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Her father and her uncle were U.S. congressmen. Her grandfather was a U.S. senator. Although born to privilege in Alabama and groomed in a convent school, Tallulah Bankhead resolved not to be just another southern belle.
Quickly she rose to the top and became an acclaimed actress of London's West End and on the Broadway stage. Her performances in many plays of the 1920s brought her to the notice of Hollywood. She starred in such Paramount films as My Sin, Faithless, The Devil and the Deep, and Thunder Below. Even though she won a New York Film Critics Circle Award for her leading role in Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944), she never achieved the prominence in movies that she enjoyed in the theater and on radio. On the New York stage she originated the starring roles of Regina Giddens in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes and of Sabina in Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth.
Tallulah, like Eudora, Flannery, and Coretta, was a southern woman identifiable by her first name. Her flamboyant public personality may be the most fully realized and memorable character Bankhead ever played. She became famous for her snappy repartee, candid quotes, and scandalous lifestyle. She was disposed to remove her clothes and chat in the nude. Overfond of Kentucky bourbon and wild parties, she was a lady baritone who called everybody "Dahling."
In Tallulah, first published in 1952 and a New York Times bestseller for twenty-six weeks, Bankhead's literary voice is as lively and forthright as her public persona. She details her childhood and adolescence, discusses her dedication to the theater, and presents amusing anecdotes about her life in Hollywood, New York, and London. Along with a searing defense of her lifestyle and rambunctious habits, she provides a fiercely opinionated, wildly funny account of American stage at a time when the movies were beginning to cast theater into eclipse. This is not only a memoir of an independent woman but also an insider look at American entertainment during a golden age.
Tallulah Bankhead (1902-1968) headlined NBC's The Big Show, a ninety-minute weekly radio extravaganza that aired from 1950 to 1952. In 1965 she appeared in her last movie, a British film titled Fanatic (Die, Die, My Darling! in U.S. release).
|1.||Exercise on the Trapeze||1|
|2.||Echoes of My Childhood||27|
|3.||Nibbling at Fame||52|
|4.||Flirtation with Sin||92|
|5.||Invasion of the British Isles||108|
|6.||Ambushed by Somerset Maugham||142|
|7.||Tales of London Town||151|
|8.||Portraits and Pranks||176|
|9.||Duels with the Screen||189|
|10.||Touch and Go on Broadway||203|
|11.||Regina and Sabina||237|
|12.||Chez Moi with Zoo||260|
|13.||Creed of a Random Voter||275|
|14.||Loose Amid the Microphones||287|
|15.||Affidavit of the Accused||303|
|16.||Motion to Adjourn||320|
Posted November 22, 2006
I went into this book loving Tallulah and came out of it loving her even more! She's gotta be one of the funniest people to walk the planet! While I've read other biographies on 'Tallu', none of them come anywhere close to comparing to this! Although she may exaggerate some things and be modest about others, the way she tells her own story is simply fascinating. Fascinating. I laughed outloud about a ZILLION times!! Tallulah is the person to come to if you want to know some crazy stories behind the scenes of the glamorous Old Hollywood. For example, showing up at her own party wearing nothing but pearls and high heels! Classic.Was this review helpful? Yes NoThank you for your feedback. Report this reviewThank you, this review has been flagged.