Historical records matching Anne Bancroft
About Anne Bancroft
Respected for her acting prowess and versatility, Anne Bancroft was one of a few entertainers to scoop the Triple Crown of acting: an Oscar, Emmy and Tony, after her acclaimed television special, Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man made up the trio in 1970. Bancroft is perhaps best remembered for her role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate.
She was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano on September 17, 1931, in New York, New York to Italian first generation American parents Michael and Mildred Italiano, the middle sister to Joanne and Phyllis. From the age of four, Bancroft was already attending dancing and acting lessons.
Initially, Bancroft found work on television in the early 1950s. She appeared on such shows as Studio One and used the stage name Anne Marno. In 1952, she got a film contract with 20th Century Fox and the head of the studio, Darryl F. Zanuck, renamed Anne Bancroft. She made her film debut opposite Marilyn Monroe in 1952’s Don’t Bother to Knock. Over the next few years, Bancroft appeared in several other, largely forgettable films, which failed to advance her career.
By 1958, Bancroft had enough of Hollywood and turned her attentions to Broadway, where she spent the next five years. She proved her mettle as a serious dramatic actress by winning a Tony for Two for the Seesaw in 1958. Two years later, she won her second Tony and a New York Drama Critics Award for her portrayal of Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker. Armed with these triumphs, Bancroft returned to Hollywood to appear in the movie version of The Miracle Worker (1962), reprising her role opposite Patty Duke who played Helen Keller. Her performance earned her an Oscar for Best Actress; unable to attend the ceremony because she was performing on Broadway in Mother Courage, she was presented with the award by Joan Crawford a week later on the Broadway stage.
Bancroft followed this victory with a string of emotional dramas that included The Pumpkin Eater, which was released in 1964, the same year she married filmmaker/comedian Mel Brooks. Just when it would look like she would be typecast in such dramas, Bancroft showed up in Mike Nichols' seminal comedy The Graduate, playing Mrs. Robinson, the ultimate "older woman," to Dustin Hoffman's confused Benjamin Braddock. Her role in the landmark film won her an Oscar nomination, to say nothing of a permanent dose of notoriety. Although Bancroft seemed destined for a stellar career and she remained one of the more well-respected actresses in Hollywood, a long string of so-so films kept her from reaching major stardom. Still, Bancroft turned in a number of memorable performances in films such as The Turning Point (1977), The Elephant Man (1980), To Be or Not to Be (her 1983 collaboration with husband Brooks), Agnes of God (1985), 84 Charing Cross Road (1986), and Torch Song Trilogy (1988). In 1980, Bancroft made her debut as a director/screenwriter in the darkly comic Dom DeLuise vehicle Fatso.
Throughout the 1990s and into the new millennium, Bancroft continued to be visible onscreen, appearing in films like How to Make an American Quilt (1995), Home for the Holidays (1995), and Keeping the Faith (2000). Her last performance would come postumously with a voice-role in the animated adventure Delgo.
Bancroft died of uterine cancer, age 73, in 2005. Among her survivors was her husband of 40 years, Mel Brooks, and their son Max Brooks.