Anne Bancroft

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Anne Bancroft
Anne Bancroft 1952.jpg
Studio publicity photograph, c.1952
Born
Anna Maria Louisa Italiano

(1931-09-17)September 17, 1931
New York City, U.S.
DiedJune 6, 2005(2005-06-06) (aged 73)
New York City, U.S.
Resting place Kensico Cemetery
Other namesAnne Marno
Education HB Studio
American Academy of Dramatic Arts
Actors Studio
OccupationActress
Years active1951–2005
Spouses
  • Martin May
    (m. 1953;div. 1957)
  • (m. 1964)
Children Max Brooks

Anne Bancroft (born Anna Maria Louisa Italiano; September 17, 1931 – June 6, 2005) [1] was an American actress and director. 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. [2] [3] She is one of only 24 thespians to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting.

Contents

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 in 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, author Max Brooks.

Early life

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. Both of her parents' surnames were toponymic. [4] Her parents were Italian immigrants from Southern Italy. In an interview, she stated that her family was originally from Muro Lucano, in the province of Potenza, Basilicata, Kingdom of Italy. [5] She was raised in the Roman Catholic faith. [6]

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. [7] [8] She later attended HB Studio, [9] the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, [8] 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 [8] and The Goldbergs [8] under the name Anne Marno, later, at Darryl Zanuck's insistence, [8] she chose the less Mediterranean surname of Bancroft "because it sounded dignified". [10]

Career

1952–1962: Initial work and breakthrough

Bancroft made her screen debut with a major role in the 1952 Marilyn Monroe-led psychological thriller 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. [10] [11] For this role, she won the Tony Award for Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Play. [11]

Bancroft (left) with Patty Duke in the stage production of The Miracle Worker, 1960 Anne Bancroft Patty Duke Miracle Worker 1 1960.jpg
Bancroft (left) with Patty Duke in the stage production of The Miracle Worker , 1960

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 . [12] She reprised her role in the 1962 film version of the play and won the Academy Award for Best Actress, with Patty Duke repeating her own success as Keller alongside Bancroft. [13] As 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. [14]

1963–1985: Success, decline and comeback

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. [15]

Annie's a very gutsy girl. I swear I wouldn't hesitate to put her in at shortstop for the New York Yankees.

Arthur Penn
director of The Miracle Worker [16]

Bancroft received a second nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in The Pumpkin Eater (1964). [17]

Bancroft achieved stardom when she played the starring role as Mrs. Robinson in the romantic comedy-drama The Graduate (1967). [18] 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. [17] In the film, Hoffman's character later dates and falls in love with her daughter. [18] 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 36 years old at the time—just eight years older than her onscreen daughter Katharine Ross and six years older than Hoffman. The film, and her performance, received widespread critical acclaim, earning her a third nomination for the Academy Award for Best Actress.

A CBS television special, Annie: The Women in the Life of a Man (1970), won Bancroft an Emmy Award for her singing and acting. [19]

Bancroft in the television show Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, 1964 Anne Bancroft Chrysler Theatre 1964.jpg
Bancroft in the television show Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre , 1964

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), [20] 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. [21] She made an uncredited cameo in the film Blazing Saddles (1974), directed by Brooks. She made a career comeback with the ballet drama The Turning Point (1977), followed by the neo-noir mystery film Agnes of God (1985), which earned her two nominations for the Academy Award for Best Actress. [22] [23]

Bancroft made her debut as a screenwriter and director in Fatso (1980), in which she starred with Dom DeLuise. [24]

Bancroft was the original choice to play Joan Crawford in the film Mommie Dearest (1981), but backed out and was replaced by Faye Dunaway. [25] [26] 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. [27] In 1988, she played Harvey Fierstein's mother in the film version of his play Torch Song Trilogy .

1986–2005: Final film and television roles

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). [28] [29]

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), [30] [31] eight Golden Globe nominations (winning twice) [32] and two Screen Actors Guild Awards.

Bancroft's last appearance was as herself in a 2004 episode of HBO's Curb Your Enthusiasm . [33] She was cast in Spanglish (2004) later that year, but had to bow out due to a medical emergency. [34] Her last project was the animated feature film Delgo , released posthumously in 2008. [35] 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. [36] At the time of her star's installation in 1960, [37] 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. [38]

Personal life

Bancroft with husband Mel Brooks at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival Mel Brooks Anne Bancroft 1991.jpg
Bancroft with husband Mel Brooks at the 1991 Cannes Film Festival

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. [1] [39] She had previously been engaged to actor John Ericson in 1951. [40] 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). [41]

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 in 2005. Their son, Max Brooks, was born in 1972. [42] [43]

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) [10] and in the episode entitled "Opening Night" (2004) of the HBO show Curb Your Enthusiasm. [33] The couple also appeared in Dracula: Dead and Loving It (1995), [10] but never appeared together again. 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." [44]

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. [45]

In 2005, shortly before her death, Bancroft became a grandmother when her daughter-in-law Michelle gave birth to a boy, Henry Michael Brooks. [46]

Bancroft had a drinking problem which resulted in being absent from work often, according to Elizabeth Wilson, who was Bancroft's understudy in The Little Foxes and co-starred with her in The Graduate (1967) and The Prisoner of Second Avenue (1975). [47]

Death

Bancroft died of uterine cancer at age 73 on June 6, 2005, at Mount Sinai Hospital in Manhattan. [48] Her death surprised many, including some of her friends, as the intensely private Bancroft had not disclosed any details of her illness. [49] Her body was interred at Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York, near her father, Michael Italiano, and her mother, Mildred Italiano (who died five years after Anne in April 2010). [50] Her final film, Delgo , was dedicated to her memory.

Filmography

Film

YearTitleRoleNotes
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[ citation needed ]
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
1956 Nightfall Marie Gardner
1957 The Restless Breed Angelita
1957 The Girl in Black Stockings Beth Dixon
1962 The Miracle Worker Anne Sullivan Silver Shell for Best Actress
1964 The Pumpkin Eater Jo Armitage Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress
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 CongregationUncredited
1975 The Prisoner of Second Avenue Edna Edison
1975 The Hindenburg Countess Ursula von Reugen
1975Urban Living: Funny and FormidableHerselfShort film
1976 Lipstick Carla Bondi
1976 Silent Movie Herself
1976The AugustNoneShort film
Director, writer, and editor
1977 The Turning Point Emma Jacklin
1980 Fatso AntoinetteAlso 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 Malice Mrs. Kennsinger
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 Homecoming Gram
1996 The Sunchaser Dr. Renata Baumbauer
1997 G.I. Jane Sen. Lillian DeHaven
1997 Critical Care Nun
1998 Great Expectations Mrs. Dinsmoor
1998Mark Twain's America in 3DNarratorDocumentary 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
Sources: [28] [51]

Television

YearTitleRoleNotes
1951 Suspense UnknownEpisode: "Night Break"
1951 The Ford Theatre Hour Unknown3 episodes
1950–1951 Studio One in Hollywood Maria Cassini3 episodes
1951 The Adventures of Ellery Queen UnknownEpisode: "The Chinese Mummer Mystery"
1951 Danger Gangster's Moll / HeidiEpisodes: "The Killer Scarf" and "Murderer's Face"
1951 The Web UnknownEpisode: "The Customs of the Country"
1951 Lights Out HelenEpisode: "The Deal"
1951The GoldbergsJoyceEpisode: "Mother-in-Law"
1953 Omnibus Paco's SisterEpisode: "The Capital of the World"
1953 Kraft Television Theatre UnknownEpisode: "To Live in Peace"
1954–1957 Lux Video Theatre Various roles5 episodes
1956–1957 Climax! Audrey / ElenaEpisodes: "Fear Is the Hunter" and "The Mad Bomber"
1957 Playhouse 90 Isobel Waring/Julie BickfordEpisodes: "So Soon to Die" and "Invitation to a Gunfighter"
1957 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Isabelle RutledgeEpisode: "Episode in Darkness"
1957 The Alcoa Hour Alegre / GiselleEpisodes: "Key Largo" and "Hostages to Fortune"
1958 The Frank Sinatra Show Carol WellesEpisode: "A Time to Cry"
1960 Person to Person HerselfEpisode: "7.35"
1960Gala Adlai on BroadwayHerself / PerformerTelevision film
1962 Password All-Stars HerselfEpisode: "Anne Bancroft vs. Robert Goulet"
1962–1964 What's My Line? Herself / Mystery Guest3 episodes
1964 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Faye Benet GarretEpisode: "Out on the Outskirts of Town"
1967 ABC Stage 67 VirginiaEpisode: "I'm Getting Married"
1969 The Kraft Music Hall HerselfEpisode: "2.23"
1970Arthur Penn, 1922–: Themes and VariantsHerselfTelevision documentary film
1970 This Is Tom Jones HerselfEpisode: "3.1"
1970Annie: The Women in the Life of a ManVarious CharactersTelevision special
1974Annie and the HoodsHerself / HostTelevision film
1977 Jesus of Nazareth Mary Magdalene Miniseries
1978The Stars Salute Israel at 30HerselfTelevision film
1978LørdagshjørnetHerselfEpisode: "Mel Brooks"[ citation needed ]
1978 The Wonderful World of Disney HerselfEpisode: "Mickey's 50"
1979 The Muppets Go Hollywood HerselfTelevision special; uncredited
1980 Shōgun Narrator (voice)Miniseries; US version
1982 Marco Polo Marco's motherMiniseries
1982 Bob Hope's Women I Love: Beautiful, But Funny HerselfTelevision special
1983An Audience with Mel BrooksHerselfTelevision special
1990Freddie and MaxMaxine "Max" Chandler6 episodes
1992 Broadway Bound Kate JeromeTelevision film
1992Mrs. CageLillian CageTelevision film
1994 Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells All Lucy Marsden (age 99–100)Television film
1994 Great Performances Mrs. FanningEpisode: "Paddy Chayefsky's 'The Mother'"
1994 The Simpsons Dr. Zweig (voice)Episode: "Fear of Flying"
1996 Homecoming Abigail TillermanTelevision film
1998The Secret World of 'Antz'HerselfTelevision documentary film
1998Living with Cancer: A Message of HopeNarratorTelevision documentary film
1999 Deep in My Heart Geraldine "Gerry" Eileen CumminsTelevision film
1999 AFI Life Achievement Award: A Tribute to Dustin Hoffman HerselfTelevision special
2000 The Rosie O'Donnell Show HerselfEpisode: "5 May 2000"
2000 The Living Edens Narrator (voice)Episode: "Anamalai: India's Elephant Mountain"
2001Exhale with Candice BergenHerselfEpisode: "16 November 2001"
2001HavenMama GruberTelevision film [52]
2003 The Roman Spring of Mrs. Stone ContessaTelevision film
2004 Curb Your Enthusiasm HerselfEpisode: "Opening Night"

Theater

YearTitleRoleVenueNote
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
1968A Cry of PlayersAnne Vivian Beaumont Theatre
1977 Golda Golda Meir Morosco Theatre
1981 Duet for One Stephanie Abrahams Royale Theatre
2002 Occupant Louise NevelsonPeter Norton SpaceOff-Broadway [53]
Source: [54]

Awards and nominations

YearAssociationCategoryWorkResult
1958 Tony Awards Best Featured Actress in a Play Two for the SeesawWon
1959 Tony Awards Best Actress in a Play The Miracle WorkerWon
1963 Academy Awards Best Actress The Miracle WorkerWon
British Academy Film Awards Best Foreign Actress Won
National Board of Review Best Actress Won
San Sebastián International Film Festival Best Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
Laurel Awards Top Female Dramatic Performance Nominated
1965 Academy Awards Best Actress The Pumpkin EaterNominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Foreign Actress Won
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Won
Cannes Film Festival Awards Best Actress Won
Laurel Awards Top Female Dramatic Performance Nominated
1968 Academy Awards Best Actress The GraduateNominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical Won
Laurel Awards Top Female Dramatic Performance Nominated
1969 British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
1970 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Variety or Musical Program – Variety and Popular Music Annie: The Women in the Life of a ManWon
1973 British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Young WinstonNominated
1976 British Academy Film Awards The Prisoner of Second AvenueNominated
1978 Academy Awards Best Actress The Turning PointNominated
National Board of Review Awards Best ActressWon
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role Nominated
Tony Awards Best Actress in a Play GoldaNominated
1980 Taormina Film Festival Golden Charybdis AwardFatsoNominated
1984 Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Comedy or Musical To Be or Not to BeNominated
1985 Golden Globe Awards Garbo TalksNominated
1986 Academy Awards Best Actress Agnes of GodNominated
Golden Globe Awards Best Actress – Motion Picture Drama Nominated
1987 Golden Globe Awards 'night, MotherNominated
1988 British Academy Film Awards Best Actress in a Leading Role84 Charing Cross RoadWon
1990 Golden Raspberry Awards Worst Supporting Actress Bert Rigby, You're a FoolNominated
1992 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie Broadway BoundNominated
Outstanding Lead Actress – Miniseries or a Movie Mrs. CageNominated
1994 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie Oldest Living Confederate Widow Tells AllNominated
1996 Screen Actors Guild Award Outstanding Cast in a Motion Picture How to Make an American QuiltNominated
1997 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Television Movie HomecomingNominated
1999 Primetime Emmy Awards Outstanding Supporting Actress – Miniseries or a Movie Deep in My HeartWon
2001 Primetime Emmy Awards HavenNominated
2003 Primetime Emmy Awards The Roman Spring of Mrs. StoneNominated
2004 Screen Actors Guild Awards Outstanding Actress in a Miniseries or Television Movie Nominated

See also

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<i>The Miracle Worker</i> (play) 1957 three-act play by William Gibson

The Miracle Worker is a three-act play by William Gibson adapted from his 1957 Playhouse 90 teleplay of the same name. It was based on Helen Keller's 1903 autobiography The Story of My Life.

The Miracle Worker is a 1979 American made-for-television biographical film based on the 1959 play of the same title by William Gibson, which originated as a 1957 broadcast of the television anthology series Playhouse 90. Gibson's original source material was The Story of My Life, the 1903 autobiography of Helen Keller. The play was adapted for the screen before, in 1962.

<span class="mw-page-title-main">Danielle Brooks</span> American actress (born 1989)

Danielle Brittany Brooks is an American actress. Her breakthrough role as prison inmate Tasha "Taystee" Jefferson in the Netflix comedy-drama series Orange Is the New Black (2013–2019) gained her three Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by an Ensemble in a Comedy Series and three NAACP Image Awards nominations.

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