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Tallulah Bankhead

Our topic this week is an America actress who was a star on the London stage at the age of 21, paying one of her rare visits on Datalounge is Tallulah Bankhead.

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by Anonymousreply 71January 15, 2024 9:31 AM

The laugh

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by Anonymousreply 1September 17, 2023 9:16 PM

Desert Island Discs

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by Anonymousreply 2September 17, 2023 9:16 PM

Throwing some money into Salvation Army girls' tambourines: 'Here you are, dahlings! I hear it's been a terrible season for you gypsy dancers!'.

by Anonymousreply 3September 17, 2023 9:18 PM

She was based on another DL fav: Cruella De Vil

by Anonymousreply 4September 17, 2023 9:21 PM

She was featured on an episode of the documentary series Omnibus as was Eric Porter.

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by Anonymousreply 5September 17, 2023 9:22 PM

Below is the IMDB entry for the Eric Porter Omnibus episode. Both episodes were in 1968.

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by Anonymousreply 6September 17, 2023 9:23 PM

She is Tallulah Bankhead!

by Anonymousreply 7September 17, 2023 9:23 PM

She was the funnier Margo Channing. IMO she gave the perfect reading of the character.

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by Anonymousreply 8September 17, 2023 9:24 PM

She's a gal who could hang out with the guys

by Anonymousreply 9September 17, 2023 9:25 PM


by Anonymousreply 10September 17, 2023 9:29 PM

She called Billie Holiday a "great negro singer"

by Anonymousreply 11September 17, 2023 9:30 PM

She sounded drunk at r2 yet articulate and with it.

Definitely one-of-a-kind.

by Anonymousreply 12September 17, 2023 11:12 PM

R12 for sure!

by Anonymousreply 13September 18, 2023 10:41 PM

At 21, she has already snorted at least a shoebox full of cocaine. Which she knows isn’t habit forming because she’s been doing it for years.

by Anonymousreply 14September 18, 2023 10:44 PM

Her former personal secretary Ted Hook regaled me and a friend with Bankhead stories for an entire afternoon in circa 1991 Manhattan.

by Anonymousreply 15September 19, 2023 12:02 AM

R15 Can you share any?

by Anonymousreply 16September 19, 2023 12:19 AM

When I was her understudy on Broadway she mentored me in many ways.

by Anonymousreply 17September 19, 2023 2:54 AM

She was fabulous in the Lucy Desi Comedy hour. Matchless

by Anonymousreply 18September 19, 2023 2:56 AM

[quote] She called Billie Holiday a "great negro singer"

I don't think she meant that as an insult. Today that would be an insult. But that's what Black people were called back then. Besides, she and Billie were lovers at one time.

Bankhead was staunchly progressive.

by Anonymousreply 19September 19, 2023 2:58 AM

r18 yes!

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by Anonymousreply 20September 19, 2023 3:01 AM

Bea Arthur said she was a cunt.

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by Anonymousreply 21September 19, 2023 3:02 AM

That's rich coming from Bea when she was the biggest cunt on the seat of The Golden Girls.

by Anonymousreply 22September 19, 2023 3:03 AM


by Anonymousreply 23September 19, 2023 3:04 AM


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by Anonymousreply 24September 19, 2023 3:23 AM

Was it wardrobe, make-up or hairdressing?

by Anonymousreply 25September 19, 2023 3:28 AM

Too bad she didn't get the film version of THE LITTLE FOXES.

by Anonymousreply 26September 19, 2023 3:35 AM

No doubt she would've won the Oscar for Best Actress had she got the chance to do the film version of The Little Foxes.

Pauline Kael (a major fan of Bette Davis) saw Bankhead play Regina on stage and said she was electrifying, and Davis was too stonefaced in her performance.

by Anonymousreply 27September 19, 2023 3:48 AM

Bette's Regina did look dour.

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by Anonymousreply 28September 19, 2023 3:51 AM

I only know the one famous anecdote about her wandering into St. Patrick's Cathedral at a Christmas Eve Midnight mass. She dropped into a pew just as the priest just as he came down the aisle waving his incense censer. She leaned over, plucked at his vestments and said, "Love the dress, but do you realize your clutch is on fire?"

by Anonymousreply 29September 19, 2023 9:10 AM

[quote] I only know the one famous anecdote about her wandering into St. Patrick's Cathedral at a Christmas Eve Midnight mass.

Is there more than one famous anecdote about her wandering into St. Patrick's Cathedral...?

by Anonymousreply 30September 19, 2023 10:25 AM

The one I remember most is R16, is One night, Ted came home from the bars and checked in on Tallu to say good night. She had a habit of smoking while reading. Usually wearing a sweater with small holes burned into it by her constant flicking of cig ashes rather than using an ashtray. Bankhead had a dog, Dolores, named after the actress Dolores del Rio that slept at the head of Tallulah's bed on her own pillow.

Well, Hook comes in and as he gets closer to the bed, he sees smoke rising from either Dolores. He immediately tries to awaken the sleeping actress, shaking her and loudly calling "Miss B.!" "Miss B!" "Dolores is on fire." He does this several times, at which point the perturbed actress, half-awake asks "What did you say?"

"Miss B., Dolores IS ON FIRE"

Bankhead immediately replied, "Well, for Christ'sake, PUT HER OUT!" And promptly went back to sleep.

Turns out it was the pillow, not the dog.

by Anonymousreply 31September 19, 2023 12:35 PM

[quote] She was based on another DL fav: Cruella De Vil

R4, you have that backwards.

by Anonymousreply 32September 19, 2023 12:45 PM

R32 you know what I mean

by Anonymousreply 33September 19, 2023 1:18 PM

Precision of language!

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by Anonymousreply 34September 19, 2023 1:23 PM

R8, thanks for posting those links to her radio performances. Something to listen to on the drive home tonight.

by Anonymousreply 35September 19, 2023 2:42 PM


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by Anonymousreply 36September 19, 2023 3:54 PM


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by Anonymousreply 37September 19, 2023 3:58 PM

She's the one who said: "My father made me promise never to touch men or liquor... too bad he never told me about women or cocaine!".

Her father was Speaker of the House.

by Anonymousreply 38September 19, 2023 4:16 PM


Dahling, men had nothing to do with it.

by Anonymousreply 39September 19, 2023 4:20 PM

Being blanked by a former lover who had his new girlfriend in tow: (loudly) 'What's the matter, dahling? Don't you recognise me with my clothes on?'

by Anonymousreply 40September 19, 2023 4:52 PM


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by Anonymousreply 41September 19, 2023 10:17 PM

A panty-flashing Tallu...

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by Anonymousreply 42September 19, 2023 10:29 PM

Tullulah’s last coherent words:

“Codeine . . . Bourbon . . ."

by Anonymousreply 43September 20, 2023 12:16 AM


by Anonymousreply 44September 20, 2023 12:49 AM

She should have sang The Ladies Who Lunch from Company.

Too bad Company was in 1970, she died in 1968.

by Anonymousreply 45December 17, 2023 5:38 PM

After she was hospitalized for a hysterectomy from gonorrhea: "Don't think this has taught me a lesson"

“I have enemies I’ve never met – that’s fame.”

And the classic, "My heart is as pure as the driven slush."

by Anonymousreply 46December 17, 2023 7:03 PM

I only remember her from the movie Lifeboat.

by Anonymousreply 47December 17, 2023 7:06 PM

R47 She's great in it!

by Anonymousreply 48December 17, 2023 7:13 PM

Her best performance was on the Lucy and Desi comedy hour where she outperformed everyone, including Ball.

by Anonymousreply 49December 17, 2023 7:57 PM

“Die, Die, My Darling” is a pretty serviceable House of Hammer horror film. She sorts out Stephanie Powers.

by Anonymousreply 50December 17, 2023 9:46 PM

At a wedding she said to bride and groom: Commiserations. I've had you both and there's not a decent fuck between you.

by Anonymousreply 51December 18, 2023 5:11 PM

On being raped in the family driveway at 11:

[quote]It was a terrible experience because of all that gravel.

by Anonymousreply 52December 18, 2023 8:40 PM

I thought the thread was about Beulah Balbricker. Never mind.

by Anonymousreply 53December 18, 2023 8:53 PM

I was her understudy once and she put her hand a little too high on my thigh and called me Lauren.

by Anonymousreply 54January 6, 2024 12:14 AM

Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.

by Anonymousreply 55January 6, 2024 12:42 AM

The scotch drinking, poker playing, cigar smoking American actress

by Anonymousreply 56January 6, 2024 2:12 AM

Tallulah and Lucy at their TV-comedy best in that clip, and hourlong special. Trivia: Notice when Lucy storms out of the kitchen and the two go at it with the back door going back-and-forth -- door blind's pullstring swings in and out in absence of any window or screen ;). But this Mary craves Lucy's stunning hat and outfit!

by Anonymousreply 57January 6, 2024 4:26 AM

The woman was a human tricycle…..half of the South took their first ride on her.

by Anonymousreply 58January 6, 2024 6:51 AM

With the Smothers Brothers in 1967.

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by Anonymousreply 59January 6, 2024 7:12 AM

She threw a great fuck.

by Anonymousreply 60January 6, 2024 7:34 AM

She should have had more Pepsi Cola.

by Anonymousreply 61January 6, 2024 7:51 AM

Bankhead never publicly used the term "bisexual" to describe herself, preferring to use the term "ambisextrous" instead.

by Anonymousreply 62January 6, 2024 8:06 AM

[quote] She called Billie Holiday a "great negro singer"

You must be on the young side. When I was a child in the 50s the acceptable term was "colored". That changed to "negro" in the 60s, and that changed to "black" in the 70s, and that changed to "African American" in the 80s. And none of these terms were what white people only used. Black people used them as well. The term 'people/person of color' is actually hundreds of years old, but that is a term I have never heard anyone but white people use. Usually some political or "oh look at me, I'm such a progressive white person" type who was trying to impress someone. Of course that was a term mainly used in public. In private they'd use whatever the acceptable term of the day was.

I've known tons of black people in my 70 years. I have never met a black person yet who liked the term "African American". They've always laughed at it, usually saying "I've never been to Africa in my life and have no interest in going". They all have preferred the term "black".

by Anonymousreply 63January 6, 2024 10:10 AM

That accent always slays me. She was from Alabama (born in Huntsville & raised in Jasper) until she and her sister were both carted off to a convent school in New York as teenagers. She got the husky voice from serious bronchitis as a child (and I suspect all the booze she swilled throughout her life was an added cause). But that accent was 100% pure affectation.

She was named Tallulah for her grandmother Tallulah who was named after Tallulah Falls in north Georgia.

by Anonymousreply 64January 6, 2024 10:38 AM

R63 . . .

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by Anonymousreply 65January 6, 2024 10:41 AM

I never understood the love for Bankhead. I just don't get it.

by Anonymousreply 66January 6, 2024 11:06 AM

[bold] ^^^ Because, darlin' .... [/bold]

“I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late start without me.”

“I'm as pure as the driven slush.”

“Here's a rule I recommend: Never practice two vices at once.”

“My father warned me about men and booze but he never said anything about women and cocaine.”

“It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time.”

“Say anything about me, darling, as long as it isn't boring.”

“I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but dull as ditch water: I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up and I hate to be alone...”

“I'd rather be strongly wrong than weakly right.”

“Fill what is empty, empty what is full, and scratch where it itches.”

“They say it's the good girls who keep diaries. The bad girls never have the time. Me, I just wanna live a life I'm gonna remember even if I don't write it down.”

“Cocaine isn't habit forming. I should know, I've been using it for years”

“I've had a man and I've had a woman, and there's got to be something better.”

“There’s less here than meets the eye.”

“I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.”

“Codeine . . . bourbon.”

“ I'd like to kiss you, Darling, but I just washed my hair. ”

“My heart is pure as the driven slush.”

“There have only been two geniuses in the world — Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.”

“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”

“Acting is the most insecure of all the trades, the most risky. In their professional lifetime most actors rehearse longer than they play, spend more time traipsing from office to office in search of jobs than they rehearse and play combined.”

by Anonymousreply 67January 6, 2024 1:42 PM


by Anonymousreply 68January 6, 2024 2:36 PM

R67, okay, those are cute little quips, fine. But the one about I just washed my hair is from Cabin in the Cotton with Bette Davis - maybe Bankhead came up with it first, who knows.

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by Anonymousreply 69January 6, 2024 2:55 PM

R63: You've lived an awfully sheltered existence.

by Anonymousreply 70January 6, 2024 3:23 PM

A Tale of Tallulah, Bette and Lucy

In 1926, Bette Davis (age 18) and Lucille Ball (age 15) were in the same acting class. Bette was the star pupil, Lucy was told to go back to Jamestown. Bette and Tallulah resembled each other slightly. Tallulah accused Bette of imitating her in All About Eve.

Tallulah had played Jezebel, Dark Victory and The Little Foxes on stage. Bette did the same roles in film. Bette and Tallulah were at a Hollywood party in the early 1950s. Tallulah, inebriated, charged across the room and confronted Bette saying “you’re the woman who played the same roles I have and I did them so much better”. Bette, in an unusually conciliatory reply, said “Yes Miss Bankhead” and moved away.

By the mid-1950s, Bette’s film career had diminished. Bette was taking parts on tv. This had been regarded at that time as a step downward career-wise. After a so-so film career, Lucille Ball hit her stride with ILL. In 1957, while inspecting a house as a possible rental, Bette entered what she thought was a closet. It was instead an entrance to a cellar. She fell down a flight of stairs, injuring her back. She had to cancel roles, one of which was to star with Gary Merrill on the Lucy-Desi Comedy Hour. That part went to Tallulah, revised to substitute gay Richard Deacon as her butler.

by Anonymousreply 71January 15, 2024 9:31 AM
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