Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968) was an American actress of the stage and screen, talk-show host, and bonne vivante. Bankhead was also known for her deep voice, flamboyant personality, and support of liberal causes, which broke with the tendency of Southern Democrats at the time to support a more conservative agenda. She was inducted into the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1981.

Bankhead was born in Huntsville, Alabama, to William Brockman Bankhead and Adelaide Eugenia "Ada" Bankhead (née Sledge). She was born on the second floor of what is now known as the Isaac Schiffman Building; a marker was erected to commemorate the site and, in 1980, the building was placed on the National Register of Historic Places. "Tallu" was named after her paternal grandmother. Her mother died of blood poisoning (Septicemia) on February 23, 1902, three weeks after Bankhead's birth. She had an elder sister, Evelyn Eugenia.

She came from the powerful Bankhead and Brockman political family, active in the Democratic Party in the South in general and Alabama in particular. Her father was the Speaker of the United States House of Representatives from 1936 to 1940. She was the niece of Senator John H. Bankhead II and granddaughter of Senator John H. Bankhead.

She and her sister were mostly reared by their paternal grandmother, Tallulah James Brockman Bankhead, at Sunset in Jasper. Bankhead's family sent her to various schools in a vain 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). The young Bankhead was described as "an extremely homely child", overweight and with a deep, husky voice resulting from chronic bronchitis. However, others described her as an exhibitionist, performer, personality, and star from the very beginning.


Tallulah Bankhead Poems

Tallulah Bankhead Quotes

We have played this show everywhere except underwater.
Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. actress. As quoted in Tallulah, introduction, by Brendan Gill (1972). Of Noel Coward's Private Lives, with which she toured over a period of many years and played many times in many cities and towns.
... 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.
Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. actress. Originally quoted in an October 19, 1964 London newspaper. As quoted in Tallulah, photograph section at back, by Brendan Gill (1972). The Southern-born actress was explaining "why she calls everybody 'dahling.'" Parenthetically, Bankhead was known to be a heavy drinker.
I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic and the others give me a stiff neck or lockjaw.
Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. screen actor. Quoted in Lee Israel, Miss Tallulah Bankhead (1972).

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