SEPTEMBER 21: Fannie Flagg (1944-)

Happy birthday to Fannie Flagg!! The
lesbian actress, comedian, and author most well-known for her hit novel Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café turns
73-years-old today!

Fannie Flagg photographed by Andrew Southam in January of 2017 (x).

Patricia Neal was born on
September 21, 1944 in Birmingham, Alabama (the name Fannie Flagg was to come
later!). Her family was comfortably middle class, with her father owning a small
business in Birmingham and affording the family trips to the Gulf Coast in the
summer. It was her father who encouraged Fannie to pursue writing and
performing when she was young, which lead her to writing her first play at just
10-years-old. As a contestant in the Miss Alabama pageant, she won a
scholarship to acting school which later allowed her to book a job as a co-host
of a local television show. After the station denied Fannie a pay raise, she quit,
took on the stage name Fannie Flagg, and moved to New York hoping to make it as
an actress.

Living in New York in the 1960s,
Fannie wrote comedy skits for the nightclub Upstairs Downtown. One fateful
night, she was spotted by a television producer after one of the regular
performers took sick and Fannie was tapped to replace her that night. Soon, she
was hired as a staff writer for that same producer’s series Candid
Camera
. In the 1970s, her acting dreams finally came true and she made appearences on several game shows, the popular series The New Dick Van
Dyke Show
, and off-Broadway productions such as The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas. Her first novel, Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man, was
published in 1981. The semi-autobiographical novel stayed on the New York Times’s bestseller list for 10
weeks and put the name Fannie Flagg on the map. Her most famous book, Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Café,
was published six years later in 1987.

When Fried Green Tomatoes was made into a film in 1991, Fannie was
allowed to adapt the story to screenplay. The gig garnered her an Academy Award
nomination for Best Adapted Screenplay the same year. Although Fannie has been
secretive about her personal life, she is an out lesbian and had a public
relationship with the iconic activist and writer Rita Mae Brown in the late
1970s. To date, she has released a total of 10 books. Her latest, The Whole Town’s Talking, came out in November of 2016. 

-LC

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