Quotations From TALLULAH BANKHEAD


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  • It's one of the tragic ironies of the theater that only one man in it can count on steady work—the night watchman.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. actress. Tallulah, ch. 1 (1952).

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  • Cocaine habit-forming? Of course not. I ought to know. I've been using it for years.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. screen actor. Tallulah, ch. 4 (1952). According to Tallulah, this was the riposte she used to shock people when taking throat-lozenges. Apart from on one occasion, she claimed never to have used cocaine "except medicinally."
  • Let's not quibble! 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."
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. screen actor. Tallulah, ch. 4 (1952).

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  • Acting is a form of confession.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. actress. Tallulah, ch. 16 (1952).
  • 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.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. screen actor. Tallulah, ch. 1 (1952).

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  • Will TV kill the theater? If the programs I have seen, save for "Kukla, Fran and Ollie," the ball games and the fights, are any criterion, the theater need not wake up in a cold sweat.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. actress. Tallulah, ch. 1 (1952). Kukla, Fran and Ollie was a popular television show of the 1950s starring Fran Allison and Burr Tillstrom's hand puppets. At this point, Bankhead had never appeared on television; later, she would.

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  • There is less in this than meets the eye.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. screen actor. Quoted in Shouts and Murmurs, ch. 4, Alexander Woollcott (1922). Remark to Woollcott, referring to a revival of Maeterlinck's play Aglavaine and Selysette.
  • ... all my life I've been terrible at remembering people's names. I once introduced a friend of mine as Martini. Her name was actually Olive.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. actress. Originally quoted in an October 19, 1964 London newspaper. As quoted in Tallulah, photograph section at back, by Brendan Gill (1972). The Southern-born actress was explaining "why she calls everybody 'dahling.'" Parenthetically, Bankhead was known to be a heavy drinker.

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  • I've tried several varieties of sex. The conventional position makes me claustrophobic and the others give me a stiff neck or lockjaw.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. screen actor. Quoted in Lee Israel, Miss Tallulah Bankhead (1972).
  • We have played this show everywhere except underwater.
    Tallulah Bankhead (1903-1968), U.S. actress. As quoted in Tallulah, introduction, by Brendan Gill (1972). Of Noel Coward's Private Lives, with which she toured over a period of many years and played many times in many cities and towns.
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