Sunday, July 29, 2012

Quote: Tallulah Bankhead


Caution: risqué language 

“The less I behave like Whistler's mother the night before, the more I look like her the morning after.” 

-           Tallulah Bankhead, after a party given by Dorothy Parker

Whister’s Mother

Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (1902 –1968) (she was named after her paternal grandmother, who, in turn, was named after the town of Tallulah Falls in Georgia) was an American stage and screen actress known for her deep voice, flamboyant personality, romances with men and women, and for her support of liberal causes, all the more notable for her coming from Alabama at a time of Southern conservatism.
Some Tallulah Bankhead anecdotes follow.

Whilst doing her business in a rest room, she noticed that the toilet paper had run out. She slipped a $10 bill under the next stall and bellowed, "Do you have change, darling?"

On the set of The Loretta Young Show, where prudish Young (pictured above) had decreed that any person who cursed had to pay a 25 cent fine,  Tallulah put a $20 note into the money jar and said, "Fuck you, Loretta, you big cunt!"

In an interview with Dick Cavett, which appeared in a 1993 television documentary “The Unknown Marx Brothers, Cavett told of Bankhead meeting Chico Marx at a party.  This was before she had become famous, and when she was still prominent for being the daughter of William B Bankhead, Alabama politician, member of the  US House of Representatives and Speaker of the House. 

Marx had been cautioned to not display any of his typically crude comments and behaviour.  The two met over the punch bowl and exchanged greetings:

Chico:  “Miss Bankhead.”

Tallulah:  “Mr Marx.”

Everyone breathed a sigh of relief.

Chico:  “You know, I really want to fuck you.”

Tallulah:  “And so you shall, you old fashioned boy.”

An early photo of the Marx Brothers, left to right:  Harpo (Adolph), Gummo (Milton), Chico (Leonard) and Groucho (Julius)


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  4. I read about that incident years ago. However, the quote given in the book I was reading said, "And so you shall, you funny little man!". I wonder which quote is the correct one. The one I read is funnier :)

    1. It’s funny. I just remember Dick Cavett recalling the Marx quote, not the response. I like hers almost more!


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