Letter from Billie Holiday to Her Former Lover, Tallulah Bankhead re: the former’s autobiography, “Lady Sings The Blues”:~ circa 1956

Dear Miss Bankhead:
I thought I was a friend of yours. That’s why there was nothing in my book that was unfriendly to you, unkind or libelous. Because I didn’t want to drag you, I tried six times last month to talk to you on the damn phone, and tell you about the book just as a matter of courtesy. That bitch you have who impersonates you kept telling me to call back and when I did, it was the same deal until I gave up. But while I was working out of town, you didn’t mind talking to Doubleday and suggesting behind my damned back that I had flipped and/or made up those little mentions of you in my book. Baby, Cliff Allen and Billy Heywood are still around. My maid who was with me at the Strand isn’t dead either. There are plenty of others around who remember how you carried on so you almost got me fired out of the place. And if you want to get shitty, we can make it a big shitty party. We can all get funky together!
I don’t know whether you’ve got one of those damn lawyers telling you what to do or not. But I’m writing this to give you a chance to answer back quick and apologize to me and to Doubleday. Read my book over again. I understand they sent you a duplicate manuscript. There’s nothing in it to hurt you. If you think so, let’s talk about it like I wanted to last month. It’s going to press right now so there is no time for monkeying around. Straighten up and fly right, Banky! Nobody’s trying to drag you.
Billie Holiday.

during the writing of the book~ LADY SINGS THE BLUES,  journalist william duffy stated~
" publishing lawyers said she used the word bitch too much.... for her it was an affectionate term, like sweet bitch, cute bitch, lil bitch...  the publishers objected, so billie wrote a note in her own hand~  change bitch to whore."

when a friend commented that billie holiday should appear on the ed sullivan show, she replied, "baby... that mutha fucka used to smoke hops with me uptown... he wouldn't want my black ass  anywhere near his show."

during her last stay in hospital for liver failure,   ex husband louie mccay came to visit her on her death bed. he began to recite protestant prayers ~ the lord is my Shepard.... after he left, she opened one eye and said, "is he gone?" yes i said. she sat up and said, "you know, i;ve always been a religious bitch, but if that dirty mutha fucka believes in god~ i'm thinking it over."
friend & journalist- william duffy~ lady sings the blues

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