Born 1902 in Huntsville, Alabama, American actress Tallulah Bankhead was known for her husky voice, outrageous personality, and devastating wit. Originating some of the 20th century theater’s preeminent roles in comedy and melodrama, she gained acclaim as an actress on both sides of the Atlantic. Bankhead became an icon of the tempestuous, flamboyant actress, and her unique voice and mannerisms are often subject to imitation and parody.
Primarily an actress of the stage, Bankhead did have one hit on film—Alfred Hitchcock’s Lifeboat—as well as a brief but successful career on radio. She later made appearances on television as well.
In her personal life, Bankhead struggled with alcoholism and drug addiction, and was infamous for her uninhibited sex life. Bankhead was capable of great kindness and generosity to those in need, supporting disadvantaged foster children and helping several families escape the Spanish Civil War and World War II.
Bankhead died in 1968 at the age of 66. Upon her death, she had amassed nearly 300 film, stage, television, and radio roles.