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Tallulah Bankhead

  • Oh, my, the less I behave like Whistler's Mother the night before, the more I look like her the morning after.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Margaret Case Harriman, The Vicious Circle: The Story of the Algonquin Round Table ()
  • Here's a rule I recommend. Never practice two vices at once.

  • I detest acting because it is sheer drudgery.

  • There's less in this than meets the eye.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • 1922, Tallulah: My Autobiography ()
  • It's one of the tragic ironies of the theater that only one man in it can count on steady work — the night watchman.

  • 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.'

  • Too many of our countrymen rejoice in stupidity, look upon ignorance as a badge of honor. They condemn everything they don't understand.

  • In the theater lying is looked upon as an occupational disease.

  • Most of the men or women who have contributed to our civilization or our culture have been vilified in their day. ... As we denounce the rebellious, the nonconformists, so we reward mediocrity so long as it mirrors herd standards.

  • Acting is a form of confession.

  • We're harmless megalomaniacs, fanatic in our devotion to a profession which rarely rewards us with a livelihood. Since we court public display we're the foes of privacy. The glass house is our favorite residence.

  • 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.

  • Cocaine habit-forming? Of course not. I ought to know. I've been using it for years.

  • If you really want to help the American theater, don't be an actress, dahling. Be an audience.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Look ()
  • I'm as pure as the driven slush.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in The Observer ()
  • Whatever you have read I have said is almost certainly untrue, except if it is funny, in which case I definitely said it.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Look ()
  • For acting, darlings, is the world's most perilous trade. Compared with actors, steeple jacks and deep-sea divers lead snug and placid lives.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Good Housekeeping ()
  • Constant repetition of the same words and same gestures to a crowd of bronchial strangers can paralyze the will and unhinge the mind.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Good Housekeeping ()
  • I don't care what they say so long as they talk about me.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Lee Israel, Miss Tallulah Bankhead ()
  • I don't know what I am, dahling. I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic. And the others give me either stiff neck or lockjaw.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Lee Israel, Miss Tallulah Bankhead ()
  • [On being asked in her later years if she were Tallulah:] I'm what's left of her, dahling.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Lee Israel, Miss Tallulah Bankhead ()
  • A Republican. A Republican. That's worse than being a goddamned Communist!

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Lee Israel, Miss Tallulah Bankhead ()
  • 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.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Lee Israel, Miss Tallulah Bankhead ()
  • They used to photograph Shirley Temple through gauze. They should photograph me through linoleum.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Leslie Halliwell, ed., The Filmgoer's Book of Quotes ()
  • The only thing I regret about my past is the length of it. If I had to live my life again I'd make all the same mistakes — only sooner.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in John Robert Colombo, Popcorn in Paradise ()
  • I'll come and make love to you at five o'clock. If I'm late, start without me.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Ted Morgan, Maugham ()
  • [Encountering a group from the Salvation Army and giving them a $50 bill:] Don't bother to thank me. I know what a perfectly ghastly season it's been for you Spanish dancers.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Dorothy Hermann, With Malice Towards All ()
  • Why should I have to pay someone to tell them what I'm going to tell them anyway. Sooner or later, I always tell everybody everything, dahling.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Doug McClelland, Star Speak ()
  • It's the good girls who keep diaries. The bad girls never have the time.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Doug McClelland, Star Speak ()
  • [To the woman in the next restroom stall who had no toilet tissue either:] Well, then, dahling, do you have two fives for a ten?

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Doug McClelland, Star Speak ()
  • Nobody can be exactly like me. Sometimes even I have trouble doing it.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Gloria Adler, ed., She Said, She Said ()
  • [On being invited to a 9 a.m. event:] Oh, are there two nine o'clocks in the day?

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Ned Sherrin, The Oxford Dictionary of Humorous Quotations ()
  • I read Shakespeare and the Bible and I can shoot dice. That's what I call a liberal education.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Ronald Warren Deutsch, ed., Inspirational Hollywood ()
  • [To the man who came up to her at a party and exclaimed effusively, 'Tallulah! I haven't seen you for 41 years!':] I thought I told you to wait in the car.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in Nigel Rees, Cassell's Humorous Quotations ()
  • I have been tight as a tick! Fried as a mink! Stiff as a goat!

  • I'm not childless, darling. I am childfree.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • in James Robert Parish, Hollywood Divas: The Good, the Bad, and the Fabulous ()
  • [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.

    • Tallulah Bankhead
  • There have been only two authentic geniuses in the world, Willie Mays and Willie Shakespeare.

    • Tallulah Bankhead
  • Television could perform a great service in mass education, but there's no indication its sponsors have anything like this on their minds.

  • Don't be taken in by the guff that critics are killing the theater. Commonly they sin on the side of enthusiasm. Too often they give their blessing to trash.

  • I don't know what I want. Nobody knows — or if they do, they don't know for long. I mean, you don't want the same thing long enough for it to be What You Want From Life in capital letters.

    • Tallulah Bankhead,
    • "I Want Everything," in Edmund George Cousins, ed., What I Want From Life ()

Tallulah Bankhead, U.S. actor

(1902 - 1968)

Full name: Tallulah Brockman Bankhead.