Welcome to our collection of quotes by Tallulah Bankhead. We hope you enjoy pondering them and please share widely.
Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968) was an American stage and screen actress. She was a member of the Bankhead and Brockman family, a prominent Alabama political family. Both her grandfather and her uncle served as US Senators; her father served as a US Representative in Congress for 11 terms, the final two as Speaker of the House of Representatives.
Tallulah Bankhead's support of liberal causes, including the budding civil rights movement, broke with her southern contemporaries with their support of white supremacy and Jim Crow laws as championed by Southern Democrats; she often opposed her own family publicly.
Primarily an actress of the stage, Bankhead appeared in several films including an award-winning performance in Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944). She also had a brief but successful career on radio and made appearances on television as well.
In her personal life, Bankhead struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction; she reportedly smoked 120 cigarettes a day and often talked openly about her vices. She also openly had a series of relationships with both men and women.
Bankhead supported foster children and helped families escape the Spanish Civil War and World War II. She was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1972, and the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1981. During her career, Bankhead amassed nearly 300 film, stage, television and radio roles.
The only thing I regret about my life is the length of it. If I had to live my life again I'd make all the same mistakes--only sooner.
Cocaine habit-forming? Of course not. I ought to know. I've been using it for years.
Say anything about me, darling, as long as it isn't boring.
I'm the foe of moderation, the champion of excess.
I'm the foe of moderation, the champion of excess. If I may lift a line from a die-hard whose identity is lost in the shuffle, 'I'd rather be strongly wrong than weakly right.'
Working on television is like being shot out of a cannon. They cram you all up with rehearsals, then someone lights a fuse and -- .BANG! -- there you are in someone's living room.
Whatever you have read I have said is almost certainly untrue, except if it is funny, in which case I definitely said it.
Will TV kill the theater? If the programs I have seen, save for Kukla, Fran and Ollie, the ball games and the fights, are any criterion, the theater need not wake up in a cold sweat.
Cocaine isn't habit forming. I should know -- I've been using it for years.
My father warned me about men and booze but he never said anything about women and cocaine.
Of course cocaine is not adictive, darling. I should know, I've been doing it for years.
Too many of our countrymen rejoice in stupidity, look upon ignorance as a badge of honor. They condemn everything they don't understand.
In my lifetime I've been to bed with men, women, and odd pieces of furniture.
It's unlikely I'll ever submit to a psychiatrist's couch. I don't want some stranger prowling around through my psyche, monkeying with my id. I don't need an analyst to tell me that I have never had any sense of security. Who has?
I've had a man and I've had a woman, and there's got to be something better.
Do you know what my ambition is in life? To be without ambition. As far back as I can remember I've been absolutely hag-ridden. I'd like to attain the state of mind that the Indians call Nirvana. That, for me, would happen if I were free of ambition.
For acting, darlings, is the world's most perilous trade. Compared with actors, steeple jacks and deep-sea divers lead snug and placid lives.
Going down on a woman gives me a stiff neck, going down on a man gives me lockjaw and conventional sex gives me claustrophobia.
Fill what is empty, empty what is full, and scratch where it itches.
My progress reminded me of the horses in The Whip. They raced at the limit of their speed directly toward the audience. But they raced on a treadmill which canceled out their progress.
No man worth his salt, no man of spirit and spine, no man for whom I could have any respect, could rejoice in the identification of Tallulah's husband. It's tough enough to be bogged down in a legend. It would be even tougher to marry one.
If you know your Bible and your Shakespeare and can shoot craps, you have a liberal education.
I have been tight as a tick! Fried as a mink! Stiff as a goat!
I think the Republican party should be placed in drydock and have the barnacles scraped off its bottom.
A frozen daiquiri of a scorching afternoon is soothing. It makes living more tolerable.
Drink reacts on its practitioners in conflicting ways. One brave can knock off a quart of Scotch and look and act as sober as Herbert Hoover. Another, after three Martinis, makes two-cushion carroms off the chaise lounge as he attempts to negotiate the bathroom.
To the critic who wrote a negative review: I am sitting in the smallest room of the house. Your review is before me. Soon it will be behind me.
I detest acting because it is sheer drudgery.
There have only been two geniuses in the world -- Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.
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.
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.
I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic, and the others either give me a stiff neck or lockjaw.
I have three phobias which, could I mute them, would make my life as slick as a sonnet, but as dull as ditch water: I hate to go to bed, I hate to get up, and I hate to be alone.
I did what I could to inflate the rumor I was on my way to stardom. What I was on my way to, by any mathematical standards known to man, was oblivion, by way of obscurity.
I have been absolutely hag-ridden with ambition. If I could wish to have anything in the world it would be to be free of ambition.
The less I behave like Whistler's mother the night before, the more I look like her the morning after.
I've been called many things, but never an intellectual.
There is less in this than meets the eye.
Acting is a form of confession.
If you really want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, dahling. Be an audience.
I'm as pure as the driven slush.
They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum.
Nobody can be exactly me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.
I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late start without me.
Television could perform a great service in mass education, but there's no indication its sponsors have anything like this on their minds.
It's the good girls who keep diaries; the bad girls never have the time.
I read Shakespeare and the Bible, and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.
Here's a rule I recommend: Never practice two vices at once.
My heart is as pure as the driven slush.
I'd rather be strongly wrong than weakly right.
If I had to live my life again, I'd make the same mistakes, only sooner.
(On seeing a former lover for the first time in years) I thought I told you to wait in the car.