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Anne Bancroft

Anne Bancroft

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Also Known As: Anna Maria Louisa Italiano, Anne Marno Died: June 6, 2005
Born: September 17, 1931 Cause of Death: uterine cancer
Birth Place: Bronx, New York, USA Profession: actor, director, screenwriter, dancer, English tutor, drug store clerk, receptionist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

nation for Best Actress â¿¿ Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She next delivered a whirlwind performance as Estelle Rolfe, an unconventional woman who learns she is dying, which leads her faithful son (Ron Silver) to try and fulfill her wish to meet reclusive actress Greta Garbo in "Garbo Talks" (1984).In the stagey "Agnes of God" (1985), Bancroft played a combative mother superior who tries to protect a young nun (Meg Tilly) from a court-appointed psychiatrist (Jane Fonda) trying to uncover the truth after a baby winds up strangled to death. The role as the tough-talking nun earned her a fifth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Bancroft next delivered a touching performance as the feisty writer who conducts a 20-year correspondence love affair with a London bookseller (Anthony Hopkins) in "84 Charing Cross Road" (1986), while offering moments of both high comedy and seriousness as Harvey Fierstein's nagging mother in "Torch Song Trilogy" (1988). After starring in the British television series "Freddie and Max" (ITV, 1990), Bancroft turned in an Emmy-nominated performance as the titular "Mrs. Cage" (PBS, 1992), a suburban matron who shocks everyone following her confession to murdering a...

nation for Best Actress â¿¿ Motion Picture Musical or Comedy. She next delivered a whirlwind performance as Estelle Rolfe, an unconventional woman who learns she is dying, which leads her faithful son (Ron Silver) to try and fulfill her wish to meet reclusive actress Greta Garbo in "Garbo Talks" (1984).

In the stagey "Agnes of God" (1985), Bancroft played a combative mother superior who tries to protect a young nun (Meg Tilly) from a court-appointed psychiatrist (Jane Fonda) trying to uncover the truth after a baby winds up strangled to death. The role as the tough-talking nun earned her a fifth Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. Bancroft next delivered a touching performance as the feisty writer who conducts a 20-year correspondence love affair with a London bookseller (Anthony Hopkins) in "84 Charing Cross Road" (1986), while offering moments of both high comedy and seriousness as Harvey Fierstein's nagging mother in "Torch Song Trilogy" (1988). After starring in the British television series "Freddie and Max" (ITV, 1990), Bancroft turned in an Emmy-nominated performance as the titular "Mrs. Cage" (PBS, 1992), a suburban matron who shocks everyone following her confession to murdering a shopper in a supermarket parking lot. Also that year, she earned a second Emmy nod for playing the mother of struggling playwright Eugene Jerome (Corey Parker) in "Neil Simonâ¿¿s Broadway Bound" (ABC, 1992).

As the 1990s developed, Bancroft made the transformation from leading star to character actress, which allowed her to deliver finely tuned, nuanced performances in a wide array of roles. Parts as diverse as an operative who polishes the finesse of a female assassin (Bridget Fonda) in "Point of No Return" (1993) or the pot-smoking Glady Joe in "How to Make an American Quilt" (1995) allowed her to display her various talents, but sometimes with limited results. Even a comic cameo as a gypsy â¿¿ ironically named after the great screen star Maria Ouspenskaya â¿¿ in Brooks' "Dracula: Dead and Loving It" (1995) merely hinted at her full potential. She did, however, have her moments as a ballsy senator in "G.I. Jane" (1997) and was delightfully theatrical as the Miss Haversham character in the modern day "Great Expectations" (1998). But neither project compared with her earlier work. It took television to offer Bancroft three-dimensional roles which reminded viewers just what she could do with meaty roles. In 1994, she offered a pair of performances that had critics raving. Under old-age makeup, Bancroft embodied the centenarian titular character in CBSâ¿¿ "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All," for which she earned another Emmy nomination. She also starred as a 66-year-old widow determined to return to work in the PBS remake of Paddy Chayefsky's "The Mother," perfectly delineating the character's mixture of fierceness and fragility.

Bancroft further excelled as the estranged grandmother of four children who trek cross-country to visit her in "Homecoming" (USA Network, 1996) and delivered an Emmy-winning turn as a white woman who slowly warms to an abandoned black girl (Kimberlee Peterson) and her siblings in the fact-based "Deep in My Heart" (CBS, 1999). While the actress periodically spoke of retirement, she maintained a steady output of work, offering scene-stealing performances as an overbearing Jewish mother in "Keeping the Faith" (2000) and a glamorous expatriate in 1930s Italy in "Up at the Villa" (2000). She continued to deliver awards-worthy performances on the small screen with an Emmy-nominated performance as the feisty mother of real-life Jewish journalist, Ruth Gruber (Natasha Richardson), who helped shepherd almost one thousand Holocaust survivors from war-torn Europe to temporary asylum in the United States in the miniseries "Haven" (CBS, 2001). The following year, Bancroft returned to Broadway for the first time since 1981, appearing in Edward Albee's "Occupant," inspired by the success of her husband's "The Producers," which he had turned into a stage show at her suggestion. The two later appeared on an episode of "Curb Your Enthusiasm" (HBO, 2000- ), spoofing the monster success of Brooksâ¿¿ show by hiring Larry David (Larry David) to play Max Bialystock in an effort to sabotage the show.

Bancroft went on to play what ultimately became her final dramatic performance as the aging contessa who procures a gigolo (Olivier Martinez) to enliven the life of a widowed former Broadway star (Helen Mirren) in the small screen adaptation of the Tennessee Williams' novella, "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone" (Showtime, 2003). Then on June 6, 2005, Bancroft died of uterine cancer while at New Yorkâ¿¿s Mount Sinai Hospital. She was just 73. The news, however, was announced two days later and shocked many who remained unaware, thank to Bancroftâ¿¿s intensely private life. Regardless, her death was mourned by many who had worked with her over the years, including Patty Duke, Arthur Penn and Dustin Hoffman. While haunted throughout her career by her performance as Mrs. Robinson, to whom she was indelibly linked and fought tirelessly to cast off, Bancroft left behind a gallery of complex and intriguing characters, performed throughout her long and venerable career. As for Mrs. Robinson, Bancroft understood the character intimately: "Film critics said I gave a voice to the fear we all have â¿¿ that we'll reach a certain point in our lives, look around and realize that all the things we said we'd do and become will never come to be â¿¿ and that we're ordinary." It was something Bancroft would never have to face herself. In both her art and her life, the actress was extraordinary.burner in order to care for Maximilian, her only child with Mel Brooks. She headlined the well-received special "Annie, the Women in the Life of a Man" (CBS, 1970), which earned the actress an Emmy Award, giving her that rare feat of winning actingâ¿¿s three biggest awards. Returning to features, she was cast as Churchill's American-born mother in the middling biopic "Young Winston" (1972) and was teamed with Jack Lemmon in the screechy version of Neil Simon's "The Prisoner of Second Avenue" (1974). After being miscast as a grande dame in "The Hindenburg" (1975) and performing a cameo as herself in Brooksâ¿¿ "Silent Movie" (1976), Bancroft fared better as an aging ballerina facing old rivalries with her best friend (Shirley MacLaine) in the high entertaining, if soap opera-like drama "The Turning Point" (1977), for which she picked up a fourth Best Actress Academy Award nomination. Also that year, she returned to the small screen to play Mary Magdalene opposite the likes of Laurence Olivier, Michael York, Rod Steiger, Olivia Hussey and Robert Powell in the exemplary miniseries, "Jesus of Nazareth" (NBC, 1977). Back on Broadway, she played another historical figure; this time Golda Meir, in the Broadway play, "Golda" (1977), which earned the actress yet another Tony Award nomination.

Having trained at the American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women, Bancroft made her debut behind the camera with "Fatso" (1980), a comedy-drama about an overweight man (Dom DeLuise) and his determination to diet. Working from her own script, she fashioned a rather uneven movie and under her own direction, offered one of her least successful performances as DeLuise's shrill sister. The film ultimately proved to be the only time she sat in the directorâ¿¿s chair. Bouncing back, Bancroft offered a nicely formed cameo as actress Madge Kendal in David Lynch's version of "The Elephant Man" (1980) before starring opposite her husband in the comedy "To Be or Not To Be" (1983), in which they played the roles originally made famous by Jack Benny and Carole Lombard; that of a Polish husband-wife acting team who must flee their country after the Nazis invade by using an assortment of disguises. Though not one of Brooksâ¿¿ finer efforts, the remake of the Ernst Lubitsch 1942 classic earned Bancroft a Golden Globe nomi

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

DIRECTOR:

1.
  Fatso (1980) Director

CAST: (feature film)

3.
 Heartbreakers (2001) Gloria Vogal/ Barbara
4.
 Keeping the Faith (2000) Ruth
5.
 Up At the Villa (2000) Princess San Ferdinando
6.
 Deep in My Heart (1999) Gerry Cummins
7.
 Antz (1998) Voice Of Queen
8.
 Mark Twain's America in 3-D (1998) Narrator
10.
 Great Expectations (1998) Miss Dinsmoor
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1950:
Acted in local dramatics; appeared at Neighborhood Playhouse where she was spotted by TV producer and given starring role; acted as Anne Marno; appeared on more than fifty TV shows in two years
1950:
Made professional debut as Anne Marno on TV in "Studio One" production, "The Torrents of Spring"
1950:
Appeared as a semi-regular in the TV series, "The Goldbergs", billed as Anne Marno
1952:
Film acting debut in "Don't Bother to Knock", billed as Anne Bancroft
1958:
Returned to New York stage; made Broadway debut in "Two For the Seesaw", directed by Arthur Penn; won first Tony Award
1959:
Became a Broadway star with her award-winning turn as Annie Sullivan in "The Miracle Worker", also directed Penn; received second Tony Award
1962:
Returned to films after a five-year absence, recreating her stage role in "The Miracle Worker", helmed by Penn; received Best Actress Oscar
1963:
Had title role in Broadway production of "Mother Courage and Her Children"
1965:
Delivered a strong turn as a would-be suicide in "The Slender Thread"
1967:
Played Regina Giddings in Broadway revival of "The Little Foxes"
1967:
Became a cultural icon playing Mrs. Robinson, who seduces her daughter's boyfriend, in "The Graduate"; earned third Best Actress Oscar nomination
1970:
Starred in the acclaimed CBS variety special "Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man"; won Emmy
1972:
Cast as Jennie Jerome Churchill in the biopic "Young Winston"
1974:
Hosted the ABC variety special "Annie and the Hoods"
1976:
First screen teaming with husband Mel Brooks, a cameo doing the tango in "Silent Movie"
1977:
Portrayed Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir in the stage drama "Golda"; received Tony nomination
1977:
Appeared as Mary Magdalene in the NBC miniseries "Jesus of Nazareth", directed by Franco Zeffirelli
1977:
Offered a fine turn as an aging ballerina in "The Turning Point"; garnered fourth Oscar nomination
:
Directed unreleased film, "The August"
1980:
Essayed role of actress Madge Kendal in "The Elephant Man", produced by Brooks' company and directed by David Lynch
1980:
Feature film directorial and screenwriting debut, "Fatso"; also co-starred
1981:
Appeared as a musician stricken with a degenerative disease in the Broadway play "Duet for One", loosely inspired by the life of Jacqueline du Pre
1982:
Co-starred as the title character's mother in the NBC miniseries "Marco Polo"
1983:
Teamed with Brooks as stars of the remake of "To Be or Not to Be", directed by Alan Johnson
1985:
Received fifth Best Actress Academy Award nomination as the mother superior in "Agnes of God"
1986:
Played Sissy Spacek's parent in the screen version of Marsha Norman's play "'night Mother"
1987:
Starred opposite Anthony Hopkins in "84 Charing Cross Road"
1988:
Played Harvey Fierstein's nagging mother in "Torch Song Trilogy"
1990:
Starred in the British TV series "Max & Freddie"
1992:
Delivered two Emmy-nominated performances: as a woman who has confessed to committing murder in the PBS drama "Mrs. Cage" and as the playwright's mother (who once danced with George Raft) in the ABC adaptation of "Neil Simon's Broadway Bound"
1992:
Made cameo appearance as a gypsy woman who dispenses "Love Potion No. 9"
1994:
Earned an Emmy nomination for playing the centenarian title character in "Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All" (CBS)
1994:
Starred as an elderly widow determined to resume working in the garment industry in the remake of Paddy Chayefsky's "The Mother" (PBS)
1995:
Appeared as another gypsy (named Madame Ouspenskaya) in Mel Brooks' "Dracula: Dead and Loving It"
1997:
Cast as a US Senator championing the cause of women in the military in "G.I. Jane"
1998:
Delivered a juicy, highly theatrical turn as Miss Dinsmoor, the Miss Haversham character, in the modern day version of "Great Expectations"
1998:
Voiced the Queen in "Antz"
1999:
Received Emmy Award for the based-on-fact drama "Deep in My Heart" (CBS); played a woman reunited with her daughter, a black child that was the product of rape
2000:
Co-starred in Edward Norton's directorial debut "Keeping the Faith", playing Ben Stiller's mother
2000:
Offered a scene-stealing turn as a wealthy expatriate in 1930s Italy in "Up at the Villa"
2001:
Played featured role in the CBS miniseries "Haven"; received Emmy nomination
2001:
Had cameo as a con artist in "Heartbreakers"
2002:
Returned to the stage acting in the premiere of Edward Albee's "The Occupant", a play produced Off-Broadway that profiled artist Louise Nevelson; only appeared in six performances before contracting pneumonia and withdrawing from the production
2003:
Co-starred with Helen Mirren in the Showitme television feature "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone"; received an Emmy nomination for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or Television Movie
2004:
Received a SAG nomination for best actress in a Television Movie or Miniseries for her work in "The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

AFI Conservatory: Los Angeles , California -
AFI Conservatory: - 1975
Christopher Columbus High School: Bronx , New York - 1948
American Academy of Dramatic Arts: New York , New York - 1948 - 1950
Actors Studio: New York , New York - 1958
Center For Advanced Film Studies, American Film Institute: - 1975

Notes

Inducted into the Theater Hall of Fame (1992).

"She's made out of heavy-duty Bronx material. She can do anything, She could play Queen Victoria in a minute. She's a magnificent actress in every possible respect."---director Arthur Penn quoted in the Los Angeles Times, August 10, 1997.

"I'm grateful for it. It was the greatest school that one could have gone to. You learn to be concentrated and focused."---Bancroft on her work in live television, to the Los Angeles Times, August 10, 1997.

"I retire after every project. Then somehow there's always something that pulls me out of retirement ... "---Bancroft quoted in press material for the USA Network movie "Homecoming"

"I am quite surprised that with all my work, and some of it is very, very good, that nobody talks about 'The Miracle Worker.' We're talking about Mrs. Robinson. I understand the world. ... I'm just a little dismayed that people aren't beyond it yet."---Bancroft complained to a 2003 interviewer, Cnn.com, June 8, 2005.

"Her combination of brains, humor, frankness and sense were unlike any other artist. Her beauty was constantly shifting with her roles, and because she was a consummate actress she changed radically for every part."---Mike Nichols, who directed her in "The Graduate," said in a statement released by a publicist. Cnn.com, June 8, 2005.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Martin A May. Building contractor. Married on July 1, 1954; divorced on February 13, 1957.
husband:
Mel Brooks. Director, actor, screenwriter, producer, comedian. Married on August 5, 1964;.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Michael Italiano. Dress pattern maker. Italian immigrant.
mother:
Mildred Italiano. Telephone operator. Italian immigrant.
son:
Maximilian Brooks. Born in 1972; father, Mel Brooks.

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