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Tallulah Brockman Bankhead Edit Profile


Tallulah Brockman Bankhead was an American actress.


Bankhead, Tallulah Brockman was born on January 31, 1903 in Huntsville, Alabama, United States. Daughter of William Brockman and Eugenia (Sledge) Bankhead.


Educated at Convent of the Sacred Heart (New York), Mary Baldwin Seminary, Convent of the Visitation, Convent of the Holy Cross, Fairmont Seminary (Washington, District of Columbia).


By 1944, she and the movies had given one another up. Thus there is some of Hitch’s malicious irony in asking her to dominate a lifeboat adrift in the Twentieth Century-Fox studio tanks. Such fatuous eminence is plainly a challenge to the actress’s affected languor.

Tallulah remains damp but unaltered, allowing her bracelet to be used as pretty bait for nourishing fish. She ends by stealing the picture, underlining the film’s limitations and serenely steering it into camp. It shows the sort of self-mocking grandiloquence at which she might have excelled had Hollywood not chosen to cast her as the sultry man-eater she pretended to be.

Very early in her career, she had been in a movie— When Men Betray (18, Ivan Abramson)—but she opted for the London stage during the 1920s and was called to Paramount only when sound seemed to beg for her famous drawl. The films she made there were banal and dogged, instead of nutty and irreverent: The Cheat (31, George Abbott); Tarnished Lady (31, George Cukor); My Sin (31, Abbott); Devil and the Deep (32, Marion Gering); and Thunder Below (32, Richard Wallace). In all these, she was required to be tire stirred point of action in romantic triangles.

Unconvinced, she did not stay in place. Paramount let her go to MGM for Faithless (32, Harry Beaumont), whereupon she bounced back to the theatre. (Her best part was Regina Giddens in The Little Foxes. Bette Davis—who did the film—said she never got over seeing Tallulah on stage.) After Lifeboat. Fox cast her in A Royal Scandal (45. Otto Preminger and Ernst Lubitsch). But she dropped away again and appeared briefly in Main Street to Broadway (52, Tay Garnett) and more extensively in a dreadful British horror film, Fanatic (65, Silvio Narizzano), a last gesture toward neglected extravagance.


Married John Emery, August 31, 1937 (divorced).

William Brockman Bankhead

Eugenia (Sledge) Bankhead

John Emery