ANNE BANCROFT Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Anna Maria Louisa Italiano                                                         
Born: 17 September 1931 The Bronx, New York                                               
Died: 6 June 2005 New York City, New York                                                 
Anne Bancroft (September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005) was an Academy Award-, Golden         
Globe-, Tony-, and Emmy-winning American method actress.                                 
Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in the Bronx, New York, 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 Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx in 1948, and             
attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Actors Studio, and the               
American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women at UCLA. 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.                   
Bancroft was a contract player in the early days of her career just as the               
studio contract system was ending. She left Hollywood and returned to New York           
due to the quality of roles she was being offered.                                       
In 1958 she appeared opposite Henry Fonda in the Broadway production of Two for           
the Seesaw, for which she won a Tony Award, and another in 1962 for The Miracle           
Worker. She took the latter role back to Hollywood, and won the Academy Award             
for Best Actress in 1962.                                                                 
A highly acclaimed television special, "Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man"           
won her an Emmy award for her clowning, singing and acting. Bancroft is one of a         
very select few entertainers to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award.                   
Bancroft as Mother Miriam Ruth in Agnes of God                                           
Other major film roles were in The Pumpkin Eater, 7 Women, and what is                   
unquestionably her best-known role, Mrs. Robinson, opposite Dustin Hoffman in             
the film The Graduate. Ironically, Bancroft, then only 36 years old, played               
opposite a 30-year-old Hoffman. Although Bancroft is now iconically identified           
as Mrs. Robinson, she was not the first choice for the role; Patricia Neal (who           
had recently suffered a stroke), Doris Day and Jeanne Moreau 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.                     
In 1980, she 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).                                                     
She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6368 Hollywood Boulevard.                 
From July 1, 1953, to February 13, 1957, she was married to Martin May. The               
marriage produced no children.                                                           
In 1961, Bancroft met Mel Brooks in 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.                                                       
They married on August 5, 1964, in New York City Hall 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. Brooks produced the 1980 film The           
Elephant Man, in which Bancroft acted. He also executive-produced the 1987 film           
84 Charing Cross Road in which she starred.                                               
Bancroft died on June 6, 2005 of uterine cancer aged 73 at Mount Sinai Hospital           
in New York City. Her death came as a surprise to even some of Bancroft's                 
friends; she was intensely private and had not released details of her illness.           
Bancroft was survived by Brooks, their son, a grandson, her mother and two               
sisters. She is interred at the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, near her         
father, Michael Italiano. A white marble monument with a weeping angel adorns             
her grave.