Anna Maria Italiano was born on September 17, 1931 in the Bronx, New York. She was the second of three daughters born to Michael Italiano (1906-2001) and Mildred DiNapoli (1908-2010). After changing her name to Anne Bancroft, she made her cinema debut in Don't Bother to Knock (1952). Over the next five years, she appeared in a lot of forgettable movies as a supporting actress. Then, in 1957 she left the film industry and was off-screen until 1962, when she played Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker (1962), for which she won an Oscar. Despite her Oscar win, Bancroft was not given the kinds of parts that created big screen stardom. She worked only occasionally during the next 30 years, but did give great performances as a lead actress in The Pumpkin Eater (1964), Young Winston (1972), The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975), To Be or Not to Be (1983) and 84 Charing Cross Road (1987).
The most famous role of her career was a supporting role, as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967). Her status as the "older woman" in the film is iconic, although in real life, Bancroft was just 35 and only five years older than co-star Dustin Hoffman, who at age 30 played a 20 year old being seduced by a woman more than twice his age. Bancroft would later express her frustration over the fact that the film overshadowed her other work. By the 1990s, her transition to full-time supporting actress in feature films was complete. She appeared in such movies as Point of No Return (1993), G.I. Jane (1997), Great Expectations (1998) and Keeping the Faith (2000), but television provided Bancroft with larger and often meatier roles. She starred in seven made-for-TV films during her later years, all of which earned her major award nominations, including an Emmy Award for Deep in My Heart (1999) (TV).
Sadly, on June 6, 2005, Anne Bancroft died at age 73 of uterine cancer in New York City. Her death surprised many, as she had not released any details of her illness to the public. Among her survivors was her mother Mildred, her husband of forty years (Mel Brooks), and her only child (Max Brooks) who was born in 1972. Her final film, the animated feature Delgo (2008), was released posthumously in 2008 and dedicated to her memory.
|Mel Brooks||(5 August 1964 - 6 June 2005) (her death) 1 child|
|Martin May||(1 July 1953 - 13 February 1957) (divorced)|
In most of her films, she habitually removes an earring before answering a telephone
Husky resonant voice
She and Mel Brooks met on the set of a talk show, and Mel later paid a woman who worked on the show to tell him which restaurant Anne was going to eat at that night so he could "accidentally" bump into her again and strike up a conversation.
Graduated from the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in Manhattan.
She and Mel Brooks married at New York City Hall, where a passer-by served as their witness.
Nieces: Julie and Teresa.
Said that director Arthur Penn had the greatest impact on her career.
Parents: Michael (1906-2001) and Mildred (1908-2010).
Sisters: Joanne (older) and Phyllis (younger)
1999: She became the 15th performer to win the Triple Crown of acting. Oscar: Best Actress, The Miracle Worker (1962), Tonys: Best Supporting Actress-Play, "Two for the Seesaw" (1958) and Best Actress-Play, "The Miracle Worker" (1960), and Emmy: Best Supporting Actress-Miniseries/Movie, Deep in My Heart (1999) (TV).
One of only eight actors to have won both the Tony and the Oscar for having portrayed the same roles on stage and screen. The others are Joel Grey (Cabaret (1972)), Shirley Booth (Come Back, Little Sheba (1952)), Rex Harrison (My Fair Lady (1964)), Yul Brynner (The King and I (1956)), Paul Scofield (A Man for All Seasons (1966)), José Ferrer (Cyrano de Bergerac (1950)) and Jack Albertson (The Subject Was Roses (1968)).
Has won two Tony Awards: in 1958, as Best Supporting or Featured Actress (Dramatic) for "Two for the Seesaw", and in 1960, as Best Actress (Dramatic) for "The Miracle Worker", a role she recreated in her Oscar-winning performance in the film version of the same name, The Miracle Worker (1962). She was also Tony nominated in 1978 as Best Actress (Play) for "Golda", in which she played the title character, Golda Meir.
1967: She accepted the Oscar for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" on behalf of Elizabeth Taylor, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony.
1993: She (together with Dustin Hoffman) accepted the Oscar for "Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material from Another Medium" on behalf of Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony.
April 2005: First grandchild, Henry Michael Brooks, born.
1987: Was booked to appear on the British chat show "Wogan" (1982). In the green room five minutes before airtime, host Terry Wogan informed her that the show was live. According to Wogan she turned a deathly shade of pale and said she never did live television. In order to calm her down, Wogan suggested that she count 1, 2, 3... before walking on. When she was called onto the set, she could quite noticeably be seen counting whilst walking to her seat. She remained very uncomfortable and all her answers were monosyllabic. Wogan still says she was his most difficult guest.
She was less than 6 years older than Dustin Hoffman, although in The Graduate (1967) her character is supposed to be more than twice his age. She was only 8 years older than Katharine Ross, who played her daughter in the film.
She said that at the start of her career, 20th Century Fox thought that her real name--Anna Maria Italiano--was "too ethnic", and gave her several options for a new one. She chose Bancroft because she thought it sounded dignified.
Her performance as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967) is ranked #47 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Movie Characters of All Time.
In 1963, she won her Oscar for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" against fellow contender Geraldine Page. In 1986, it was Page who won the Oscar for "Best Actress in a Leading Role" beating out Bancroft, who was nominated for her performance in Agnes of God (1985).
Said that for many years after doing The Graduate (1967), young men would tell her that she was the first woman they had sexual fantasies about.
1998: Made a special appearance at the The 70th Annual Academy Awards (1998) (TV) and participated in the Oscar Winners Tribute sequence along with other Academy Award winners.
Godmother of Alan Yentob's children.
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 29-31. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
Has a street named after her in Iowa City, Iowa.
She studied drama at HB Studio in Greenwich Village in New York City.
Is one of twelve actresses to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, Emmy and Tony); the others in chronological order are Helen Hayes, Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Audrey Hepburn, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith and Ellen Burstyn.
Received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6368 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California.
I was at a point where I was ready to say, "I am what I am because of what I am and if you like me I'm grateful, and if you don't, what am I going to do about it?"
Life is here only to be lived so that we can, through life, earn the right to death, which to me is paradise. Whatever it is that will bring me the reward of paradise, I'll do the best I can.
The best way to get most husbands to do something is to suggest that perhaps they're too old to do it.
When [Mel Brooks] told his Jewish mother he was marrying an Italian girl, she said: "Bring her over. I'll be in the kitchen - with my head in the oven".
[of her Mrs. Robinson role in The Graduate (1967)] Film critics said I gave a voice to the fear we all have: that we'll reach a point in our lives, look around and realize that all the things we said we'd do and become will never come to be - and that we're ordinary.
[from 1984] The only reason I'm still not doing "Daughter of Gorilla at Large" is because my personal life had become a shambles. Every picture I did was worse than the last one and every man I was in love with was worse than the last one. I was terribly immature. I was going steadily downhill in terms of self-respect and dignity.
[on John Ford] Marvelous but loony, tearing out pages of the script everywhere.
 When I arrived in town, the movie industry was looking for sexpot glamor girls. I didn't qualify. Nor was I ever offered a top-flight movie. But there isn't any bitterness on my part. I wasn't as good an actress then as I am now.
[on being married to Mel Brooks] When he comes home at night and I hear his key in the lock I say to myself, 'Oh good! The party's about to begin.
|"Freddie and Max" (1990)||£250,000|
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