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ANNE BANCROFT (1931-2005)
Anne Bancroft was one of the great movie actresses, she always came over as a warm and interesting human being who was full of hidden depths. She could play funny and seductive with the edge of always feeling that there was a dangerous side to her. So watch out!
She was a Roman Catholic who listed her interests as politics, Israel, ballet and exercising.
Anne was born in the Bronx (New York City) and started at age 4 to train as a dancer. Her real name was Anna Maria Louise Italiano but she changed this to Anne Marno when she was offered roles on TV.
Later she was signed as a starlet with 20th Century Fox and changed her name to Anne Bancroft.
She claimed early on "the man I marry must accept the fact that I am a totally involved actress,"
She first married Martin May in 1954 but this marriage only lasted 4 years. So perhaps he didn't appreciate her philosophy.
It must have been frustrating to her that no one noticed her fine performance in "Don't Bother To Knock"(1952). After that she was only offered mediocre roles in B movies such as "Gorilla at Large" so she decided to go to Broadway which is where she finally made her mark. She received a Tony award for playing opposite Henry Fonda in "Two for the Seesaw" (1958).
Another Tony followed for her performance in "The Miracle Worker".
The movie industry had to take her seriously after that and she received an Oscar for Best Actress for repeating her role in the wonderful film version of "The Miracle Worker"with Patti Duke. After another great performance in "The Pumpkin Eater" in 1964 her career was secure.
She married actor and producer Mel Brooks in 1964. Mel said about their first meeting, "I fell in love with her then and there."
They were an unlikely partnership but the chemistry obviously worked as they stayed together for 41 years until her death. They often refused to discuss their relationship during interviews saying "It's nobody's business but ours". Anne did once say "We rarely talk about work. I think it's very difficult to be married no matter whether it's in Hollywood or Pocatello, Idaho."
They hardly worked together, but in 1967 she broke that rule by taking a single cameo role in Brook's "Silent Movie".
In 1967 came the role she will be most remembered for, that of Mrs. Robinson in "The Graduate".
She did a sensational job of portraying the dangerous, preying older woman who you couldn't help feeling great sympathy for. No wonder that's the role everyone remembers! Dustin Hoffman though impressive just didn't quite match up to her. She was nominated for another Academy Award for this tour de force which showed the whole range of acting from high drama to great comedy.
She brought her special brand of magic to the film "84 Charing Cross Road" (1986) playing opposite Anthony Hopkins. It's one of my favourite movies.
One of my Anne's quotes that I like most is this one - "The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they're too old to do it." hahaha too true!
She died of cancer on June 6, 2005, at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York.
The lights on Broadway were dimmed in her honour when the news was announced.