This is the main bio page for Anne. Thanks so much to Wikipedia, whose
bio I couldn't easily top, but I will try and add information as i see
If you would like to see something in here, please
You can also click on the links at
the top and bottom of the page for lots of information on the subject of Anne.
Bancroft was born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano in the Bronx, New York, the
daughter of Mildred (née DiNapoli), a telephone operator, and Michael Italiano,
a dress pattern maker. Her parents were both children of Italian immigrants.
Bancroft graduated from Christopher Columbus High School in the Bronx in 1948,
and attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, the Actors Studio, and the
American Film Institute's Directing Workshop for Women at UCLA. After appearing
in a number of live television dramas under the name Anne Marno, she was told
to change her surname for her film debut in Don't Bother to Knock in 1952.
Bancroft was a contract player in the early days of her career just as the
studio contract system was ending. She left Hollywood and returned to New
York due to the quality of roles she was being offered.
In 1958 she appeared opposite Henry Fonda in the Broadway production of Two
for the Seesaw, for which she won a Tony Award, and another in 1962 for The
Miracle Worker. She took the latter role back to Hollywood, and won the Academy
Award for Best Actress in 1962.
A highly acclaimed television special, "Annie: the Women in the Life of a Man"
won her an Emmy award for her singing and acting. Bancroft is one of a very
select few entertainers to win an Oscar, an Emmy and a Tony award.
Other major film roles were in
The Pumpkin Eater, 7 Women, and what is unquestionably her best-known role,
Mrs. Robinson, opposite Dustin Hoffman in the film The Graduate. Ironically,
Bancroft, then only 36 years old, played opposite a 30-year-old Hoffman.
Although Bancroft is now iconically identified as Mrs. Robinson, she was not
the first choice for the role; Patricia Neal (who had recently suffered a
stroke), Doris Day and Jeanne Moreau turned it down. Bancroft was ambivalent
about her appearance in The Graduate; she stated in several interviews that
the role overshadowed all of her other work.
In 1980, she made her debut as a screenwriter and director in Fatso, in which
she starred along with Dom DeLuise. Bancroft was also the original choice to
play Joan Crawford in the 1981 movie Mommie Dearest, but backed out at the 11th
hour, and was replaced by Faye Dunaway. She was also a front-runner for the
role of Aurora Greenway in Terms of Endearment, but declined in order to act
in the remake of To Be or Not to Be (1983).
Marriage and family
From July 1, 1953, to February 13, 1957, she was married to Martin May. The
marriage produced no children.
In 1961, Bancroft met Mel Brooks in a rehearsal for the Perry Como variety
show. Brooks bribed a studio employee to find out where she was having
dinner so he could meet her again. Once Bancroft met Brooks, she went to her
therapist and told him they had to conclude the therapy as fast as possible
because she had met the man she was going to marry.
They married on August 5, 1964, in New York City Hall and were together until
her death. They had one son, Maximillian, in 1972. They were seen three times
on the screen together: once dancing a tango in Brooks's 1976 Silent Movie, in
Brooks's 1983 remake of To Be or Not to Be, and in the episode entitled "Opening
Night" of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. Brooks produced the 1980 film The
Elephant Man, in which Bancroft acted. He also executive-produced the 1987 film
84 Charing Cross Road in which she starred.
Bancroft died on June 6, 2005 of
uterine cancer aged 73 at Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Her death
came as a surprise to even some of Bancroft's friends; she was intensely
private and had not released details of her illness.
Bancroft was survived by Brooks, their son, a grandson, her mother and two
sisters. She is interred at the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, near
her father, Michael Italiano. A white marble monument with a weeping angel
adorns her grave.