Celebrated for her sultry looks and saucy language, Tallulah Bankhead had a theatrical, film, radio and TV career that was renowned for her Bad Girl attitude and antics beyond the cameras.
By CBSNews.com producer David Morgan
Bankhead was born in Huntsville, Alabama on January 31, 1902 into a prominent political family.
There were Bankheads in Congress for six decades, including Senator John Hollis Bankhead, (left, pictured with his granddaughters Tallulah, second left, and Eugenia). Two of his sons were also a Senator and a Speaker of the House.
At 15 she won a Pictureplay contest and moved to New York, embarking on a stage career and making small appearances in films, some uncredited. But she gained even more fame as a fixture of the Algonquin Round Table.
In 1923 she began an eight-year string of stage appearances . . . and affairs. Here she is pictured with one amour, Count Anthony Bosardi, in November 1928.
Bankhead in the 1931 film "Tarnished Lady," the first directorial effort of George Cukor.
Bankhead starred in "My Sin" (1931), one of her early films shot in New York by director George Abbott and co-starring Fredric March.
In "The Cheat" (1932), a "pre-Code" tale of gambling and adultery, Bankhead is branded by evil Irving Pichel.
Bankhead in "Thunder Below" (1932).
Despite an attractive paycheck to appear in films, Bankhead reportedly said that the only reason she went to Hollywood was to [bleep] Gary Cooper. She starred with him in "Devil and the Deep" (1932).
Her Broadway appearances in the 1930s included her triumph in Lillian Hellman's "The Little Foxes" (1939).
Bankhead in "Faithless" (1932).
Though she had turned her back on Hollywood, her stage successes (including "The Skin of Our Teeth") led Alfred Hitchcock to offer her the lead in "Lifeboat."
Playing a journalist who survived a German U-boat attack in the 1944 Hitchcock classic, Bankhead received the New York Film Critics Best Actress Award.
Bankhead played Catherine the Great in "A Royal Scandal" (1945), directed by Otto Preminger and an uncredited Ernst Lubitsch.
Actor Rock Hudson, left, and actresses Gloria Swanson, center, and Tallulah Bankhead attend a party following the screening of "Pillow Talk," in which Hudson stars, at the Palace Theater in New York City, Oct. 12, 1959.
Bankhead bowed out of films to appear on stage, radio and TV, including playing the celebrity next door on the "Lucille Ball-Desi Arnaz Hour." Her last major film was the 1965 British thriller "Frantic" (called "Die! Die, My Darling" in the U.S.). But she did make a mark as criminal mastermind Black Widow in the TV series "Batman."
When being courted by the producers of "Batman" who suggested the show needed a campy performance, she reportedly said, "Don't talk to me about camp, dahling. I invented it!"