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Anne Bancroft

Real name: Anna Maria Louisa Italiano
Birthdate: September 17, 1931
Status: Married
Partner: Mel Brooks

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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 to Michael and Mildred Italiano, 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.

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 1960 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.Anne 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.

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.

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.

Mel Brooks held a memorial service for her some weeks later and advised the guests that if anyone felt like grieving, to "keep it to yourself". Among the attendees was Bancroft's costar in The Miracle Worker, actress Patty Duke. When a reporter asked Duke's opinion of Bancroft, Duke replied that she could not think of enough superlatives.

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.


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