A Tribute to Anne Bancroft
September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005
Anne Bancroft didn’t quite fall into the category of a “classic” actress. She didn’t break into films until 1952. She was still a very young 73 years old when she passed away on June 6, 2005.
But she also appeared on screen with Marilyn Monroe, Richard Widmark, Cornel Wilde, Susan Hayward, and Victor Mature. She was nominated five times for Best Actress. Even in the dumbest films, she could almost always be counted upon to turn in a sparkling performance.
Born as Anna Maria Italiano in the Bronx in 1931, Anne first appeared on screen in Don’t Bother to Knock (1952), with Marilyn Monroe and Richard Widmark. After a few years during which she wasn’t getting the kinds of roles she wanted, she returned to New York and the stage, finding success (and a Tony award) opposite Henry Fonda in Two For the Seesaw (1958). The following year she appeared in the stage version of The Miracle Worker, and eventually returned to Hollywood in 1962, starring with Patty Duke in the film adaptation of the play, and winning a Best Actress Oscar with her first nomination.
She was on a roll throughout the sixties, including a second Best Actress Oscar nomination for The Pumpkin Eater (1964), a role in John Ford’s last film, 7 Women (1966), and finally her famous role as Mrs. Robinson in The Graduate (1967), resulting in another Oscar nomination and a lifetime association with the part. In retrospect, some reviewers now look back on her role as the high point of what is now a somewhat dated film, a relic of its times.
Since then Bancroft (married to the great comedy director Mel Brooks since 1964) was successful in both comedy and drama, bringing humor and strength to a variety of mature roles (though often cast as the mother). She has worked with Mel on several occasions.
She tried her hand at directing in 1979, but Fatso, starring Dom DeLuise, was not a success. She received her fourth and fifth Oscar nominations for The Turning Point (1977), with Shirley MacLaine, and Agnes of God (1985), with Jane Fonda. She appeared in a number of TV-movies, most notably Deep in My Heart (1999), for which she received a Best Supporting Actress Emmy. Recently she lent her talents to several pleasant but otherwise forgettable films such as Great Expectations (1998), Keeping the Faith (2000), and Heartbreakers (2001). In addition to the Oscar, she won two Emmys, two Golden Globes and two Tonys during her sparkling career.
She died of uterine cancer in New York at the age of 73. She was a classy lady and will be greatly missed.
Anne Bancroft Tributes/Pages
- Fannetastic! A Tribute to the Miraculous Anne Bancroft – Lisa has been a fan of Ms. Bancroft since 1973, and has created this very comprehensive and still-growing site to show off her collection of rare photos, audio clips, and video clips, and to push to get Anne’s two TV variety specials released as a package on DVD.
- All-Movie Guide
- Final Credits – From Last Link on the Left
- Internet Movie Database – Biography, filmography, and more.
Selected Reviews of Anne Bancroft’s Best Films
- The Graduate (1967) – Review by Tim Dirks from The Greatest Films.
- The Graduate – Review by Colin Jacobson from DVD Movie Guide.
- How to Make An American Quilt (1995) – Review by Edwin Jahiel.
- Torch Song Trilogy – Review by Rita Kempley from The Washington Post.
- The Turning Point (1977) – From Teach With Movies.
Where To Find Or See Anne Bancroft Films
Anne Bancroft Photos/Art On The Web
Anne Bancroft Movie Posters On The Web
From our Classic Movies Poster Store
(Click for larger view or to purchase)
All Anne Bancroft Posters from our Classic Movies Poster Store.