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See Catwoman Lee Meriwether at 86

She's had a busy, six decade-long career in Hollywood!

Some movie roles are reserved for Hollywood's hottest leading ladies, and Catwoman from the Batman franchise is a perfect example. Michelle Pfifer, Halle Berry, Anne Hathaway, Julie Newmar, and Eartha Kitt have all donned the iconic catsuit, as did Lee Meriwether in 1966. Meriwether famously portrayed the feline femme fatale opposite Adam West, and quickly became a household name for her stunning good looks and onscreen presence. Today, it's been over five decades since she first graced Gotham City. See the actor now at 86 years old, still as glamorous as ever!

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Before she became an actor, she was a pageant queen.

Lee Meriwether winning Miss America 1955
Bettmann via Getty Images

Meriwether got her start in entertainment not as an actor, but as a beauty queen. While attending the City College of San Francisco, she was anonymously nominated to participate in the Miss California 1954 pageant—and won. The following year, she was crowned Miss America, earning her the nickname "the golden girl from the Golden Gate." Meriwether used the scholarship money she won in the competition to continue her college studies in TV/theater studies.

She knew at that point that her next act would be to pursue a Hollywood career, and soon joined The Today Show as a co-host. Meriwether landed her first onscreen acting role later that year on the TV series The Philco Television Playhouse.

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She continued acting after starring in Batman.

Lee Meriwether at Hollywood Museum
Albert L. Ortega/Getty Images

Prior to becoming Catwoman, Meriwether appeared on a handful of popular TV shows, including Dragnet, Leave It to Beaver, Dr. Kildaire, and Perry Mason. In 1966, Batman premiered, and she became one of the most famous actors of the franchise. The following year, Meriwether appeared in two episodes of Batman the TV series, this time as Bruce Wayne's love interest, Lisa Carson. From there, she appeared in episodes of Mission: Impossible, Star Trek, The Time Tunnel, The Munsters, and The Love Boat.

In the '70s, Meriwether joined the cast of the crime drama Barnaby Jones, a role that earned her two Golden Globe Award nominations as well as an Emmy Award nomination. She later landed a recurring role as Ruth Martin on the popular daytime soap All My Children, and continued that role until 2011. Since then the actor has appeared on Don't Trust the B‒‒- In Apartment 23, Desperate Housewives, the rebooted Hawaii Five-0, and more.

She's opened up about her experience working on Batman.

Lee Meriwether closeup portrait

Looking back on Batman, Meriwether says she has fond memories of working with the cast. "I was the luckiest of all the 'Catwomen' because I got to work with Caesar Romero, Frank Gorshin, Burgess Meredith—three absolute geniuses. I watched them all the time. I learned the most from Burgess and Caesar and Frank," she said in an interview with Studio 10.

The only downside of the job? The skintight, metallic catsuit, which she says became painful to wear on long, hot shooting days. "It was some kind of material with ribbons of metallic threads through it, and very tight. When I wore it outside I got a second degree burn here and here!" the actor said, motioning to her shoulders.

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Her daughters have followed in her footsteps.

Lee Meriwether pink coat
Gabriel Olsen/Getty Images

In 1958, Meriwether married the actor Frank Aletter, and they soon welcomed two daughters, Kyle Aletter-Oldham (61) and Leslie Aletter (58). Both daughters followed their parents' footsteps into the world of entertainment: Her oldest daughter became a model, famous for appearing on The Price Is Right, and her younger daughter became a stunt performer in Hollywood films.

Meriwether and Aletter divorced in 1974, at which point Meriwether was romantically linked with A-listers Marlon Brando and Joe DiMaggio. In 1986, she married the Quantum Leap actor Marshall Borden, and the couple remains together to this day.

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Lauren Gray
Lauren Gray is a New York-based writer, editor, and consultant. Read more
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