Demopolis's Dramatic Daughter
Happy Birthday to Southern playwright Lillian Hellman!
Lillian Hellman was born in New Orleans today in 1905. She wrote her first play, “The Children’s Hour,” at the age of 26, and it premiered on Broadway in 1934. But it’s 1939’s “The Little Foxes” that Demopolis, Alabama, remembers her for. Starring Alabama actress Tallulah Bankhead and adapted for film starring Bette Davis, the play’s Hubbard characters are said to have been influenced by Hellman’s Demopolis relatives the Marxes. In the play, the family plantation of Lionnet is also said to be modeled after Greek Revival mansions Bluff Hall and Lyon Hall in town. A marker honoring Hellman sits outside the old opera house in downtown Demopolis, while Bluff Hall, overlooking the Tombigbee River, is open for tours. Lyon Hall (pictured below) is just a few blocks away and open for tours by appointment.