Stella Stevens?
KN: No although I saw her not long ago at a convention. She looked great! But I didn’t want to bother her by going up and talking to her. She was very busy.
WAMG: How did you meet Russ Meyer?
KN: At a nightclub. One of the girls brought him in to case me out, to see if I could be in his films. He took a look at me and said “absolutely”!
WAMG: What was the name of that nightclub?
KN: The Classic Cat on Sunset Boulevard
WAMG: Is that a club Russ hung out at a lot to discover his busty starlets?
KN: No, but a lot of the girls that worked in his films danced there. In Hollywood, you’d get bored with one club, so you’d move on to another. A lot of girls told Russ about me and that he just had to see me and that he’d love me.
WAMG: And then you lived with Russ Meyer for many years. Were you two together until his death?
KN: I didn’t live with him. He always came and stayed with me. His house was not livable. His house was – he’s a man and it was like a warehouse, no furniture, just cases and cases and boxes and junk. We lived together on and off and I took care of him in his old age when he had Alzheimers. It was very sad and he gave it a really strong fight.
WAMG: What was Russ Meyer like on the set of his films as opposed to the way he was at home?
KN: At home he was always Russ, always the control freak, always the director, always the tyrant. And then there were mood swings where he would be so sweet and wonderful and generous. But Russ was Russ, behind or in front or without the camera.
WAMG: Why did Roger Ebert use an alias when he wrote the Russ Meyer film UP?
KN: Because he had just earned the Nobel Peace Prize.
WAMG: I believe it was the Pulitzer Prize that he won.
KN: Oh, you’re right, God, it’s morning (laughs)! He had just won that prize and didn’t want to be associated with the sex films at that point. He didn’t want people to judge him on how kinky it was.
WAMG: Did Ebert write BENEATH THE VALLEY OF THE ULTRAVIXENS as well?
WAMG: Did you meet him?
KN: Of course. I loved him. He was very jovial. He and Russ would talk and try to do outdo each other with new words and definitions. Both men were very intelligent.
WAMG: Kitten, how did you end up as the star of both R and X rated videos?
KN: I did eventually do hardcore sex movies. They would ask me and offered me a whole lot money. And I said why not, everybody watches hardcore movies so I might as well get in on it.
WAMG: Is it true you appeared on The Gong Show?
KN: Yes, I did. It was a lot of fun. I played the upstairs maid and I took everything off down to a body stocking and Chuck Barris loved it.
WAMG: What was he like?
Oh, he was fun, easygoing. He was on top of the world. He looked it and he felt it.
WAMG: Do you enjoy doing these types of conventions?
KN: Yes, I do?
WAMG: What’s the most unusual thing anyone has asked you to do?
KN: I guess it was when some guy asked me sign his toilet seat (laughs)
WAMG: That’s kinda weird
KN: No kidding!
WAMG: If they were to film the Russ Meyer biography that Jimmy McDonough wrote (Big Bosoms and Square Jaws, the Biography of Russ Meyer), who would you like to see play Kitten Natividad?
KN: Gee, I haven’t thought of that. I guess somebody who’s very vivacious and Latina.
WAMG: What’s next for Kitten Natividad?
KN: Right now I’m just a hardworking landlady which is my second career which I love and I’m doing my coffee book which is going to be very very huge. It’s going to have 10,000 pictures with my autobiography so that will take me all over promoting that.
WAMG: Good luck with that and thanks for talking to We Are Movie Geeks.
KN: You’re welcome.