Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Tallulah Bankhead - The Girl who didn't give a Damn

When someone thinks to name a classic actress who was considered to be difficult some names that come to mind may be that of Joan Crawford, Bette Davis, Sylvia Sidney, or Loretta Young. However, when you read about the life of Tallulah Bankhead and or hear some of the things she did while alive it can be easily said that she was the Queen of Difficulty.

Born in Huntsville, Alabame in 1902 and raised in the lap of luxury under the wings of an affluent family with strong political ties in the U.S. Senate, Tallulah certainly had what seemed to be a colorful life but there probably wasn't anything about her that was more colorful then her language, ideas, and mannerisms.

Tallulah was obviously the type of person who lived by her own rules and didn't care what others though or did. For example here are some of the things she did:

She was reported to have smoked an astounding 1,000 cigarettes a day which was perhaps the largest contributor to the husky voice that became her trademark due to developments of chronic bronchitis.

She drank gin and other types of alcohol on a daily basis as if it were a simple glass of water.

At parties she would randomly start taking off her clothes so that she could get more comfortable.

While she lived in New York in the early part of her acting career she was a member of the Algonquin Round Table and she began to use cocaine and marijuana leading her to tell others, "Cocaine isn't habit forming, I should know I've been doing it for years".

She made it well known both in Hollywood and in New York that she had a love for sexual relations but she didn't prefer to engaged in the traditional form of it. She much prefered to have intimate relations in a number of different forms but she claimed that time and again when doing that she either got lockjaw or a stiff neck.

Tallulah Bankhead began her Hollywood career in 1931 and apperared in a few films between that year and 1933. When she was interviewed by the magazine Film Weekly she told them that the only reason she came to Hollywood was because she "wanted to fuck that divine Gary Cooper".

Talluah was a self-proclaimed bisexual and it is believed that she may have been involved sexually with such actresses as Joan Crawford, Marlene Dietrich, Greta Garbo, Alla Nazimoza, and the singer Billie Holiday.

Some times Tallulah would answer her door naked.

In 1968, Tallulah died from double pneumonia arising from influenza, complicated by emphysema. Her reported last words were, "Codedine...bourbon". In the end, Tallulah still lived her moment without a care in the world. In fact, her life and mannerisms were the inspiration for the play Looped on Broadway starring Valerie Harper in the role of Tallulah Bankhead.


  1. Thats very interesting. I couldnt imagine someone smoking 1,000 cigarettes a day, you wouldnt even really have the time to smoke one before having to start another. Great post!


  2. Actually, it was not 1,000 cigarettes a day, but 1,000 cigarettes a week. Check your sources again.

  3. wow my cousin was a scoundrel!