- Bankhead, Tallulah
- (1903-1968)This deep-voiced, drawling Huntsville, Alabama, native became an icon of the tempestuous, flamboyant actress, but she often transcended this image as a dominant figure of the popular theatre. If not the greatest actress of her age, Bankhead was undoubtedly one of its most fascinating, publicized for both her onstage brilliance and her offstage antics. She debuted in Squab Farm (1918), but spent much of her early career replacing the original stars of 39 East (1919), Footloose (1920), Danger (1921), and Her Temporary Husband (1922).Bankhead attracted attention when she originated roles in Rachel Crothers's Nice People (1921) and Martin Brown's The Exciters (1922). Unable to rise above secondary status, she moved to London and for over a decade dazzled English audiences, beginning with The Dancers (1923). Returning to Broadway with the cachet of her London triumphs, Bankhead created a range of memorable roles, the finest of which were her definitive characterization of the avaricious Regina Giddens in Lillian Hellman's* drama The Little Foxes* (1939) and her romp as the saucy Sabina Fairweather in Thornton Wilder's* The Skin of Our Teeth* (1942), a role that brought Bankhead the Best Actress award from the New York Drama Critics Circle.*
The Historical Dictionary of the American Theater. James Fisher.