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Anne Bancroft (September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005) was an American actress associated with the method school of acting.

Early life

Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in the Bronxmarker, New Yorkmarker, the daughter of Mildred (née DiNapoli), a telephone operator, and Michael Italiano, a dress pattern maker. Her parents were both children of Italian immigrants.Bancroft graduated from Christopher Columbus High Schoolmarker in the Bronx in 1948, and attended HB Studio, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Actors Studiomarker, and the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women at UCLAmarker. After appearing in a number of live television dramas under the name Anne Marno, she was told to change her surname for her film debut in Don't Bother to Knock in 1952.

Career

Bancroft was a contract player in the early days of her career just as the studio contract system was ending. She left Hollywood because of the poor quality of roles she was being offered and returned to New York.

In 1958, Bancroft made her Broadway debut as lovelorn, Bronx-talkin' Gittel Mosca opposite Henry Fonda (as the married man Gittel loves) in William Gibson's two-character play Two for the Seesaw, directed by Arthur Penn. For Gittel, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. (Though her role was quite equal to Fonda's, he, an established film actor, was the star, and so she was eligible in the featured category). She subsequently won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play in 1960, again with playwright Gibson and director Penn, when she played Annie Sullivan, the sight-impaired, heroically indefatigable Irish girl who teaches the child Helen Keller to communicate in The Miracle Worker. She took the latter role back to Hollywoodmarker, and won the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1962, with Patty Duke repeating her success as Helen alongside her. Bancroft had returned to Broadway to star in Mother Courage and her Children. Joan Crawford accepted Bancroft's Oscar on her behalf, and later presented the award to her in New Yorkmarker. She is one of the very distinct few to have won an Academy Award and Tony Award for the same role. Bancroft also co-starred as a medieval nun obsessed with a priest opposite Jason Robards in the 1965 Broadway production of John Whiting's controversial play The Devils. Produced by Alexander H. Cohen and directed by Michael Cacoyannis, it ran for a total of 31 performances.

A highly-acclaimed television special, Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man, won Bancroft an Emmy Award for her singing and acting. Bancroft is one of a very select few entertainers to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award.

Other major film roles were in The Pumpkin Eater, 7 Women, and what is unquestionably Bancroft's best-known role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate. In the last, she played an unhappily married woman who seduces the much-younger recent college graduate played by Dustin Hoffman. Although Bancroft is now identified as Mrs. Robinson, she was not the first choice for the role; Patricia Neal, Doris Day and Jeanne Moreau all turned it down. Bancroft was ambivalent about her appearance in The Graduate; she stated in several interviews that the role overshadowed all of her other work. Although her status as the "older woman" in the film is iconic, Bancroft was actually only 36 years old to Dustin Hoffman's 30 when the film was released.

In 1980, Bancroft made her debut as a screenwriter and director in Fatso, in which she starred along with Dom DeLuise. Bancroft was also the original choice to play Joan Crawford in the 1981 movie Mommie Dearest, but backed out at the 11th hour, and was replaced by Faye Dunaway. She was also a front-runner for the role of Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment, but declined in order to act in the remake of To Be or Not to Be (1983).

Bancroft received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Famemarker at 6368 Hollywood Boulevardmarker for her film work.

Marriage and family

Bancroft was married to Martin May from July 1, 1953, to February 13, 1957. There were no children.

In 1961, Bancroft met Mel Brooks at a rehearsal for the Perry Como variety show. Brooks bribed a studio employee to find out where she was having dinner so he could meet her again. Once Bancroft met Brooks, she went to her therapist and told him they had to conclude the therapy as fast as possible because she had met the man she was going to marry.

Bancroft and Brooks married on August 5, 1964, at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau near New York City Hallmarker and were together until her death. They had one son, Maximillian, in 1972. They were seen three times on the screen together: once dancing a tango in Brooks's 1976 Silent Movie; in Brooks's 1983 remake of To Be or Not to Be; and in the episode entitled "Opening Night" of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. They were also in Dracula: Dead and Loving It, but never appeared together. Brooks produced the 1980 film The Elephant Man, in which Bancroft acted. He also was executive-producer for the 1987 film 84 Charing Cross Road in which she starred. Both Brooks and Bancroft appeared in season six of The Simpsons. According to the DVD commentary, when Bancroft came to record her lines for the episode "Fear of Flying", the Simpsons writers asked if Brooks had come with her (which he had), she joked, 'I can't get rid of him!'

Death

Bancroft died of uterine cancer on June 6, 2005 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York Citymarker. Her death surprised even some of her friends; she was intensely private and had not released details of her illness.

Bancroft was survived by Brooks, their son, Maximillian, a grandson, her mother Mildred and two sisters, Joanne and Phyllis. She is interred at Kensico Cemeterymarker in Valhalla, New Yorkmarker, near her father, Michael Italiano. A white marble monument with a weeping angel adorns her grave.

Work

Theater

Year Production Notes
1958 Two for the Seesaw Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play
1959 The Miracle Worker Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
1963 Mother Courage and Her Children
1965 The Devils
1967 The Little Foxes
1968 A Cry of Players
1977 Golda Nominated — Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play
1981 Duet for One
2002 Occupant


Film

Year Film Role Notes
1952 Don't Bother to Knock Lyn Lesley
1953 Tonight We Sing Emma Hurok
Treasure of the Golden Condor Marie, Comtesse de St. Malo
The Kid from Left Field Marian Foley
1954 Gorilla at Large Laverne Miller
Demetrius and the Gladiators Paula
The Raid Katie Bishop
1955 New York Confidential Kathy Lupo
A Life in the Balance María Ibinia
The Naked Street Rosalie Regalzyk
The Last Frontier Corinna Marston
1956 Walk the Proud Land Tianay
1957 Nightfall Marie Gardner
The Restless Breed Angelita
The Girl in Black Stockings Beth Dixon
1962 The Miracle Worker Annie Sullivan Academy Award for Best Actress
BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
San Sebastián International Film Festival Prize San Sebastián
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama



1964 The Pumpkin Eater Jo Armitage Oscar BAFTA Award for Best Foreign Actress
Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Award
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress


1965 The Slender Thread Inga Dyson
1966 7 Women Dr. D.R. Cartwright
1967 The Graduate Mrs. Robinson Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role

1972 Young Winston Lady Jennie Churchill Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1974 Blazing Saddles Extra in Church Congregation uncredited
1975 The Prisoner of Second Avenue Edna Edison Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
The Hindenburg Ursula, The Countess
1976 Lipstick Carla Bondi
Silent Movie Herself
1977 Jesus Of Nazareth Mary Magdalene
The Turning Point Emma Jacklin Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
Nominated — BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama


1980 Fatso Antoinette also director and writer
The Elephant Man Mrs. Kendal
1983 To Be or Not to Be Anna Bronski Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1984 Garbo Talks Estelle Rolfe Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Musical or Comedy
1985 Agnes of God Mother Miriam Ruth Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
Nominated — Academy Award for Best Actress
1986 'night, Mother Thelma Cates Nominated — Golden Globe Award for Best Actress - Motion Picture Drama
1987 84 Charing Cross Road Helene Hanff BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Leading Role
1988 Torch Song Trilogy Ma Beckoff
1989 Bert Rigby, You're a Fool Meredith Perlestein
1992 Honeymoon in Vegas Bea Singer
Love Potion No. 9 Madame Ruth
1993 Point of No Return Amanda
Malice Mrs. Kennsinger
Mr. Jones Dr. Catherine Holland
1995 How to Make an American Quilt Glady Joe Cleary Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture
Home for the Holidays Adele Larson
Dracula: Dead and Loving It Madame Ouspenskaya (Gypsy Woman)
1996 The Sunchaser Dr. Renata Baumbauer
1997 G.I. Jane Sen. Lillian DeHaven
Critical Care Nun
1998 Great Expectations Ms. Dinsmoor
Mark Twain's America in 3D Narrator
Antz Queen voice
2000 Keeping the Faith Ruth Schram
Up at the Villa Princess San Ferdinando
2001 Heartbreakers Gloria Vogal/Barbara
In Search of Peace Golda Meir voice
2008 Delgo Sedessa Voice


Television

Year Title Role Notes
1967 ABC Stage 67 - I'm Getting Married Virginia
1970 Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man Emmy Award for Outstanding Variety or Musical Program - Variety and Popular Music
1974 Annie and the Hoods
1977 Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene Miniseries
1982 Marco Polo Marco's mother Miniseries
1990 Freddie and Max Maxine (Max) Chandler Six episodes
1992 Broadway Bound Kate Jerome Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Mrs. Cage Lillian Cage Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
1994 Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All Lucy Marsden (age 99-100) Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Great Performances - The Mother Mrs. Fanning
The Simpsons Dr. Zweig (voice) episode "Fear of Flying"
1996 Homecoming Abigail Tillerman Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie
1999 Deep in My Heart Gerry Eileen Cummins Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
2001 Haven Mama Gruber Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
2003 The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone Contessa Nominated — Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie
Nominated — Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film
Nominated — Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie

2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm Herself


References

External links




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