Died when: 66 years 316 days
Star Sign: Aquarius
Tallulah Brockman Bankhead (January 31, 1902 – December 12, 1968) was an American actress of the stage and screen. 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. Bankhead was a member of the Brockman Bankhead family, a prominent Alabama political family; her grandfather and uncle were U.S. Senators and her father served as an 11-term member of Congress, the final two as Speaker of the House of Representatives. Tallulah's support of liberal causes such as civil rights broke with the tendency of the Southern Democrats to support a more typically aligned agenda and she often opposed her own family publicly. Primarily an actress of the stage, Bankhead did have one hit film—Alfred Hitchcock's Lifeboat (1944) —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, smoked around 120 cigarettes per day, and was known for her promiscuous uninhibited sex life with both men and women, with Bankhead very outspoken about her vices. Bankhead was kind and generous to those in need, supporting disadvantaged foster children and helping several families escape the Spanish Civil War and World War II. Bankhead was inducted into the American Theater Hall of Fame in 1972, and the Alabama Women's Hall of Fame in 1981. Upon her death, Bankhead had amassed nearly 300 film, stage, television, and radio roles.