Anna Maria Louisa Italiano
September 17, 1931
New York City, U.S.
|Died||June 6, 2005 (aged 73)|
New York City, U.S.
|Resting place||Kensico Cemetery|
|Other names||Ann(e) Marno|
Anne Bancroft (born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano; September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005) was an American actress. Respected for her acting prowess and versatility, Bancroft received an Academy Award, three BAFTA Awards, two Golden Globe Awards, two Tony Awards, two Primetime Emmy Awards, and a Cannes Film Festival Award. She is one of only 24 thespians to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.
Associated with the method acting technique, having studied under Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio, Bancroft made her film debut in the noir thriller Don't Bother to Knock in 1952, and then appeared in 14 other films over the following five years. In 1958 Bancroft made her Broadway debut with the play Two for the Seesaw, winning the Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Play. The following year she portrayed Anne Sullivan in the original Broadway production of The Miracle Worker, winning the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Play. Following her continued success on stage, Bancroft's film career was revived when she was cast in the acclaimed film adaptation of The Miracle Worker (1962) for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. Her film career further progressed with Oscar nominated performances in The Pumpkin Eater (1964), The Graduate (1967), The Turning Point (1977), and Agnes of God (1985).
Bancroft continued to act in the later half of her life, with prominent roles in The Elephant Man (1980), To Be or Not to Be (1983), Garbo Talks (1984), 84 Charing Cross Road (1987), Torch Song Trilogy (1988), Home for the Holidays (1995), G.I. Jane (1997), Great Expectations (1998), and Up at the Villa (2000). She received multiple Primetime Emmy Award nominations, including for the television films Broadway Bound (1992), Deep in My Heart (1999), for which she won, and The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone (2003). Bancroft died on June 6, 2005, at the age of 73, as a result of uterine cancer. She was married to director, actor, and writer Mel Brooks, with whom she had a son named Max.
Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa (or Luisa) Italiano on September 17, 1931, in the Bronx, New York City, the middle of three daughters of Mildred (née Di Napoli), a telephone operator, and Michael G. Italiano, a dress pattern maker. Her parents were Italian immigrants. In an interview, she stated that her family was originally from Muro Lucano, in the province of Potenza. She was of Roman Catholic faith.
Bancroft was raised in Little Italy, in the Belmont neighborhood of the Bronx, attended P.S. 12, later moving to 1580 Zerega Ave. and graduating from Christopher Columbus High School in 1948. She later attended HB Studio, the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Actors Studio and the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women at the University of California, Los Angeles. After appearing in a number of live television dramas, including Studio One and The Goldbergs under the name Anne Marno, later, at Darryl Zanuck's insistence, she chose the less Mediterranean surname of Bancroft "because it sounded dignified".
Bancroft made her screen debut with a major role in the 1952 Marilyn Monroe vehicle Don't Bother to Knock. She appeared in 14 films over the next five years, including Treasure of the Golden Condor (1953), Gorilla at Large (1954), Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954), New York Confidential (1955) and Walk the Proud Land (1956). In 1957, Bancroft was directed by Jacques Tourneur in a David Goodis adaptation, Nightfall. In 1958, she made her Broadway debut as lovelorn, Bronx-accented Gittel Mosca opposite Henry Fonda (as the married man Gittel loves) in William Gibson's two-character play Two for the Seesaw, directed by Arthur Penn. For this role, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play.
Bancroft won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play in 1960, again with playwright Gibson and director Penn, when she played Annie Sullivan, the young woman who teaches the child Helen Keller to communicate in The Miracle Worker. She appeared in the 1962 film version of the play and won the 1962 Academy Award for Best Actress, with Patty Duke repeating her own success as Keller alongside Bancroft. Because Bancroft had returned to Broadway to star in Mother Courage and Her Children, Joan Crawford accepted the Oscar on her behalf and later presented the award to her in New York.
Bancroft co-starred as a medieval nun obsessed with a priest (Jason Robards) in the 1965 Broadway production of John Whiting's play The Devils. Produced by Alexander H. Cohen and directed by Michael Cacoyannis, it ran for 63 performances.
"Annie's a very gutsy girl. I swear I wouldn't hesitate to put her in at shortstop for the New York Yankees."
Bancroft received a second Academy Award nomination for her performance in The Pumpkin Eater (1964).
Bancroft was widely known during this period for her role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967), for which she received a third Academy Award nomination. In the film, she played an unhappily married woman who seduces the son of her husband's business partner, the much younger recent college graduate played by Dustin Hoffman. In the movie, Hoffman's character later dates and falls in love with her daughter. Bancroft was ambivalent about her appearance in The Graduate; she said in several interviews that the role overshadowed her other work. Despite her character becoming an archetype of the "older woman" role, Bancroft was only eight years older than her onscreen daughter Katharine Ross, and just six years older than Hoffman.
A CBS television special, Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man (1970), won Bancroft an Emmy Award for her singing and acting. Bancroft was also a serious candidate to play Chris MacNeil in The Exorcist, but the filmmakers rejected her request to postpone the film’s shoot due to her being pregnant with her son Max.
Bancroft is one of ten actors to have won both an Academy Award and a Tony Award for the same role (as Annie Sullivan in The Miracle Worker), and one of very few entertainers to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award. This rare achievement is also known as the Triple Crown of Acting. She followed that success with a second television special, Annie and the Hoods (1974), which was telecast on ABC and featured her husband Mel Brooks as a guest star. She made an uncredited cameo in the film Blazing Saddles (1974), directed by Brooks. She received a fourth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress for her performance in The Turning Point (1977), and a fifth nomination for Best Actress for her performance in Agnes of God (1985).
Bancroft made her debut as a screenwriter and director in Fatso (1980), in which she starred with Dom DeLuise.
Bancroft was the original choice to play Joan Crawford in the film Mommie Dearest (1981), but backed out and was replaced by Faye Dunaway. She was also a front-runner for the role of Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment (1983), but declined so that she could act in the remake of To Be or Not to Be (1983) with Brooks. In 1988, she played Harvey Fierstein's mother in the film version of his play Torch Song Trilogy.
During the 1990s and early 2000s, Bancroft took supporting roles in a number of films in which she co-starred with major film stars, including Honeymoon in Vegas (1992), Love Potion No. 9 (1992), Malice (1993), Point of No Return (1993), Home for the Holidays (1995), How to Make an American Quilt (1995), G.I. Jane (1997), Great Expectations (1998), Keeping the Faith (2000), Up at the Villa (2000) and Heartbreakers (2001). She also lent her voice to the animated film Antz (1998).
Bancroft also starred in several television movies and miniseries, receiving six Emmy Award nominations (winning once for herself and shared for Annie, The Women in the Life of a Man), eight Golden Globe nominations (winning twice) and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.
Bancroft's last appearance was as herself in a 2004 episode of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm. She was cast in Spanglish (2004) later that year, but had to bow out due to a medical emergency. Her last project was the animated feature film Delgo, released posthumously in 2008. The film was dedicated to her.
Bancroft received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6368 Hollywood Boulevard for her work in television. At the time of her star's installation in 1960, she had recently appeared in several TV series. Bancroft was also a member of the American Theater Hall of Fame, having been inducted in 1992.
Bancroft's first husband was lawyer Martin May, of Lubbock, Texas; they married on July 1, 1953, separated in November 1955 and divorced on February 13, 1957. She had previously been engaged to actor John Ericson in 1951. Lee Marvin's ex-wife Betty claimed in her 2010 book Tales of a Hollywood Housewife that Marvin had an affair with Bancroft when they co-starred in Gorilla at Large (1954) and A Life in the Balance (1955).
In 1961, Bancroft met Mel Brooks at a rehearsal for Perry Como's variety show Kraft Music Hall. Bancroft and Brooks married on August 5, 1964, at the Manhattan Marriage Bureau near New York City Hall, and remained married until her death. Their son, Max Brooks, was born in 1972.
Bancroft worked with her husband three times on the screen: dancing a tango in Brooks's Silent Movie (1976), in his remake of To Be or Not to Be (1983) and in the episode entitled "Opening Night" (2004) of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. The couple also appeared in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), but never appeared together. Brooks produced the film The Elephant Man (1980), in which Bancroft acted. He was executive producer for the film 84 Charing Cross Road (1987) in which she starred. Both Brooks and Bancroft appeared in Season 6 of The Simpsons. According to the DVD commentary, when Bancroft came to record her lines for the episode "Fear of Flying", the Simpsons writers asked if Brooks had come with her (which he had); she joked, "I can't get rid of him!"
In a 2010 interview, Brooks credited Bancroft as being the guiding force behind his involvement in developing The Producers and Young Frankenstein for the musical theater. In the same interview, he said of their first meeting in 1961, "From that day, until her death on June 6, 2005, we were glued together."
Bancroft's son, Max Brooks, said in a 2020 interview that she was "a secret, closet scientist". He said that, as a child, she read to him Paul de Kruif's "Microbe Hunters" (1926) as a bedtime story.
In 2005, shortly before her death, Bancroft became a grandmother when her daughter-in-law Michelle gave birth to a boy, Henry Michael Brooks.
Bancroft died of uterine cancer at age 73 on June 6, 2005, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. Her death surprised many, including some of her friends, as the intensely private Bancroft had not disclosed any details of her illness. Her body was interred at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, near her parents, Mildred (who died in April 2010, five years after Anne) and Michael Italiano. Her final film, Delgo, was dedicated to her memory.
|1952||Don't Bother to Knock||Lyn Lesley|
|1953||Tonight We Sing||Emma Hurok|
|1953||Treasure of the Golden Condor||Marie, Comtesse de St. Malo|
|1953||The Kid from Left Field||Marian Foley|
|1954||Gorilla at Large||Laverne Miller|
|1954||Demetrius and the Gladiators||Paula|
|1954||The Raid||Katy Bishop|||
|1955||New York Confidential||Katherine (Kathy) Lupo|
|1955||A Life in the Balance||María Ibinia|
|1955||The Naked Street||Rosalie Regalzyk|
|1955||The Last Frontier||Corinna Marston|
|1956||Walk the Proud Land||Tianay|
|1957||The Restless Breed||Angelita|
|1957||The Girl in Black Stockings||Beth Dixon|
|1962||The Miracle Worker||Anne Sullivan|
|1964||The Pumpkin Eater||Jo Armitage|
|1965||The Slender Thread||Inga Dyson|
|1966||7 Women||Dr. D.R. Cartwright|
|1967||The Graduate||Mrs. Robinson|
|1972||Young Winston||Lady Randolph Churchill|
|1974||Blazing Saddles||Extra in Church Congregation||Uncredited|
|1975||The Prisoner of Second Avenue||Edna Edison|
|1975||The Hindenburg||Countess Ursula von Reugen|
|1975||Urban Living: Funny and Formidable||Herself||Short film|
|1976||The August||None||Short film|
Director, writer, and editor
|1977||The Turning Point||Emma Jacklin|
|1980||Fatso||Antoinette||Also director and writer|
|1980||The Elephant Man||Madge Kendal|
|1983||To Be or Not to Be||Anna Bronski|
|1984||Garbo Talks||Estelle Rolfe|
|1985||Agnes of God||Mother Miriam Ruth|
|1986||'night, Mother||Thelma Cates|
|1987||84 Charing Cross Road||Helene Hanff|
|1988||Torch Song Trilogy||Ma Beckoff|
|1989||Bert Rigby, You're a Fool||Meredith Perlestein|
|1992||Honeymoon in Vegas||Bea Singer|
|1992||Love Potion No. 9||Madame Ruth|
|1993||Point of No Return||Amanda|
|1993||Mr. Jones||Dr. Catherine Holland|
|1995||How to Make an American Quilt||Glady Joe Cleary|
|1995||Home for the Holidays||Adele Larson|
|1995||Dracula: Dead and Loving It||Madame Ouspenskaya / Gypsy Woman|
|1996||The Sunchaser||Dr. Renata Baumbauer|
|1997||G.I. Jane||Sen. Lillian DeHaven|
|1998||Great Expectations||Mrs. Dinsmoor|
|1998||Mark Twain's America in 3D||Narrator||Documentary film|
|1998||Antz||Queen Ant (voice)|
|2000||Up at the Villa||Princess San Ferdinando|
|2000||Keeping the Faith||Ruth Schram|
|2001||Heartbreakers||Gloria Vogal / Barbara|
|2001||In Search of Peace||Golda Meir (voice)||Documentary film|
|2008||Delgo||Empress Sedessa (voice)||Posthumous release|
|1951||Suspense||Unknown||Episode: "Night Break"|
|1951||The Ford Theatre Hour||Unknown||3 episodes|
|1950–1951||Studio One in Hollywood||Maria Cassini||3 episodes|
|1951||The Adventures of Ellery Queen||Unknown||Episode: "The Chinese Mummer Mystery"|
|1951||Danger||Gangster's Moll / Heidi||Episodes: "The Killer Scarf" and "Murderer's Face"|
|1951||The Web||Unknown||Episode: "The Customs of the Country"|
|1951||Lights Out||Helen||Episode: "The Deal"|
|1951||The Goldbergs||Joyce||Episode: "Mother-in-Law"|
|1953||Omnibus||Paco's Sister||Episode: "The Capital of the World"|
|1953||Kraft Television Theatre||Unknown||Episode: "To Live in Peace"|
|1954–1957||Lux Video Theatre||Various roles||5 episodes|
|1956–1957||Climax!||Audrey / Elena||Episodes: "Fear Is the Hunter" and "The Mad Bomber"|
|1957||Playhouse 90||Isobel Waring / Julie Bickford||Episodes: "So Soon to Die" and "Invitation to a Gunfighter"|
|1957||Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre||Isabelle Rutledge||Episode: "Episode in Darkness"|
|1957||The Alcoa Hour||Alegre / Giselle||Episodes: "Key Largo" and "Hostages to Fortune"|
|1958||The Frank Sinatra Show||Carol Welles||Episode: "A Time to Cry"|
|1960||Person to Person||Herself||Episode: "7.35"|
|1960||Gala Adlai on Broadway||Herself / Performer||Television film|
|1962||Password All-Stars||Herself||Episode: "Anne Bancroft vs. Robert Goulet"|
|1962–1964||What's My Line?||Herself / Mystery Guest||3 episodes|
|1964||Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre||Faye Benet Garret||Episode: "Out on the Outskirts of Town"|
|1967||ABC Stage 67||Virginia||Episode: "I'm Getting Married"|
|1969||The Kraft Music Hall||Herself||Episode: "2.23"|
|1970||Arthur Penn, 1922–: Themes and Variants||Herself||Television documentary film|
|1970||This Is Tom Jones||Herself||Episode: "3.1"|
|1970||Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man||Herself||Television special|
|1974||Annie and the Hoods||Herself / Host||Television film|
|1977||Jesus of Nazareth||Mary Magdalene||Miniseries|
|1978||The Stars Salute Israel at 30||Herself||Television film|
|1978||Lørdagshjørnet||Herself||Episode: "Mel Brooks"|
|1978||The Wonderful World of Disney||Herself||Episode: "Mickey's 50"|
|1979||The Muppets Go Hollywood||Herself||Television special; uncredited|
|1980||Shogun||Narrator (voice)||Miniseries; US version|
|1982||Marco Polo||Marco's mother||Miniseries|
|1982||Bob Hope's Women I Love: Beautiful, But Funny||Herself||Television special|
|1983||An Audience with Mel Brooks||Herself||Television special|
|1990||Freddie and Max||Maxine "Max" Chandler||6 episodes|
|1992||Broadway Bound||Kate Jerome||Television film|
|1992||Mrs. Cage||Lillian Cage||Television film|
|1994||Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All||Lucy Marsden (age 99–100)||Television film|
|1994||Great Performances||Mrs. Fanning||Episode: "Paddy Chayefsky's 'The Mother'"|
|1994||The Simpsons||Dr. Zweig (voice)||Episode: "Fear of Flying"|
|1996||Homecoming||Abigail Tillerman||Television film|
|1998||The Secret World of 'Antz'||Herself||Television documentary film|
|1998||Living with Cancer: A Message of Hope||Narrator||Television documentary film|
|1999||Deep in My Heart||Geraldine "Gerry" Eileen Cummins||Television film|
|1999||AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Dustin Hoffman||Herself||Television special|
|2000||The Rosie O'Donnell Show||Herself||Episode: "5 May 2000"|
|2000||The Living Edens||Narrator (voice)||Episode: "Anamalai: India's Elephant Mountain"|
|2001||Exhale with Candice Bergen||Herself||Episode: "16 November 2001"|
|2001||Haven||Mama Gruber||Television film|
|2003||The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone||Contessa||Television film|
|2004||Curb Your Enthusiasm||Herself||Episode: "Opening Night"|
|1958||Two for the Seesaw||Gittel Mosca||Booth Theatre|
|1959||The Miracle Worker||Annie Sullivan||Playhouse Theatre|
|1963||Mother Courage and Her Children||Mother Courage||Martin Beck Theatre|
|1965||The Devils||Sister Jean of the Angels||Broadway Theatre|
|1967||The Little Foxes||Regina Giddens||Ethel Barrymore Theatre|
|1968||A Cry of Players||Anne||Vivian Beaumont Theatre|
|1977||Golda||Golda Meir||Morosco Theatre|
|1981||Duet for One||Stephanie Abrahams||Royale Theatre|
|2002||Occupant||Louise Nevelson||Peter Norton Space||Off-Broadway|
|1958||12th Tony Awards||Best Featured Actress in a Play||Two for the Seesaw||Won|
|1959||14th Tony Awards||Best Actress in a Play||The Miracle Worker||Won|
|1963||35th Academy Awards||Best Actress||The Miracle Worker||Won|
|16th British Academy Film Awards||Best Foreign Actress||Won|
|18th National Board of Review Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|10th Silver Shell Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|20th Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|13th Laurel Awards||Top Female Dramatic Performance||Nominated|
|1965||37th Academy Awards||Best Actress||The Pumpkin Eater||Nominated|
|18th British Academy Film Awards||Best Foreign Actress||Won|
|22nd Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama||Won|
|17th Cannes Film Festival Awards||Best Actress||Won|
|15th Laurel Awards||Top Female Dramatic Performance||Nominated|
|1968||40th Academy Awards||Best Actress||The Graduate||Nominated|
|25th Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical||Won|
|18th Laurel Awards||Top Female Dramatic Performance||Nominated|
|1969||22nd British Academy Film Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|1970||22nd Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Variety or Musical Program – Variety and Popular Music||Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man||Won|
|1973||26th British Academy Film Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Young Winston||Nominated|
|1976||29th British Academy Film Awards||The Prisoner of Second Avenue||Nominated|
|1978||50th Academy Awards||Best Actress||The Turning Point||Nominated|
|33rd National Board of Review Awards||Won|
|35th Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|32nd British Academy Film Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||Nominated|
|32nd Tony Awards||Best Actress in a Play||Golda||Nominated|
|1980||Taormina Film Festival||Golden Charybdis Award||Fatso||Nominated|
|1984||41st Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical||To Be or Not to Be||Nominated|
|1985||42nd Golden Globe Awards||Garbo Talks||Nominated|
|1986||58th Academy Awards||Best Actress||Agnes of God||Nominated|
|43rd Golden Globe Awards||Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama||Nominated|
|1987||44th Golden Globe Awards||'night, Mother||Nominated|
|1988||41st British Academy Film Awards||Best Actress in a Leading Role||84 Charing Cross Road||Won|
|1990||10th Golden Raspberry Awards||Worst Supporting Actress||Bert Rigby, You're a Fool||Nominated|
|1992||44th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie||Broadway Bound||Nominated|
|Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie||Mrs. Cage||Nominated|
|1994||46th Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or Movie||Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All||Nominated|
|1996||2nd Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture||How to Make an American Quilt||Nominated|
|1997||3rd Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Homecoming||Nominated|
|1999||51st Primetime Emmy Awards||Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie||Deep in My Heart||Won|
|2001||53rd Primetime Emmy Awards||Haven||Nominated|
|2003||55th Primetime Emmy Awards||The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone||Nominated|
|2004||10th Screen Actors Guild Awards||Outstanding Performance by a Female Actor in a Miniseries or Television Movie||Nominated|
...Anne Bancroft, one of the world's most respected and versatile actresses...
An impassioned, clever, and gifted actress who has been equally brilliant in both drama and comedy, emerging as one of the most enduring and respected performers of her generation.
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