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Tallulah Bankhead

Tallulah Bankhead
photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1934
Born Tallulah Brockman Bankhead
January 31, 1902(1902-01-31)
Huntsville, Alabama, U.S.
Died December 12, 1968 (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Years active 1918–1968
Spouse(s) John Emery (m. 1937–1941) «start: (1937)–end+1: (1942)»"Marriage: John Emery to Tallulah Bankhead" Location: (linkback:

Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968) was an American actress, talk-show host, and bon vivant.[1]


Life and career

Early life and family

Bankhead was born in Huntsville, Alabama to William Brockman Bankhead and Adelaide Eugenia Bankhead (née Sledge) and was named after her paternal grandmother.[2] Her mother died as a result of blood poisoning on February 23, 1902, shortly after Bankhead's birth. Bankhead has been described as "an extremely homely child", overweight and with a deep, husky voice resulting from chronic bronchitis.[2] However, others described her as an exhibitionist, performer, personality, and star from the very beginning.[3]

Bankhead came from a powerful Democratic political family in the South in general and Alabama in particular. Her father was the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1936-1940 (in the 74th, 75th, and 76th Congresses), immediately preceding Sam Rayburn. She was the niece of Senator John H. Bankhead II and granddaughter of Senator John H. Bankhead. Bankhead herself was a Democrat, albeit one of a more liberal stripe than the rest of her family.

Her older sister, Evelyn Eugenia (b. January 24, 1901 - died 1979) was known as "Sister". Tallulah's family sent her to various schools in an attempt to keep her out of trouble, which included several years at a Roman Catholic convent school (although her father was a Methodist and her mother an Episcopalian).

Early career

At 15, Bankhead won a movie-magazine beauty contest and convinced her family to let her move to New York. She quickly won bit parts, first appearing in a non-speaking role in The Squab Farm. During these early New York years, she became a peripheral member of the Algonquin Round Table and known as a hard-partying girl-about-town. During this time she began to use cocaine and marijuana, going as far as saying "Cocaine isn't habit forming. I should know – I've been using it for years."[4] However, she did not consume alcohol to any great degree. She became known for her wit, although as screenwriter Anita Loos, a minor fellow Roundtable member, said: "She was so pretty that we thought she must be stupid."[citation needed] She became known for her outspokenness. Once, while in attendance at a party, a guest made a comment about rape, and Bankhead reportedly replied "I was raped in our driveway when I was eleven. You know darling, it was a terrible experience because we had all that gravel."[citation needed] She professed to having a ravenous appetite for sex, but not for a particular type. "I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic. And the others give me either stiff neck or lockjaw", she said.[citation needed]

Once, at a party, one of her friends brought along a young man who boldly told Bankhead that he wanted to make love to her that night. She didn't bat an eye and said, "And so you shall, you wonderful, old-fashioned boy."[5][6] Another version of the story holds that Bankhead met Chico Marx at a party before her reputation had overturned the presumption that William B. Bankhead's daughter would be disgusted by Marx's typically crude (yet generally effective) approach. According to Dick Cavett, after Marx had been cautioned to be on his best behavior with Bankhead, the two first spoke at the punch bowl.

"Miss Bankhead."
"Mr. Marx." And, as everyone breathed a sigh of relief, Chico told her, "You know, I really want to fuck you.". She replied, "And so you shall, you old-fashioned boy."[7]

In 1923, she made her debut on the London stage, where she was to appear in over a dozen plays in the next eight years, most famously, The Dancers. Her fame as an actress was ensured in 1924 when she played Amy in Sidney Howard's They Knew What They Wanted. The show won the 1925 Pulitzer Prize. She was famous not only as an actress but also for her many affairs, infectious personality and witticisms like "There is less to this than meets the eye" and "I'm as pure as the driven slush."[citation needed] She was known for her promiscuous behavior, and had the reputation of being sexually available to anyone she found attractive, famous or not. Her longest known affair during this period in her life was with an Italian businessman named Anthony de Bosdari, which lasted just over one year.[5] By the end of the decade, she was one of the West End's — and England's — best-known and most notorious celebrities.[8]

Welsh artist Augustus John with Bankhead and her portrait (1929)

While in London, Bankhead also bought herself a Bentley, which she loved to drive. She wasn't very competent with directions, however, and constantly found herself lost in the London streets. She would telephone a taxi-cab and pay the driver to drive to her destination while she followed behind in her car.[5]

Mid career

Bankhead returned to the US in 1931, but Hollywood success eluded her in her first four films of the 1930s.[citation needed] She rented a home at 1712 Stanley Street, in Hollywood, and began hosting parties that were said to "have no boundaries".[9] On September 9, 1932, she was featured on the cover of Film Weekly.[citation needed]

Bankhead's first film was Tarnished Lady (1931), directed by George Cukor, and the pair became fast friends. Bankhead behaved herself on the set and filming went smoothly, but she found film-making to be very boring and didn't have the patience for it. She didn't like Hollywood either. When she met producer Irving Thalberg, she asked him, "How do you get laid in this dreadful place?"[10]

Bankhead was not very interested in making films. The opportunity to make $50,000 per film, however, was too good to pass up. She later said, "The only reason I went to Hollywood was to fuck that divine Gary Cooper."[10] One of Bankhead's most notorious events was an interview that she gave to Motion Picture magazine in 1932, in which she ranted wildly about the state of her life and her views on love, marriage, and children:

"I'm serious about love. I'm damned serious about it now.... I haven't had an affair for six months. Six months! Too long.... If there's anything the matter with me now, it's not Hollywood or Hollywood's state of mind.... The matter with me is, I WANT A MAN! ... Six months is a long, long while. I WANT A MAN!"[11]

Alleged bisexuality and sexual exploits

The interview created quite a commotion. Time ran a story about it, and, back home, Bankhead's father and family were perturbed. Bankhead immediately telegraphed her father, vowing never to speak with a magazine reporter again.[10]

However, following the release of the Kinsey Reports, she was once quoted as stating, "I found no surprises in the Kinsey Report. The good doctor's clinical notes were old hat to me...I've had many momentary love affairs. A lot of these impromptu romances have been climaxed in a fashion not generally condoned. I go into them impulsively. I scorn any notion of their permanence. I forget the fever associated with them when a new interest presents itself." [12]

Rumors about her sex life have lingered for years, and she was linked romantically with many notable female personalities of the day, including Greta Garbo, Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Eva Le Gallienne, Laurette Taylor, and Alla Nazimova, as well as writer Mercedes de Acosta, the wealthy Betty Carstairs, and singer Billie Holiday.[13][14]

Tallulah Bankhead married actor John Emery, the son of stage actors Edward Emery (circa 1861–1938) and Isabel Waldron (1871–1950) on August 31, 1937 in Jasper, Alabama. They divorced on June 13, 1941 in Reno, Nevada.

Actress Patsy Kelly made a claim to author Boze Hadleigh, which he included in his 1996 book about lesbianism in Hollywood's early years, that she had a long affair with Bankhead.[5][10] John Gruen's Menotti: A Biography notes an incident in which Jane Bowles chased Bankhead around Capricorn, Gian Carlo Menotti and Samuel Barber's Mount Kisco estate, insisting that Bankhead needed to play the lesbian character Inès in Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit (which Paul Bowles had recently translated), but Bankhead locked herself in the bathroom and kept insisting "That lesbian! I wouldn't know a thing about it."[15] In 1932, she expressed some interest in spirituality, but did not outwardly pursue it, except for a time when she met with the Indian mystic, Meher Baba.[16]

In 1933, Bankhead nearly died following a five-hour emergency hysterectomy due to venereal disease. Only 70 pounds (32 kg) when she left the hospital, she stoically said to her doctor, "Don't think this has taught me a lesson!"

Hollywood, Broadway and politics

In 1934, after recuperating in Alabama, she returned to England. After only a short stay, she was called back to New York to play in Dark Victory. Although Bette Davis played the leading character in the film version, she openly admitted in later years that she had emulated Bankhead in the role.[citation needed] Bankhead continued to play in various performances over the next few years, gaining excellent notices for her portrayal of Elizabeth in a revival of Somerset Maugham's The Circle. David O. Selznick, producer of Gone With the Wind (1939) called her the "first choice among established stars" to play Scarlett O'Hara.[citation needed] Although her screen test for the role in black-and-white was superb, she photographed poorly in Technicolor. Selznick also reportedly believed that at age 36, she was too old to play Scarlett, who is 16 at the beginning of the film; the role eventually went to Vivien Leigh. Selznick sent Kay Brown to Bankhead to "sound her out" about playing prostitute Belle Watling in the film, which she turned down.[17]

Returning to Broadway, Bankhead's career stalled in unmemorable plays. When she appeared in Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra with her husband, John Emery, the New York Times critic Brooks Atkinson wrote "Tallulah Bankhead barged down the Nile, last night, and promptly sank!"[citation needed] All the laughing stopped, though, when she played the cold and ruthless Regina Giddens in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes (1939). Her portrayal won her the New York Drama Critics' Circle Award for Best Performance, but Bankhead and Hellman feuded over the Soviet Union's invasion of Finland. Bankhead (a staunch anti-Communist) was said to want a portion of one performance's proceeds to go to Finnish relief, while Hellman (an equally staunch Stalinist) objected strenuously, and the two women didn't speak for the next quarter of a century.[8]

More success and the same award followed her 1942 performance in Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, in which Bankhead played Sabina, the housekeeper and temptress, opposite Fredric March and Florence Eldridge (Mr. and Mrs. Antrobus, and also husband and wife offstage). During the run of the play, some media accused Bankhead of a running feud with Elia Kazan, the play's director. Kazan confirmed the story in his autobiography, and he stated that Bankhead was one of the few people in his life that he ever actually detested.[citation needed]

Lobbycard from Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944)

In 1944, Alfred Hitchcock cast her as the cynical journalist, Constance Porter, in Lifeboat. The performance is widely acknowledged as her best on film, and won her the New York Film Critics Circle Award. Almost childlike in her immodesty, a beaming Tallulah accepted her New York trophy and exclaimed, "Dahlings, I was wonderful!"[citation needed] After World War II, Bankhead appeared in a revival of Noel Coward's Private Lives, taking it on tour and then to Broadway for the better part of two years. The play's run made Bankhead a fortune. From that time, Bankhead could command 10% of the gross and was billed larger than any other actor in the cast, although she usually granted equal billing to Estelle Winwood, a frequent co-star and close friend from the 1920s until Bankhead's death in 1968.[8]

Bankhead circulated widely in the celebrity crowd of her day, and was a party favorite for outlandish stunts such as underwearless cartwheels in a skirt or entering a soirée stark naked.[citation needed] She is also said to have been so engrossed in conversation with Eleanor Roosevelt that she dropped her drawers and used the toilet while the first lady was still talking.[8] Always extravagant, upon leaving the theater one evening she encountered a Salvation Army band passing around the tambourine. Reaching into her purse, Bankhead withdrew a twenty dollar bill, tossed it into the tambourine and exited into a taxi with the remark, "There dahlings, I know it's been a rough winter for you Spanish dancers".[citation needed]

Like her family, Bankhead was a Democrat, but broke with most Southerners by campaigning for Harry Truman's reelection in 1948. While viewing the Inauguration parade, she booed the South Carolina float which carried then-Governor Strom Thurmond, who had recently run against Truman on the Dixiecrat ticket, splitting the Democratic vote. She is credited with having helped Truman immeasurably by belittling his rival, New York's Governor Thomas E. Dewey. Bankhead said Dewey reminded her of "the little man on the wedding cake", although Alice Roosevelt Longworth is often credited with the comment.[citation needed]

Late career

Though Tallulah Bankhead's career slowed in the mid-1950s, she never faded from the public eye. Although she had become a heavy drinker and consumer of sleeping pills (she was a life-long insomniac), Bankhead continued to perform in the 1950s and 1960s on Broadway, in the occasional film, as a highly-popular radio show host, and in the new medium of television.

In 1950, in an effort to cut into the rating leads of The Jack Benny Program and The Edgar Bergen & Charlie McCarthy Show which had jumped from NBC radio to CBS radio the previous season, NBC spent millions over the two seasons of The Big Show starring "the glamorous, unpredictable" Tallulah Bankhead as its host, in which she acted not only as mistress of ceremonies but also performed monologues and songs, many of which can be heard on the album Give My Regards To Broadway!.[citation needed] Despite Meredith Willson's Orchestra and Chorus and top guest stars from Broadway, Hollywood and radio, The Big Show, which earned rave reviews, failed to do more than dent Jack Benny's and Edgar Bergen's ratings.

Bankhead, who proved a masterful comedienne and intriguing personality, however, was not blamed for the failure of The Big Show as television's growth was hurting all radio ratings at the time, so the next season NBC installed her as one of a half dozen rotating hosts of NBC's The All Star Revue on Saturday nights. Bankhead's most popular television appearance was her December 3, 1957 appearance on The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. Bankhead played herself in the episode titled "The Celebrity Next Door". The part was originally slated for Bette Davis, but she had to bow out after cracking her vertebra. Lucille Ball reportedly was a fan of Bankhead's and did a good impression of her. By the time the episode was filmed, however, both Ball and Desi Arnaz were extremely frustrated by Bankhead's behavior during rehearsals. It took her three hours to "wake up" once she arrived on the set and she often seemed drunk. She also refused to listen to the director and she did not like rehearsing. Ball and Arnaz apparently didn't know about Tallulah's antipathy toward rehearsals or her incredible ability to memorize a script quickly. After rehearsals, the filming of the episode was not problematic. [18]

Bankhead appeared as Blanche DuBois in a revival of Tennessee Williams's A Streetcar Named Desire (1956), but reviews were poor. Fans who saw her late into the six-week run at City Center were graced with a far better performance. She received a Tony Award nomination for her performance of a bizarre 50-year-old mother in the short-lived Mary Coyle Chase play, Midgie Purvis (1961). Her last theatrical appearance was in another Williams play, The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (1963). Although she received good notices for her last performances, her career as one of the greats of the American stage was coming to an end. Her last motion picture was a British horror film, Fanatic (1965), co-starring Stefanie Powers, which was released in the U.S. as Die! Die! My Darling!. Her last appearances onscreen came in March 1967 as the villainous Black Widow in the Batman TV series, and on the December 17, 1967, episode of The Smothers Brothers Comedy Hour comedy-variety TV series, in the "Mahta Harry" skit.[19]

According to author Brendan Gill, when Bankhead entered the hospital for an illness, an article was headed "Tallulah Hospitalized, Hospital Tallulahized". Bankhead's large, charismatic personality inspired voice actress Betty Lou Gerson's work on the character Cruella De Vil in Walt Disney Pictures' One Hundred and One Dalmatians, which the studio calls "a manic take-off on famous actress Tallulah Bankhead."[20]

Personal life

Bankhead had no children but was the godmother of Brook and Brockman Seawell, children of her lifelong friend and actress Eugenia Rawls and Rawls's husband, Donald Seawell. Bankhead was an avid baseball fan whose favorite team was the New York Giants.[21] This was evident in one of her famous quotes, through which she gave a nod to the arts: "There have been only two geniuses in the world. Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare. But, darling, I think you'd better put Shakespeare first."[22]


Tallulah Bankhead died in St. Luke's Hospital in New York City of double pneumonia arising from influenza, complicated by emphysema, on December 12, 1968, aged 66, and is buried in Saint Paul's Churchyard, Chestertown, Maryland.[1] Her last coherent words reportedly were "Codeine... bourbon."[23]

For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Tallulah Bankhead has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6141 Hollywood Blvd.

Stage Play

A stage play by Matthew Lombardo, entitled Looped, features Tallulah Bankhead as the protagonist in an episode late in her life in which she is called to a recording studio to "loop" a line of recorded dialogue that must be dubbed into a film shot previously. The session reportedly took eight hours to successfully record a single line of dialogue, and the playwright uses the situation to reveal the story of Bankhead's life. Looped premiered at the Pasadena Playhouse in California in June 2008 under the direction of Rob Ruggiero. Valerie Harper portrayed Bankhead.[24] The play opened on Broadway on March 14, 2010 at the Lyceum Theatre (Broadway).[25]

Other actresses to portray Bankhead include Kathleen Turner (in Sandra Ryan Heyward's one-woman touring show "Tallulah" in the late 1990s), Carrie Nye (on television in The Scarlett O'Hara War), Eugenia Rawls (who played opposte Bankhead on Broadway in The Little Foxes, and Helen Gallagher.[26]

MI5 investigation of Eton school scandal

In 2000, declassified papers thrust Bankhead in the limelight of public scandal posthumously. She had been investigated by MI5 during the 1920s amid rumors she was corrupting pupils at Eton. The documents alleged that she seduced up to half a dozen public schoolboys into taking part in "indecent and unnatural" acts. This rumor had sent shockwaves through the 1920s British establishment.[27]

The documents compiled by the British Aliens and Immigration Department allege that the investigation was scuttled by a determined cover-up by Eton's headmaster, Dr. Cyril Argentine Alington. The allegations were based purely on gossip and word of mouth, and lacked credible evidence. It appears that they were assembled by MI5 at the urgings of a Home Office minister.[27]


Year Film Role Notes
1918 Who Loved Him Best? Nell Alternative title: His Inspiration
When Men Betray Alice Edwards Uncredited
Thirty a Week Barbara Wright Uncredited
1919 The Trap Helen Carson Alternative title: A Woman's Law
1928 His House in Order Nina Graham Silent, based on the play of the same name by Arthur Wing Pinero. Film is believed lost.[28]
1931 Tarnished Lady Nancy Courtney
My Sin Carlotta/Ann Trevor
The Cheat Elsa Carlyle
1932 Thunder Below Susan
Make Me a Star Herself
Devil and the Deep Diana Sturm
Faithless Carol Morgan
1933 Hollywood on Parade No. A-6 Herself Short subject
1943 Stage Door Canteen Herself
1944 Lifeboat Constance "Connie" Porter
1945 A Royal Scandal Catherine the Great Alternative title: Czarina
1953 Main Street to Broadway Herself
1959 The Boy Who Wanted a Melephant Narrator Short subject
1965 Die! Die! My Darling Mrs. Trefoile Alternative title: Fanatic
1966 The Daydreamer The Sea Witch Voice
Year Title Role Notes
1952–1953 All Star Revue Herself 7 episodes
1954 The Colgate Comedy Hour Herself 1 episode
1954–1962 The United States Steel Hour Hedda Gabler 2 episodes
1957 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars 1 episode
General Electric Theater Katherine Belmont 1 episode
The Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour Herself 1 episode
1965 The Red Skelton Show Mme. Fragrant 1 episode
1967 Batman Black Widow 2 episodes


  • The Squab Farm (March 13–April 1918) (Broadway)
  • 39 East (March 31, 1919–unknown) (appeared in six performances as a replacement for Constance Binney until Actors' Equity Association strike shut the play down) (Broadway)
  • Footloose (May 20–June 1920) (Broadway)
  • Nice People (March 2–June 1921) (Broadway)
  • Everyday (November 16, 1921–January 1922) (Broadway)
  • Sleeping Partners (June 11, 1922) (Baltimore)
  • Good Gracious, Annabelle (June 20, 1922) (Baltimore)
  • Danger (December 22, 1921–February 1922) (stepped in as two-week replacement for an ill Kathlene MacDonnel) (Broadway)
  • Her Temporary Husband (August 31–November 1922) (replaced during tryouts in May 1922 before the show premiered on Broadway) (Stamford, Connecticut)
  • The Exciters (September 22–October 1922) (Broadway)
  • The Dancers (February 15, 1923–unknown) (London)
  • Conchita (March 19, 1924–unknown) (London)
  • This Marriage (May 15, 1924–unknown) (London)
  • The Creaking Chair (July 22, 1924–unknown) (London)
  • Fallen Angels (April 21, 1925–unknown) (London)
  • The Green Hat (September 2, 1925–unknown) (London)
  • Scotch Mist (January 26, 1926–unknown) (London)
  • They Knew What They Wanted (May 18, 1926–unknown) (London)
  • The Gold Diggers (December 14, 1926–unknown) (London)
  • The Garden of Eden (May 30, 1927–unknown) (London)
  • Blackmail (February 28, 1928–unknown) (London)
  • Mud and Treacle (May 9, 1928–unknown) (London)
  • Her Cardboard Lover (August 21, 1928–unknown) (London and Scotland)
  • He's Mine (October 29, 1929–unknown) (London)
  • The Lady of the Camellias (March 5, 1930–unknown) (London)
  • Let Us Be Gay (August 18, 1930–unknown) (London)
  • Forsaking All Others (March 1–June 1933) (Broadway)
  • Dark Victory (November 7–December 1934) (Broadway)
  • Rain (Revival) (February 12–March 1935) (Broadway)
  • Something Gay (April 29–July 1935) (Broadway)
  • Reflected Glory (September 21, 1936–January 1937) (Broadway)
  • Antony and Cleopatra (November 10–November 14, 1937) (Broadway)
  • The Circle (April 18–June 1938) (Broadway)
  • I Am Different (August 18, 1938–unknown) (opened in San Diego, California, closed during tryouts)
  • The Little Foxes (February 15, 1939–February 3, 1940) (Broadway)
  • The Second Mrs Tanqueray (July 1, 1940) (Maplewood, New Jersey)
  • Her Cardboard Lover (June 30, 1941) (Westport, Connecticut)
  • Clash by Night (December 27, 1941–February 7, 1942) (Broadway)
  • The Skin of Our Teeth (November 18, 1942–September 25, 1943) (replaced after 229 performances by Miriam Hopkins) (Broadway)
  • Private Lives (June 19, 1944) (Stamford, Connecticut)
  • Foolish Notion (March 13–June 9, 1945) (Broadway)
  • The Eagle Has Two Heads (March 19–April 12, 1947) (Broadway)
  • Private Lives (Revival) (October 4, 1948–May 7, 1949) (Broadway)
  • Dear Charles (September 15, 1954–January 29, 1955) (Broadway)
  • A Streetcar Named Desire (Revival) (February 15, 1956–unknown) (New York City Center)
  • Ziegfeld Follies (April 16, 1956–unknown) (opened in Boston, closed during tryouts, retitled Welcome Darlings for a one-night-only show in Westport, Connecticut)
  • Eugenia (January 30–February 9, 1957) (Broadway)
  • House on the Rocks (June 1958) (tour)
  • Crazy October (October 8, 1958–unknown) (opened in New Haven, Connecticut, closed in San Francisco during tryouts)
  • Craig's Wife (June 30, 1960) (Nyack, New York)
  • Midgie Purvis (February 1–February 18, 1961) (Broadway)
  • Here Today (June 1962) (tour)
  • The Milk Train Doesn't Stop Here Anymore (January 1–January 4, 1964) (Broadway)
  • Glad Tidings (June 1964) (tour)


  1. ^ a b Schumach, Murray (December 13, 1968). "Tallulah Bankhead Dead at 65; Vibrant Stage and Screen Star". The New York Times. Retrieved February 17, 2010. 
  2. ^ a b Current Biography 1941, p. 37
  3. ^ Gottlieb, Robert. The New Yorker. May 16, 2005.
  4. ^ Bret, David. Tallulah Bankhead: A Scandalous Life. Robinson Books, April 1997. ISBN 1-86105-015-1.
  5. ^ a b c d Oliver, Phillip.Tallulah Bankhead's biography: "Across the Water" (fan site)
  6. ^ Oliver, Phillip Tallulah Bankhead's biography: "Life at the Algonquin" (fan site)
  7. ^ Interview with Dick Cavett, appearing in the television documentary, The Unknown Marx Brothers (1993)
  8. ^ a b c d Alabama Women's Hall of Fame - Tallulah Brockman Bankhead
  9. ^ Haunted Hollywood (dead link)
  10. ^ a b c d Oliver, Phillip. Tallulah Bankhead's biography: "Hollywood Beckons" (fan site)
  11. ^ Interview with Gladys Hall - September 1932, Motion Picture Magazine
  12. ^ NNDB
  13. ^ Mercedes de Acosta, Here Lies the Heart, 1960.
  14. ^ "Stage Actors and Actresses"
  15. ^ Gruen, John. Menotti: A Biography, p. 53.
  16. ^ Volume 18, #1, p. 6
  17. ^ Lambert, Gavin (1976) [1973]. GWTW: The Making of Gone With the Wind (mass market paperback ed.). New York: Bantam Books. p. 53. 
  18. ^ Tallulah Bankhead's biography: "New Ventures" (fan site)
  19. ^
  20. ^ Disney Archives - Villains History
  21. ^ Murphy, Robert E. "The Real Villain of New York Baseball," The New York Times, Sunday, June 24, 2007.
  22. ^ Willie Mays Quotes – Baseball Almanac
  23. ^ Brian, Denis. Tallulah, Darling: A Biography of Tallulah Bankhead. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1980), pp. 1,2
  24. ^ Production Website
  25. ^
  26. ^
  27. ^ a b "MI5 sex secrets of 1920s star". 2000-03-02. Retrieved 2009-02-24. 
  28. ^ Lobenthal, Joel (2004), Tallulah: the life and times of a leading lady, HarperCollins, p. 130, ISBN 0060394358, 

Further reading

  • Lobenthal, Joel (2004). Tallulah!: The Life and Times of a Leading Lady. Regan Books. ISBN 0-06-039435-8. 
  • Bret, David (1997). Tallulah Bankhead, A Scandalous Life. Robson Books. 
  • McLellan, Diana (2001). The Girls: Sappho Goes to Hollywood. St. Martin's Griffin. ISBN 0-312-28320-2.  (review)
  • Oderman, Stuart, Talking to the Piano Player 2. BearManor Media, 2009. ISBN #1-59393-320-7.

External links


Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikiquote

Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902December 12, 1968) was an American actress, talk-show host and bon vivant.

  • I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water - I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up, and I hate to be alone.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • No man worth his salt, no man of spirit and spine, no man for whom I could have any respect, could rejoice in the identification of Tallulah's husband. It's tough enough to be bogged down in a legend. It would be even tougher to marry one.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late, start without me.
    • Brian, Denis. Tallulah, Darling: A Biography of Tallulah Bankhead. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1980).
  • They used to shoot her through gauze. You should shoot me through linoleum. (Referring to Shirley Temple)[citation needed]
  • I'm as pure as the driven slush.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time.[citation needed]
  • The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • If you really want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, dahling. Be an audience.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • Here's a rule I recommend. Never practice two vices at once.
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • Let's not quibble! I'm the foe of moderation, the champion of excess. If I may lift a line from a die-hard whose identity is lost in the shuffle, "I'd rather be strongly wrong than weakly right."
    • Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • Cocaine isn't habit forming. I should know - I've been using it for years.
    • Bankhead, Tallulah. Tallulah: My Autobiography. University Press of Mississippi; illustrated edition edition (July 7, 2004)
  • "Codeine...bourbon..." (Tallulah Bankhead's last coherent words).
    • Brian, Denis. Tallulah, Darling: A Biography of Tallulah Bankhead. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1980), pg.1
  • Well, I don't know, darling -- he's never sucked my cock. (When asked for her opinion on whether a male celebrity of the time was a homosexual.)[citation needed]
  • My father warned me about men and booze, but he never mentioned a word about women and cocaine.
    • Brian, Denis. Tallulah, Darling: A Biography of Tallulah Bankhead. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1980), pg.2
  • I've tried several varieties of sex, all of which I hate. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic; the others give me a stiff neck and/or lockjaw.
    • Brian, Denis. Tallulah, Darling: A Biography of Tallulah Bankhead. New York: Macmillan Publishing (1980)


  • (On why she called everyone "dahling"): Because all my life I've been terrible at remembering people's names. I once introduced a friend of mine as Martini. Her name was actually Olive.
  • Don't think I don't know who's been spreading gossip about me . . . After all the nice things I've said about that hag (Bette Davis). When I get hold of her, I'll tear out every hair of her mustache!
  • Say anything about me, dahling, as long as it isn't boring.
  • (to Joan Crawford):" Are you wearing a new perfume?"
    • (Joan Crawford replies): "It's called Come To Me."
    • (Tallulah): " Funny, it doesn't smell like cum to me!"

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