TCM Archive Materials VIEW ALL ARCHIVES (6)
|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:||Cast ... actor director screenwriter dancer English tutor drug store clerk receptionist|
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
Please support TCMDB by adding to this information.Click here to contribute