Look Back on the Stage Career of Tallulah Bankhead | Playbill

Photo Features Look Back on the Stage Career of Tallulah Bankhead Bankhead was born January 31, 1902.
Mary Farrell and Tallulah Bankhead in Midgie Purvis Friedman-Abeles/©NYPL for the Performing Arts

Tallulah Bankhead, perhaps best known for her Broadway stints in Lillian Hellman's The Little Foxes and Thornton Wilder's The Skin of Our Teeth, was born January 31, 1902. She was also seen on Broadway in shows such as Private Lives, Eugenia, and Midgie Purvis (for which she was nominated for a Tony Award).

A true theatrical original (it was said, mostly by her and often, that All About Eve's Margo Channing was based on her), Bankhead was as famous for her offstage antics and bons mots as she was for her onstage performances. The list of witticisms attributed to her are legion—including "There's less to this than meets the eye," "I'm as pure as the driven slush," and "Only good girls keep diaries. Bad girls don't have time"—far fewer are her onscreen roles, though Alfred Hitchock's Lifeboat, in which she starred, remains a classic. She's been portrayed onstage by everyone from Helen Gallagher and Kathleen Turner to Valerie Harper, who earned a Tony nomination as Bankhead for 2010's Looped.

Tallulah Bankhead Onstage

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